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Are Ventilated Rainscreen Systems Effective?

Ventilated rainscreens, like StoVentec® Rainscreen®, help custom builders and architects build high-performance structures, especially in colder climates. StoVentec® ventilated rainscreen claddings create comfortable, sustainable, energy-efficient, and healthy indoor environmental quality (IEQ) for commercial, institutional, and residential exterior and interior wall construction.

Aesthetically attractive and versatile StoVentec® Rainscreen® comes in glass, masonry veneer, and a variety of render finishes, to provide building owners and architects with a range of unique aesthetic options for building rainscreen façades in combination with Sto’s high-performance, engineered products.

What Are Ventilated Rainscreens?

Ventilated rainscreen facades provide high-performance cladding for public and private, new and restoration construction. Ventilated rainscreen facades combine high thermal performance with aesthetic quality, functionality, lightness, and strength.

Ventilated rainscreen systems are cladding systems with air circulation space and water drainage between the cladding and the weather-resistive barrier (WRB) that effectively control moisture within the wall cavity. Today’s ventilated rainscreens offer optimal performance, superior weather protection, thermal protection, and expansive design flexibility for outstanding curb appeal. High-performing ventilated facade rainscreen systems contain five layers:

  1. Air and water-resistive barriers (like fluid-applied, adhered membranes, or factor-bonded with the barrier) that keep moisture outside the structure
  2. Sub-construction, or furring, with mounting brackets anchored into the substrate to connect the cladding
  3. As required by code, insulation between brackets, rails, and sub-construction provides thermal resistance
  4. Air and ventilation cavity that acts as a drain and vent space in the envelope
  5. Durable and water-shedding cladding protects against environmental elements, pollutants, UV-exposure, and more.

Why Is Ventilation Important?

Ventilated rainscreens allow air to circulate behind the siding, which promotes drying within the cladding system.

In the past, wall insulation levels allowed heat to infiltrate and dry out the moisture within the wall cavity. However, today’s high-performing structures, with higher insulation values, don’t allow heat to penetrate the walls and dry out moisture, especially in colder climates. Moisture in the wall cavity can lead to structurally damaging and unhealthy mold.

Ventilation in the rainscreen systems allows moisture to dry, stopping mold growth. In addition, ventilation within the rainscreen increases the durability of the siding. The gap for ventilation in the rainscreen does not diminish the wall system’s R-value.

What Problems Do Ventilated Rainscreen Systems Solve?

Ventilated rainscreens hasten the construction timeline and help prevent several problems within the wall system:

  1. In the past, the rainscreens five layers required different manufacturers and installers, complicating the construction process and adding time to the building process. The single-solution ventilated rainscreens contain all the layers, to simplify installation and save time and money.
  2. The ventilation cavity to the exterior of the WRB protects the building envelope from moisture accumulation by allowing for drying and drainage.
  3. A rainscreen helps protect the wall’s interior from the Sun’s UV rays, air pressure (wind) variations, and other extreme weather conditions.
  4. The exterior rainscreen facade furnishes the wall’s first line of defense against wind, rain, snow, cold, heat, moisture, and more.

Is a Ventilated Rainscreen Worth the Investment? – Yes

Building codes may mandate a rainscreen, especially in areas of heavy rain. However, even in regions with less rainfall, installing a rainscreen provides construction and sustainability benefits that save building owners money during and after construction.

Benefits of Ventilated Rainscreens

Ventilated rainscreens increase a structure’s durability and prevent water damage to homes and buildings. In addition, rainscreens protect and extend the life of the exterior cladding and their finishes (paint or stain), reducing maintenance.

  • Keep Rain off the Waterproofing Membrane
    The ventilated rainscreen provides a backup barrier to the entire cladding against bulk water, allowing the weather-resistant barrier to shedding residual water more effectively and with less stress.
  • Limit UV Damage to Water Resistant Membrane
    Ventilated rainscreen shades the weather-resistant barrier from direct solar heat and radiation, significantly extending its service life.
  • Offer Optimum Drying Potential of Enclosure
    Ventilated rainscreens help dry out the wall cavity, stopping the growth of unhealthy and structurally damaging mold.
    • A vented rainscreen maximizes the walls’ outward drying potential, removing moisture quicker than it can enter the building cavity.
    • When moisture can accumulate in the wall cavity during cold weather, ventilated rainscreens help the sheathing dry out.
    • The gap provides a capillary break between the WRB and siding, allowing moisture redistribution in the siding and sheathing to nearby materials by evaporation and diffusion, thereby minimizing water damage at the leak points.
  • Maximize Performance and Life Expectancy of the Wall Components
    A ventilated rainscreen helps protect the WRB and insulation layers from physical abuse so they perform optimally for a maximum life expectancy.

