Are rainscreen cladding systems airtight and watertight?

It might surprise you to learn that rainscreen cladding systems are neither completely airtight nor watertight.

In a nutshell: 

  • Rainscreen cladding systems protect a building’s outer wall from rain and UV damage
  • Rainscreen cladding is not completely airtight or watertight
  • Gaps within the system provide a ventilated cavity that helps remove moisture, preventing damage and rot

Yes, of course, the outer panels will protect the building from the full forces of the elements. But 100%? No. That’s not the system’s role.

Ultimately, it’s the job of the building’s backing wall and sealed windows to prevent water ingress and keep the building air-tight.

So, why is it called rainscreen cladding?

Simply because it will repel the majority of rain and moisture. And while we’re on a weather theme, it will also protect the building from the damaging effects of UV rays.

Any moisture that does get in is removed by ventilation – by the same gaps that stop the rainscreen cladding system from being airtight in the first place.

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