Conceptually, rainscreen systems are an evolution of long tested techniques like shingles and lap siding, but with the addition of a drainage plane between the siding and an inner waterproof membrane.
An Evolution in Building Envelope Construction
Proper design and construction will result in a building that can adequately resist predictable exposure to rain and wind without requiring an unreasonable level of maintenance. In the rainy parts of the Pacific Northwest, this entails that buildings must withstand long periods of rain, as well as rain driven by high winds, and they must be economical to remain weather resistant using available manpower and equipment. In this climate, building defects are a foreseeable consequence of material, design, construction, and maintenance failures.
In this climate, drainage systems like shingles and rainscreen are more reliable claddings than barrier systems that rely upon sealant joint maintenance to preserve their integrity. Over the past decade, building envelope construction has rapidly evolved toward the widespread use of rainscreen systems in mid-rise residential construction. Conceptually, rainscreen systems are an evolution of long tested techniques like shingles and lap siding, but with the addition of a drainage plane between the siding and an inner waterproof membrane.
Traditional building methods have evolved slowly over many centuries in response to the strengths and weaknesses of available materials. During the past hundred years, building techniques have evolved with increasing rapidity in response to the creation of new technology, development of new materials, changes to model building codes, and higher expectations for building comfort and performance.
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