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Case Study: Drainable Wrap vs. Rainscreen

It won’t come as a surprise to anyone that rain is a key consideration when planning construction projects in the state of Washington. North of Seattle in Poulsbo, Chinook Properties recently built a 91 unit multi-family residential development: Arendal on Viking. This was the first apartment project approved in the city in over 20 years, so it has been closely watched.

In the course of planning, envelope consultant Highland Construction Consulting Services determined that a few minor modifications of the design would allow code compliant construction with a drainable WRB instead of a rainscreen. Hugh McKechnie, with Highland tells us, “When we looked at the elevations we noted that with the WeatherSmart® Drainable WRB, the James Hardie panel to plank ratio was very close to what was needed for the rainscreen alternative. Rutledge/Maul Architects made the design changes at the request of the owner, and we were good to go. No rainscreen needed.”

Not only were they able to make this switch, but the construction passed the required Washington blower door tests– meaning that the WeatherSmart Drainable was successfully installed as an air barrier. Drainability plus energy efficiency. Now that’s WeatherSmart.