Goes without saying, water is our enemy…when it comes to building. This relentless culprit is the number one killer of buildings and cause of failures. So, proper moisture management is an absolute must. The Benjamin Obdyke team is so passionate about moisture protection many of us even keep pieces of HydroGap® or Slicker® at our desks. Did you know that a 3”x3” square of Slicker MAX makes a great coaster? But, seriously, a well-built building envelope means everything when it comes to durability.
For more than 100 years, moisture management and home durability have been a priority for us, but industry-wide, this wasn’t always the case. Thirty years ago, very few residential builders knew about rainscreen technologies, and even fewer were installing them. Now, a properly selected and installed rainscreen system is an essential component to many projects, and even codes are moving to require this assembly.
For most residential builders, a rainscreen siding installation includes an air gap between the siding and WRB. We know so many builders who are laser-focused on their craft, but skip building with redundancy in the envelope. No matter how well-built a job is, components will always get wet and dry out, so proper water management always comes down to a rate question. The goal is to ensure the rate of drying exceeds the rate of wetting. We would love to live in a perfect world where our projects will not get wet, but that isn’t reality and preparing for the wettest of conditions will allow for the most resilient building envelope designed to last.
This is a hot topic right now because rainscreen principles continue to evolve and will remain a mainstay for the foreseeable future as they are proven solutions. Since the introduction of the Benjamin Obdyke Slicker® product suite in 2002, builders have adopted the technology across a host of projects, including several recent installations in coastal Rhode Island by our friends at Sweenor Builders – we can’t think of a climate more susceptible to moisture. Our builder partners are just as passionate as we are about moisture management, and for good reason because properly installed rainscreen systems both reduce wetting and promote drying - a win-win situation for wall assembly.
To us, building an airtight wall cavity is the pinnacle of success, and building better at every stop is the right approach to any project. The air space of a properly installed rainscreen increases the level of stability for cladding and the entire home in general. Every type of cladding will last longer if it experiences similar conditions on all sides. For example, when one side of the board experiences different moisture conditions than the other, those variable levels create instability that leads to warping, twisting and cupping – not a good look and quite frankly won’t last. The lifespan of a painted finish on cladding can be lengthened significantly when the challenge of moisture is greatly reduced—enter the rainscreen.
Every project is different and choosing the proper rainscreen system is critical to building a home with the highest integrity. As said before, we’re moisture protection nerds, so Benjamin Obdyke offers several rainscreen options for any job:
Slicker® Classic is a unique, vertically-channeled, three-dimensional matrix of Slicker® Classic provides a continuous space for drainage and drying, a thermal break and pressure equalization—eliminating the threat of trapped moisture. Slicker 10 Classic is designed to meet the 10mm code requirements in Canada.
Slicker® HP is the first all-in-one moisture management solution to feature a detachable rainscreen and premium housewrap in a single application. The ability to detach the rainscreen from the housewrap without compromising water holdout simplifies installation and allows installers to use preferred flashing methods
Slicker® Max is a vertically channeled rainscreen that includes a filter fabric, providing enhanced UV and compression resistance. Slicker MAX is ideal for providing drainage and ventilation behind fiber cement, stone veneer and stucco applications. For more information about rainscreen selection or any of the Benjamin Obdyke offerings, visit benjaminobdyke.com.