Healthy Wall Solutions - Rainscreen

Armed with a wealth of first-hand field experience and access to the most current technological resources available, W.J. Higgins & Associates provides innovative solutions for exterior wall and rainscreen design services. Their unparalleled expertise ensure the results you want:


Keeping Your Defense Strong

Your building envelope needs to stand up to a lot of opposition. To maintain optimum performance, your walls need to remain healthy and free of moisture, which when left unattended causes mold, mildew, corrosion and compromised insulation performance.
Conventional construction methods attempt to seal wall cavities from sources of water. This approach exacerbates the problem since water vapor naturally occurs within the wall cavity. With more aggressive use of veneer joint sealants and interior vapor barriers, condensation that forms within the wall is not allowed to evaporate and/or migrate quickly, and accelerates internal wall deterioration.
Rainscreen, when properly designed and applied, solves these problems. It provides an uninterrupted, impermeable air barrier, allowing wall cavities to remain dry and healthy.



Traditional Construction Rainscreen
Sealed joints:
  • Leaching around weathering caulking
  • No drainage for wall cavity condensation
  • Wall cavity is not accessible
  • Thermal movement can cause joint stress
Open joints:
  • Clean lines; no leaching
  • Encourages drainage
  • Wall cavity is easily accessible
  • Allows for thermal movement
Veneer must act as weather barrier, placing some restrictions on design possibilities Veneer is independent from weather barrier, allowing design flexibility without compromising weather-tightness
Vapor barrier is interrupted at various interfaces (windows, floors, columns, etc.), compromising effectiveness Non-permeable air barrier interfaces with window assemblies for 100% weather-tighness
Dewpoint within batt insulation compromises R-value, deteriorates insulation in unvented cavity If dewpoint occurs, it falls within insulation and exterior of the weather barrier and is ventilated to allow for quick evaporation
Scheduling: Since exterior veneer is the weather barrier, this must be completed before interior finish work can safely proceed Scheduling: Construction can proceed on all interior finishes before exterior veneer is in place
Maintenance Costs:
  • Sealants need replacing approximately every 10 years
  • Ineffective insulation increases dependence on mechanical systems (discontinuous)
  • Air infiltration as identified in ASHRAE guidelines
Maintenance Costs:
  • No sealants to replace
  • Optimum insulation performance decreases dependence on mechanical systems (continuous)
  • "Zero" air infiltration