The Ultimate Guide to Timber Rainscreen Cladding: Planning Your Project

Timber rain screen cladding has become the talk of the industry thanks to its popularity, sustainability, and aesthetic appeal. However, planning a timber rainscreen cladding project can be very challenging, especially if it is your first time working on it.

Be it your first time or not, we’ve put together an ultimate guide that can help anyone plan their timber rain screen cladding project properly. In this article, we’ll discuss everything you need to know about timber rain screen cladding.

So if you’re just a homeowner, architect, or contractor, this guide will help you with the knowledge you need to improve the quality of your project.


What Is Timber Rainscreen Cladding

Timber rain-screen cladding is an exterior cladding system. It typically consists of timber panels that are usually attached to the façade of a building. Generally, these timber panels are built with an air gap or cavity between the cladding and the building substrate.

The gap or cavity usually forms a drainage plane that drains moisture. Consequently, this helps to promote air circulation.

Timber rain-screen cladding is durable, sustainable, and aesthetically pleasing. Moreover, you can use it on different types of buildings.

Since there’s a variety of timber species, you can customize the timber rain screen cladding into different finishes. Overall, timber rain screen cladding can be a great low-maintenance and long-lasting solution for protecting and improving the appearance of your buildings.


Factors to Consider When Planning a Timber Rainscreen Cladding Project

1.     Building design and location

In any timber rain screen cladding project, building design and location should always be a big factor to consider. You must choose a cladding system that will suit the design of the building you want to install it on.

Equally important is the location of the building because it will affect the type of timber you use as well as the choice of the cladding system.

The building design will determine the amount of exposure the building has to moisture, sun, and wind. Consequently, these factors affect the design of the cladding system and its durability.


2.     Timber species and grades

The specie and grade of timber you choose for your cladding project will be critical in determining the performance and durability of the cladding system.

Generally, different timber species have different properties that determine how resistant they can be to decay, moisture, and insects. Hence, you must choose a species that suits your building location and climate.


3.     Moisture management

If you want to ensure that your rain-screen cladding system serves you efficiently for a long period, you will need to manage moisture efficiently. The cladding system must leave room for adequate ventilation and drainage to prevent moisture buildup.

Moreover, with proper moisture management, you can ensure that the building remains comfortable and healthy.


4.     Installation methods

The installation method greatly affects how stable and durable the rain-screen cladding system is. One good practice to consider includes proper ventilation and drainage.

Another good installation practice is to leave slight room to accommodate the timber’s movement due to temperature and humidity changes.

During installation, it is also important to consider the type of substrate and fixing system the cladding will use.


5.     Maintenance and repair

If you want your rain-screen cladding system to last long while delivering optimum performance, you should maintain it properly.

Ensure to carry out regular inspections and maintenance so you can quickly identify issues when they occur. This will help you prevent costly repairs or replacements.

You should always clean and seal the timber as part of your maintenance. Additionally, you should always inspect your drainage system.


Design and Detailing Considerations

The design and detailing of a timber rain-screen cladding system play a major role in determining its performance and durability.

·       Panel sizes and layouts

One of the biggest factors that easily affects the appearance and performance of a cladding system is the size and layout of its cladding panels.

For instance, large panels can help reduce the number of joints in the system. Furthermore, large panels make the installation process much easier. On the other end, small panels provide more flexibility in terms of design.

As a side note, you should ensure that the panel layout considers the location of openings around the building. It should consider openings like windows and doors, and it should also provide adequate ventilation and drainage.

·       Joint configurations

Most times, the joint configuration of the panels of a timber rain-screen cladding can affect how well the system performs. It may also affect how durable the system turns out to be.

In terms of joints, you can either use a vertical joint or a horizontal joint. Comparatively, vertical joints are more common and tend to provide a more traditional appearance. Meanwhile, horizontal joints provide a more modern appearance.

Whichever joint configuration you choose, you should remember to consider the location of openings around your building.

·       Ventilation and drainage

If you want your rain-screen cladding system to last long, you must make room for proper ventilation and drainage. The system should allow for adequate ventilation to prevent the build-up of moisture which may cause decay.

You should also have an adequate drainage system to remove any water penetrating the system.

·       Corner and edge details

The way you structure the details on the corner and edge of your cladding system can affect its performance and how it looks.

In comparison, mitered corners often result in a seamless appearance. Meanwhile, if you use butt joints instead, your cladding system will have a more traditional look.

Like many other design details, your cladding system’s corner and edge details should consider the location of openings in your building. It should also leave room for adequate ventilation and drainage.



Timber rain screen cladding is an effective way to update the aesthetics of a building, but it needs to be planned carefully to ensure that you have all the right components and materials. Taking time to research and consider various options like wood species, treatment and installation methods, and other factors are key elements in ensuring a successful project.

At Longhouse Cedar, we specialize in custom-cut cedar products built with functionality and sustainability in mind. We offer our customers maximum efficiency in all stages of the product cycle, from design to execution. Get started today by contacting us now; we make it easy for you to set the path toward creating a stunning timber rain-screen cladding installation!