February 10, 2014 admin

Posted February 10, 2014 by Christy Serafini

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Rainscreen cladding is a type of exterior siding that has many specialized uses in commercial construction. Below are several reasons why your next large commercial structure will benefit from the protection provided by a rainscreen cladding system.

Multi-Layer Defensive Shield

The main purpose of any building enclosure system is to prevent the wind and rain that strikes the surface of the building from penetrating into the structure’s interior. Rainscreen cladding systems are very effective at shielding the interior of a building because they offer several layers of overlapping protection. Most cladding systems include the following elements:

Interior insulating layer: The layer placed closest to the building generally consists of insulated panels that serve to block the movement of air and heat through the wall. This layer may also be water-tight depending on the type of exterior rainscreen used.

Void space: This area is created between the insulating layer and the exterior panel with spacers or by gaps caused by the connectors used to attach the different layers of the cladding system. This empty space allows the pressure to equalize on both sides of the exterior panel and permits air movement that will dry any water that condenses or penetrates beyond the exterior rainscreen.

Exterior rainscreen panels: The exterior panels are designed to flex and move while still blocking wind and rain. These panels are the portion of the system that are visible to passersby and generally possess a decorative as well as a functional component.

Wind and Pressure Equalization

Wind loads are used to calculate the strengthening needed for the roofs and siding of standard residences and small commercial buildings, but when designing large buildings, a completely different set of wind loads comes into play. Considering the effects of wind and pressure loads is extremely important when designing high-rise structures and buildings with perimeters that are hundreds or even thousands of feet in length. Wind speed increases significantly just a few hundred feet above the ground, and all high-rise buildings must be designed to sway slightly in response. The method of constructing and fastening rainscreen cladding systems allows them to move slightly in response to strong winds and prevents the build-up of pressures that would cause the failure of siding that is firmly attached to the building.

Thermal Protection

Just as a double-paned window includes a void space sandwiched between two panes of glass to prevent direct heat transfer through a window, the empty space between the inner and outer layers of a rainscreen cladding system provides an added shield against direct heat transfer. As the outer shell of the building heats up in sunlight, the void space allows the heat to dissipate instead of being transferred into the interior of the building. This heat blockage makes rainscreen cladding systems especially valuable in areas with direct sunlight and a higher-than-average number of sunny days per year. In colder climates, the void space serves to create a thermal blanket of air around the building that is slightly warmer than the air on the outside of the panel.

If you’re planning a large construction project in Texas or Oklahoma, make sure to contact the team at Wade Architectural Systems for more information about the rainscreen cladding products available for your building. We’re a major local supplier of several different brands of rainscreen cladding, and we’ll work with you to find the system that best fits your needs.