How to Install Climate-Shield Wood Rainscreen Siding Vertically

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Climate-Shield Vertical Wood Rainscreen Siding Installation Tips

Part of the appeal of the Climate-Shield rainscreen system is its versatility. You can design and build as a vertical siding or horizontal wood siding installation. Climate-Shield makes vertical rainscreen installations faster and more dependable. Here are some important tips to help you get the best vertical rainscreen siding installation results. 


Svigals Sandy Hook vertical wood rainscreen design


  • The Climate-Shield rainscreen clips hold your vertical siding in place freely. By design, the wood siding is free to ‘float’ within the clip.  In most climates, when wood acclimates on site, the wood siding boards will shrink somewhat with changes in the weather. On a horizontal installation, as the board acclimates normally, the width becomes narrower and gravity will allow the board to drop down and seat on the rainscreen clip below it. 



  • The dynamics are different for a vertical rainscreen installation. Vertical wood rainscreen siding behaves differently than horizontal siding.  As a vertical siding board acclimates and becomes narrower, gravity only makes the board go down. But the board doesn’t know whether to shrink to the left or the right, so it will follow the easiest path.  


Ipe vertical wood rain screen


  • The best ways to minimize the effects of this naturally occurring process are; specify narrower siding, use kiln dried wood siding, allow adequate time for proper on-site acclimation and install the rainscreen clips properly as described in the vertical installation guidelines. 


Specify and Use Narrow Vertical Siding Boards

Narrower siding boards work best. Why? The narrower the siding, the smaller the actual amount of movement in width variations as the wood acclimates to site conditions. Four inch (nominal size) siding is ideal for vertical installations. 1 x 4, 21-mm x 4 and 5/4 x 4 nominal siding boards all work very well to achieve this. The seasonal movement (left and right) for narrower siding boards is minimal. The vertical joints between the siding boards look better and behave better.



Use Kiln Dried, Quality Hardwood Siding 

Kiln Dried hardwood siding has already shrunk in width before it was milled into the Climate-Shield rainscreen siding profile. Kiln dried siding minimizes much of the natural expansion/contraction of exterior wood as it acclimates and seasons. But not all. A common misconception is that kiln dried siding will not shrink. This is false. All wood will move initially and continue to move seasonally throughout its usable life cycle as a building material. It is true that kiln dried siding materials will move less than air dried wood. That's where proper on-site acclimation techniques help.



Proper On-Site Acclimation of Wood Rainscreen Siding is Imperative

Wood siding must properly acclimate to site conditions, before installation, for best performance. Otherwise, the initial movement will happen on your wall. Not good. Failure to properly acclimate your wood, is a sure-fired recipe for job site call backs. Who wants that aggravation? Always allow wood, especially exterior wood, to adjust to your job site specific conditions. Follow Critical Acclimation Guidelines or watch our Proper Wood Acclimation online learning for best practices and best results. 

For more information and inspiration on wood rainscreen systems, check out these other posts:





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