A rainscreen isn't one product or feature. It's more of an installation technique where a gap is created between the siding on your house, and the water/weather barrier behind the siding.
This rainscreen gap allows any water that penetrates the siding, to have an easy way to exit your house with drainage openings at the bottom. The gap also provides ventilation so that any moisture entering this space, from outside or inside your home, has enough air circulating. to dry out quickly.
When is A Rainscreen System Needed?
According to the GreenBuildingAdvisor.com website, the more rain you get, the more important a rainscreen system becomes. Here's when they say you need a rainscreen with:
- More than 60 inches rain/yr – always need a rainscreen, and in fact British Columbia requires them.
- With 20 to 60 inches per year – they're not mandatory but are still a good idea.
- When you have less than 20 inches/yr – like you really don't need a rainscreen.
- When installing a masonry wall made of brick or stone – a rainscreen has always been used
Creating a rainscreen isn't difficult. It requires installing strapping to the sheathing, which then creates a gap between the sheathing and siding.
Finding Your Annual (and Monthly) Rainfall
If you're not sure how much rain you get, WeatherBase.com offers all sorts of information from temperature (average, high and low), rainfall (how many millimetres and number of days of rain), length of day and more. And to convert mm to inches, it's roughly 25 mm = 1 inch (and here's an easy online converter).