Installing a Rain Screen for Your Home

No matter what exterior finish your home has, whether it is stucco, wood, brick, or vinyl, it isn't one hundred percent waterproof. It is still susceptible to water intrusion by rain, melting snow, and moisture driven in by the wind. While you may think your home's exterior can stand up to a little water, over time water can wet the drainage plane behind your home's exterior and shorten the life of the finish.

Installing a Rain Screen for Your HomeThe best way to prevent this damage is by using a rain screen, or intentional gap between your house's exterior and the drainage plane behind it. This simple gap allows for appropriate airflow behind the finish, so when water leaks behind the finish, it can dry more quickly. This, in turn, helps the exterior finish last for a long time.

Rain screens are beneficial to any home, but in climates with medium or heavy rainfall and coastal areas, they are especially advantageous. Houses in these areas succumb to rain much more often, so they are more prone to the long term exterior damage caused by water.

With the right fasteners and fixings, the right tools, and the following instructions, installing a rain screen is simple and cost-effective.

Installing Your Rain Screen

Installing your new rain screen involves five steps. However, before you begin, it is essential to understand and make sure the rain screen is pressure-equalized. This term refers to allowing gaps to be left at the top and bottom of your home's exterior wall to ensure there is space between the drainage plane and exterior where equalized air pressure can be contained. If no gaps are present, water that is trapped between the drainage plane and exterior will push through small leaks in the wall and enter the home, soaking the insulation, framing, and drywall in your home.

Once you have your bolt fasteners, tools, and lumber gathered, follow these five steps to ensure equalized pressure and proper installation of your rain screen.

    • Install the drainage plane - Drainage plane are generally made from building paper or tar paper and are placed on the outside of a building and connected to door openings, windows, and flashing in an effort to repel water away from the home. The materials used when installing a drainage plane should overlap and be seals to allow water to flow downward and outward.
    • Flash doors and windows - Flashing is essential around doors and windows to keep water from leaking around sills, where gaps are presents, as well as small holes from bolts and screws. Once the house is wrapped in a drainage plane, the windows and doors are installed, flashing tape should be placed on the sides of windows and doors. Each piece of tape should overlap the other to ensure proper sealing.
    • Install furring strips - Screw fasteners or furring clips can be used to install furring strips, which are made from wood, metal, or steel. These strips are narrow and are used to create a plane on which other materials can be attached.
    • Install your exterior finish - While vinyl siding is generally not recommended for rain screen projects because they are usually too short to span between the studs of exterior walls, rain screen work well with stucco, wood, cement board, and brick siding. No matter what siding you are using, remember to allow for air gaps at the top and bottom of the wall.
    • Install mesh over the air gaps - While you want to allow for equalized pressure, you don't want to simply leave the gaps at the top and bottom of your wall exposed. Place mesh over them to prevent animals and bugs from crawling into your walls and making new homes for themselves.

With the right materials and these tips, installing a rain screen will be a snap. While it may cost a bit of money, it will be well-worth your time and money in the long run.

The Workshop Warehouse has a growing catalogue of high quality industrial fasteners. We carry a huge selection of quality fasteners and fixings, especially for industrial and home use.

by Robin Hale; Thursday, April 12, 2012 @ 12:25 AM [1479]

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