Rainscreen cladding for the UK climate
Rainscreen cladding in simple terms is intended to be weather resistant, providing the building with protection from water damage through the external wall caused by weather. Of particular importance in the UK climate, these systems are designed to allow adequate water drainage from rain and reduce the risk of long-term water damage within the building structure.
What is Rainscreen cladding?
The Centre for Window and Cladding Technology (CWCT) defines a rainscreen cladding system as ‘…a wall comprising an outer skin of panels and an airtight insulation backing wall separated by a ventilated cavity. Some water may penetrate into the cavity but the rainscreen is intended to provide protection from direct rain’.
In most cases rainscreens are formed of thin gauge, lightweight panels or materials. Whilst the screen’s primary function is to prevent significant water from penetrating into the walls; thermal insulation, structural stability and airtightness are typically provided by the build-up of components within the inner part of the wall, such as within the steel frame system.
There are two basic types of rainscreen:
- Drained and ventilated rainscreen cladding systems allow any penetrating moisture to drain or evaporate and vent to the outside.
- Pressure-equalised (PE) rainscreen cladding systems allow the movement of air between the inside and outside of the rainscreen.
Why Rainscreen Cladding is growing in the UK
Whilst rainscreen cladding has been a popular choice for commercial buildings for some time, in recent years more specifiers and designers are choosing to utilise their distinct benefits in the residential sector, particularly for inner-city high-rise developments.
Here are some of the reasons why:
Flexible Design Possibilities – Materials that are lightweight and do not contribute to the structural performance of the building are an ideal canvas for creating unique and inspirational facades, because being non-structural they can be used much more freely. The evidence of this architectural freedom can be seen all around us in the cityscape, with modern geometric, flowing curves and projecting façade designs punctuating our skylines with their growing presence.
Long Term Durability – Metal and brick cladding are considered amongst the most durable façade materials available in the construction market. Bricks have been used to build innumerable structures over many thousands of years because of their durability. Brick becomes an extremely durable material when fired through a kiln at up to 2000 degrees, the clay is subjected to a vitrification process which fuses the clay particles together. Unlike other materials, brick is very user and maintenance friendly creating energy efficient buildings – especially when incorporated into a lightweight rainscreen cladding system.
Aesthetic Choice – The palette of materials and finishes available in today’s UK market, means that whatever design concept an architect creates, there will undoubtedly be a rainscreen cladding system available that will be able to achieve it. Choosing a cladding material is just a starting point, there are thousands of coatings, colours, textures, patterns and even geometries to select from; as well as the ability to perforate or expand most metals which can be used for more practical solar shading or ventilation requirements.
Which Rainscreen Cladding materials endure in Harsh Environments?
Aluminium is a popular material to use for rainscreen cladding due to its lightweight, flexible nature and ease of fabrication, however when used in an architectural application, particularly in harsh environments, specifying the correct grade of material and coating or finish for your façade is pivotal to its long-term endurance. We’ve collated some of the options and key features of the most popular finishes below:
Superdurable Powder Coatings
- Warranties of up to 40 years for colour and gloss retention
- Excellent chemical resistance
- Formulated in a broad range of colour, gloss and special effects
- Excellent colour consistency
- Typically rated A2 non-combustible (to EN13501-1)
- 40 years proven long term durability
- Excellent corrosion resistance
- Excellent abrasion resistance
- No possibility of colour fading
- Rated A1 non-combustible (to EN13501-1)
- Warranties of up to 40 years, 30 years in extreme environments
- Excellent resistance to corrosion and UV
- Unlimited range of colours and effects
- Rated A1 non-combustible (to EN13501-1)
Ash & Lacy Rainscreen Cladding Systems
If we can help with any technical advice, design queries or a general enquiry for your rainscreen cladding project, please contact our experienced team who would be happy to support and assist at every stage.
Talk to us today about Rainscreen Cladding