The Rainscreen Clip

West Coast Green 2008

Ever wondered how you install that super-cool modern siding you're seeing on all the hot new prefabs? You know, the siding that is simple horizontal planks with just a bit of space between each one? Well, that slick modern (and green!) detail just got a lot easier to pull off...

Rainscreen is the technical term for this kind of construction. It means you install the siding over vertical boards called furring strips, leaving a gap between the back of the siding and the plywood on the outer surface of the building wall. This air gap behind the siding works with the gaps between the horizontal boards to keep the guts of the wall dry. While this may not seem to make sense at first, lots of laboratory tests and installations show that it works. All those gaps put an area of high pressure behind the siding, which keeps wind-driven rain away. The gaps and air circulation also allow any moisture that does get back there to escape before it does serious damage. Because the siding can dry out, it also tends to last longer and need painting less frequently.

The trouble is that installing siding as a rainscreen can be difficult; the boards are hard to keep perfectly parallel, and it's especially labor-intensive if you do not want to take the minimalist approach and hide all the screws. The Rainscreen Clip holds siding boards on from the edge, so you don't have to drive any fasteners through the face of the board. The result is a clean look that shows off the beauty of wood siding.

Details available at www.rainscreenclip.com.