StoVentec® Rainscreen® Systems

StoVentec® Systems offers a complete, code-approved, and fully-tested ventilated Rainscreen® system with endless design options. Our Rainscreen® systems include a high-performing air and water-resistive barrier, non-combustible mineral wool continuous insulation, an adjustable sub-framing assembly, and our high-quality StoVentec® Rainscreen® cladding from one manufacturer.

In addition, energy-efficient and lightweight StoVentec® Rainscreen® Systems reduce the cost of air-conditioning and heating and minimize condensation that can lead to unhealthy and damaging mold and rot.

StoVentec® Rainscreen® comes in render, masonry veneer, and glass cladding surfaces, to provide designers and architects with an extensive range of aesthetic choices to achieve unique and beautiful façades combined with Sto’s other highly-engineered performance characteristics. In addition, the StoVentro™ Rainscreen® sub-construction offers a system for uneven substrates and flush transitions between different rainscreen claddings.

Sto Product: StoVentec® Glass Ventilated Rainscreen® cladding system
Owner: Stiftung Pfennigparade
Architect: RPM Architekten + Stadtplaner GmbH

To make young students feel comfortable when at school, RPM Architekten + Stadtplaner GmbH designed the Conductive Education Centre with colorful, unique facades that beautifully incorporate the StoVentec® Glass Rainscreen® system.

Additionally, Glass Rainscreen® systems provide several advantages that contribute toward an attractive, energy-efficient, comfortable, and safe building: simple and fast installation, high-thermal performance, design flexibility, and enhanced safety against winds, fire, and even bombs.

StoVentec® for Masonry Veneer Facades

  • Thin brick
  • Masonry
  • Tile

Easy-to-install, StoVentec®’s drained and back-ventilated, fully-engineered Rainscreen® system for masonry veneer facades combines all the building envelope components essential to all climates, from frigid northeast to humid and hot tropics:

StoVentec® for Glass Facades

  • Back-colored glass
  • Frosted glass
  • Custom printed glass

The back-ventilated and open-joint drained StoVentec® Glass Rainscreen® wall offers excellent weather and air tightness with excellent thermal performance and fire protection. A one-source system combines non-combustible continuous exterior insulation and continuous air and water-resistive barrier with StoVentro™ sub-construction and StoVentec® Glass Panels to create an advanced high-performance wall assembly.

StoVentec® for Render Facades

  • Sto textured finish
  • Stolit® Lotusan® self-cleaning textured finish
  • StoCast

Drained and back-ventilated StoVentec® Render rainscreen wall assembly provides aesthetic choices of Sto textured finishes, Sto Specialty finishes, or StoCast prefabricated resin cast shapes.

The single-source StoVentec® Render Rainscreen® wall system combines superior air and weather tightness with quality thermal performance and fire protection. The wall system includes non-combustible continuous exterior insulation and continuous air and water-resistive barrier with StoVentro™ Sub-construction and Sto finish systems to produce an advanced high-performance wall system. The StoVentec® carrier board also combines lightweight and high compressive strength to allow for seamless walls and curved surfaces.

Effective Ventilated Rainscreen Systems

StoVentec® Ventilated Rainscreen® systems effectively manage water, air, thermal, mechanical, and fire performance. The easy-to-install, integrated building envelope solution saves time and money and contributes to a healthy building with superior energy efficiency, long-term durability, and excellent IEQ. For more information on rainscreens, download additional articles Understanding Rainscreen Walls and Rising Trends in Ventilated Rainscreen Systems.

StoVentec® Rainscreen® comes in glass, render, and masonry veneer finishes to give architects and building owners a wide range of aesthetic choices to achieve unique looks for constructing ventilated rainscreen façades combined with Sto’s other highly-engineered performance components. Contact one of our Ventec specialists today.

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