Ventilated Facade or Rainscreen Cladding?

The term Ventilated Facade is more commonly used in continental Europe while Rainscreen is a more popular term in English speaking countries such as the UK, Canada and the USA.

For this manual we will use the term Ventilated Facade to mean the complete system and the term Rainscreen as the external panel. A Ventilated Facade is a kind of 2 stage construction, an inner structure with a protective outer skin, the rainscreen . This skin protects the structure against the elements along with any features like aluminium copings, flashings or trims. A Ventilated Facade is ideal for use in both new buildings and renovation projects.

The key features of a Ventilated Facade are: • an outer skin of panels, the rainscreen, • an air gap or cavity, and • an insulated backing wall that controls air leakage.

The rainscreen shields the backing wall from direct rain. However, depending on the nature of the joints between panels some water penetration may occur. The air gap and airtight backing wall combine to limit this penetration. The cavity space can evaporate or drain this moisture away safely. Drained and ventilated principle Drained and ventilated systems have openings that provide both ventilation and a drainage escape route. This combination allows air to circulate and dry the cavity between the inner and outer skins.

Benefits of Rainscreen

Placing the insulation on the outer face of the structure results in a number of benefits for the building, notably: • In winter time it keeps the building warm and the cold air is prevented from affecting the building structure. • In summer the ventilated facade has a cooling effect when outside temperatures are high. • Most of the sun’s rays are reflected away from the building. • Heat that passes through the panel is partially dissipated by the ventilating effect in the cavity. • An additional benefit in controlling temperature is that the structural movement of the building is minimised.

In conventional construction with internal insulation the thermal layer has weak spots where the floor meets the wall. These are called thermal or cold bridges. This results in heat loss and can cause surface condensation. By having the insulation on the outer face of the wall it can be easily mounted without interruptions; therefore any thermal bridges are eliminated.

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