These construction details can improve the durability of exterior walls by allowing rain and moist air to escape from behind your home's siding.
Synopsis: Building-science consultant Michael Maines defines a rainscreen as a system of materials used to create a gap between the siding and the water-resistive barrier, and gives an in-depth explanation of what rainscreens to use for different purposes and getting rainscreen details right.
Of all the advances in building science over the last 25 years—new technologies, products, and approaches to building safe, durable houses—perhaps the simplest and most versatile is the ventilated rainscreen. I first learned of rainscreens in Fine Homebuilding issue #137, published in 2001. They seemed simple and logical. With input from Dr. Joseph Lstiburek of Building Science corporation, author Mark Averill Snyder explained how a rainscreen can help address peeling paint on siding, and he shared details on how to do it.
More than 18 years later, rainscreens are common on high-performance buildings— even required by code in a few places—yet many builders turn instead to “low-maintenance” synthetic…