Cladding is the process of covering the primary external surfaces of homes or buildings with another material. Including weather resistance, thermal insulation, and visual aesthetics, external cladding is effective in sustaining the longevity and structural integrity of the building.
There are various options of external cladding available; each delivering unique benefits for different applications. Some of the most common types of cladding for construction include:
Excessive moisture retained in walls after heavy rainfalls, storms, floods or snow can quickly become the source of weakened structural integrity and degradation. However, water doesn’t move on its own. It requires gravity, wind, air pressure or capillary action to seep into the walls. The risk of damage is higher for porous material such as bricks and concrete.
Rainscreen systems are installed to prevent water from impinging on the structural integrity of the walls. They are built on the very concept that water needs an external force to move. They are installed over primary surfaces as rain cladding. Here is how a rainscreen system works:
The outer surface of the rainscreen system, i.e. the cladding material, blocks water’s sideways movement. For example, it deflects water when it rains, allowing it to flow downwards along the cladding layer.
The second most important aspect of a rainscreen system is the gap between the cladding layer and the primary surface/wall. Any water that seeps through flow downward along the cladding material’s inner surface, which has a water-resistant barrier. At the bottom of the gap between the wall and cladding, there is a drainage hole so the water can escape.
A gap of at least 3/8th of an inch is crucial for preventing capillary effect.
This is how rainscreen systems keep rainwater away from the wall, preventing it from causing structural damage or mold while sustaining its longevity. Aluminum composite panels of ACPs are effective cladding materials that facilitate the creation of a rainscreen system.
Although a life force, water and excessive moisture retained in walls or foundations of a building can be detrimental for its structural integrity and longevity. It can also be a cause for green or black mold infestation on the exterior or interior sides of the walls.
Rainscreen systems are popular in Canada and were developed to prevent water from seeping through porous construction materials. Cladding materials are installed on top of the primary surface with a ventilation gap to minimize water exposure.
Here are some of the main benefits of a rainscreen system:
Rainscreen systems featuring metal cladding, specifically Aluminum Composite Panels, also boast fire preventative qualities. Additionally, NORTEM® tries to optimize modern technologies, challenging traditional typologies, and using as many recycled materials as possible. Furthermore, LEED Certified products are also effective in reducing the overall carbon footprint the building might have.