Inspired Vertical Rainscreen Siding Design in Challenging Coastal Climate

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In Cape Cod, Massachusetts, amid dunes and seashore, you'll discover architectural gems – custom homes crafted by a local firm. Their latest project fuses innovative design, eco-friendliness, and traditional Cape-style charm. Ipe wood siding was used for good looks and durability that lasts decades. Curious about Ipe's enduring design advantages? Here they are.


Modern three peaked roofline in Cape Cod with large windows, solar panels, and Ipe Wood Rainscreen Wood Siding.

The modern three-peak roofline on this Cape Cod custom home is designed for optimal sunlight capture on the solar panels without sacrificing design. 


Peaks of Architectural Excellence

Atop a scenic bluff, a new construction custom home has a panoramic view of Massachusetts Bay and across to Provincetown. The client wanted to take advantage of this unique site and asked that the home be designed “around the sun”.

Polhemus Savery and DaSilva (PSD) took on the challenge. PSD, an integrated architecture and construction firm. has designed and constructed homes in southeastern New England for over a quarter century.

The PSD New Works In Progress webpage says that their client is “seeking net-zero energy use” and to “maximize solar energy collection”. To help achieve the net zero status, a high-performance building envelope was designed. The design includes continuous exterior insulation and a ventilated wood rainscreen using the tried and true Climate-Shield Rainscreen System.

A quality rainscreen system lets architectural details to come to life more easily,

including vertical or horizontal siding design.  

The Residential Wood Rainscreen Portfolio has many exterior siding projects to inspire. Download now. 



About the design inspiration, the PSD website says,  “It’s not very common to see a house where contemporary and vernacular styles merge. This house is wood-clad, but not shingled; it has window divisions, but not small panes. The setting—a stark, historic, and highly specific landscape—demands the house itself become a work of art suited to its rare and beautiful environment."

Part of that form was wood siding that would blend with the local community aesthetic of traditional, weathered wood exteriors. It still had to be modern, complement the height of the three-peak roofline, and the large windows. Vertical wood siding was chosen to bring these architectural design details together.

For the siding, Ipe wood siding material was selected for sustainability, durability, color, and low maintenance. The Climate-Shield wood rainscreen siding system was chosen for its simpler installation, high-performance and durability benefits.


Ipe wood vertical rainscreen on Cape Cod-1

The amazing architectural design of this home may be designed around net zero energy use but the curb appeal is spectacular. Ipe wood siding gives family and visitors a warm welcome home.


RELATED: Vertical Rainscreen Siding Project Photo Gallery


Ipe's Graceful Aging and Architectural Charm

Cape Cod is known for its many gray cedar wood shingled homes along the beaches. To create this modern, sun-worshipping home in a way that fits the community, the design team used Ipe wood siding.


vertical_wood_siding_using_1x4_and_1x6_ipe_rainscreen_siding_and_climate-shield_rain_screen_wood_siA close look at beautiful Ipe wood rainscreen vertical sidling boards with a clear, oil based UV protectant.

Weathered Ipe Looks Similar To Cedar, But Lasts Longer

When choosing exterior wood siding for this project,  the considerations would have to include that the home is sited on top of a hill with strong UV exposure - by design. It is located on a New England peninsula with all of the wind, sand, salt, snow, and Nor'easter storms that comes with it. 

Cedar wood shakes or siding boards are traditional, charming, and used in Cape Cod for generations. Even if you live outside New England, you are likely familiar with the iconic grayed wood Cape Cod homes. 

RELATED: Guide To How Exterior Woods Weather


However, there were some disadvantages to using Cedar siding for this project:

  • Cedar wood is beautiful, but tends to rot and deteriorate over time when exposed to rain, sun, and temperature fluctuations.

  • Cedar has a lower natural resistance than Ipe to insect, decay, and damage. Since Cedar is a softwood it naturally lower in fiber density than Ipe hardwood.

  • A higher fiber density means a higher hardness level which determines resistance to scratching and gouging from tree limbs, flying debris, etc. to stay attractive longer. Western Red Cedar's Janka hardness rating is 320 lbs. vs. Ipe wood's rating of 3,510 lbs., (

  • The strength and resistance qualities of Cedar lower as it ages. This can create higher maintenance requirements on weathered Cedar siding.

  • If you want a clear wood siding board for your exterior design, clear Cedar is much harder to find. Pricing for Cedar is much higher and the wait times for your lumber much longer.

    With all this in mind, PSD chose Ipe wood as an excellent upgrade to meet their project needs. Weathered Ipe has a similar look to weathered Cedar, it is a stronger and more stable siding board, and offers the longevity and sustainability the design calls for.

Siding Cost per Square foot 2023 siding prices


The benefits Ipe offers this home are:

  • Ipe wood weathers gracefully, developing a rich, satiny silver-gray patina that enhances its visual appeal that rivals weathered Cedar. 

  • Ipe boasts a reputation for weathering beautifully in harsh elements. Ipe’s superior ability to handle salt air, sand, moisture, heat, and humidity, are major factors in its longevity.

  • Ipe has a long, sustainable lifecycle and can be recycled when no longer needed.

  • It does not require chemical treatment to resist rot, mold, or insects.

  • Ipe wood has been shown to last over 20 years outdoors. with no maintenance, and still performs very well.

  • Mataverde® Ipe comes with a 25-Year Limited Warranty.


A different Ipe rainscreen siding project that illustrates both horizontal and vertical siding design combined. Also not the use of Ipe rainscreen on the soffits, which Climate-Shield simplifies. 


Looking for more residential exterior design inspiration? 

Download the Residential Wood Rainscreen Projects Portfolio now. 


How Rainscreen Innovation Adds Longevity

Why choose Climate-Shield open joint wood rainscreen installation for this project? There are many good reasons:

  • Energy Efficiency: Rainscreen systems can improve energy efficiency by reducing hot, moist air from becoming trapped against the building envelope. This can reduce heating and cooling demands in the home.

  • Reduced Maintenance: By extending the lifespan of wood siding, an open joint rainscreen system reduces the need for frequent replacement and associated resource consumption.

  • Improved Air Quality: Minimizing moisture-related issues promotes a healthier indoor environment and reduces the need for chemical treatments.

  • Eliminates complicated wood furring strips for architectural details or vertical siding design, saving resources.

  • Long-Term Sustainability: Rainscreen systems contribute to the long-term sustainability of a building by protecting its structural components.

RELATED: Download The Ultimate Guide to Wood Rainscreen Siding Now


Climate-Shield Rain Screen System -Moisture Management


Climate-Shield Rain Screen Natural Energy Savings






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