We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.

Advertiser Disclosure

Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

How We Make Money

We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently from our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is a Rainscreen?

By Sonal Panse
Updated May 17, 2024
Our promise to you
About Mechanics is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At About Mechanics, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

A rainscreen is used to protect exterior building walls from rainwater and other weather damage. By deflecting rainwater intrusion, the rainscreen system protects the building from moisture problems like wall leaks and roof leaks. Rainscreens typically consist of an exterior cladding, a vented and drained air cavity behind the cladding, and a watertight, sealed support wall that is separated from the cladding by the cavity.

The rainscreen cladding can be of masonry, stone, wood, glass, or metal. The force of the rain is diminished by the cladding, and the cavity behind it reduces the pressure of rainwater on the support wall. The vents in the cladding as well as its generally porous nature allow a good airflow into the cavity, and this prevents moisture from building up in the cavity. The airtight support wall, which is covered by a rigid layer of waterproof material, further ensures there is no moisture damage to the building.

There are two types of rainscreens, simple rainscreens and pressure-equalized rainscreens. A simple rainscreen is usually adequate in areas of low rainfall. In this type of rainscreen, the cladding is vented and the support wall is airtight and layered with waterproof material. The wall base usually has a flashing and drain. A good example of a simple rainscreen is a brick masonry veneer over a concrete block wall.

A pressure-equalized rainscreen is more advanced than a simple rainscreen, and more suited to areas of strong rains. The working principle here is that when a rainstorm lashes the building, the vents in the cladding allow the air into the cavity to buffet against the support wall's air barrier layer. The air pressure builds up in the cavity and soon this pressure is equal to the air pressure buffeting the cladding. As a result of this inner and outer pressure equalization, there is no more drawing of moisture inside.

Such pressure equalization, of course, works more perfectly in theory than in actuality, but compartmentalizing the cavity can help to a good extent. Sizing the joints will also minimize the rain penetrating beyond the cladding. It is important to use long-lasting, high quality sealants and drainage layers on the support wall so that the efficiency of the pressure equalization system is not reduced.

Rainscreens are quite essential protective features in buildings. The screens help building's exterior walls to stay durable for a long time and reduce the need for too many repairs. By preventing moisture-related decay, rainscreens also make buildings safer.

About Mechanics is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

Discussion Comments

About Mechanics, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

About Mechanics, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.