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Introducing Rainscreen Association in North America (RAiNA) - Supporting Performance-Driven RainScreen Assemblies (video)

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Do you work in the rainscreen market?  If so, or if you work in the building industry and the green building industry, you will definitely want to be aware of and perhaps join RAiNA, the Rainscreen Association in North America.  Matt Hoots recently met with RAiNA Chairperson Todd Kimmel, and their conversation provides a thorough and interesting introduction to the organization.  Also, this video will teach you the definition of a “Woof!”  

Founded in 2020, RAiNA is gathering an expert network of manufacturers and building and design professionals to determine best practices and create standards, interpret and inform codes, and educate and address technical concerns in the industry.  Rainscreen principles have been around for over 100 years, according to Todd, and they’ve been installed on a consistent basis for 3 or 4 decades, but there hasn’t previously been a group focused on these types of performance systems.  

Though RAiNA will of course count many manufacturers as members, Todd makes clear that this is an inclusive association.  All of the key parties and systems involved in material production and installation/construction need to be at the table and work together for successful assembly of the wall and the long-term performance of the building.  These include:

  • Manufacturers, including:
    • Cladding, materials, panels, laminates, cements
    • Clip systems used to attach panels
    • Insulation companies
    • Membranes to help manage air and moisture and vapor control through the assemblies 
  • Architects and Design Professionals
  • Builders
  • Consultants
  • Building owners
  • Testing agencies

Against a backdrop of changing energy codes and increasing expectations of building energy performance, key issues addressed by the association include:

  • What is a rain screen?
  • How should it perform?
  • How do we measure performance?
  • How do we ensure success?

RAiNA’s plan is for all of the parties to come together and get in front of increasing demand to set standards and ensure that these types of systems are designed and installed right, with and through the support of manufacturers and everyone involved throughout the process.   As Matt Hoots puts it, rainscreens and how moisture integrates through the structure, creating the thermal layers and looking at the perfect wall system, are “What all the cool architects and builders are talking about.” 

The two shared an interesting conversation about the kinds of performance and warranty questions and issues that can arise between the different products and therefore the vendors who represent the products and service providers involved.  There are many discussions to be had about penetrating membranes, including limits to penetration and risk, as well as proper sealing and warranty questions.  Allowing water to flow through joints can cause anxiety, and how moisture moves through assemblies of course varies by climate zones.  

Some of the challenges RAiNA must address are definitional, creating the details for the industry to follow.  Heck is rainscreen one word or two (feel welcome to vote; auto correct seems to have an opinion)?  Todd and Matt bring up the interesting question of where a rain screen starts and stops.  Below grade might fall outside of the organizational scope without much argument, but how to address roofs will be less clear.  

RAiNA is a 75 Member and growing organization, and they somehow held 75 meetings in 2020!  This is a science-based association where the work is based on real-world science and participation of everyone involved.

As Todd indicates, this is an active association, with 6 standing committees open to new members: 

  • Building Codes
  • Rain Screen Performance 
  • Marketing and Outreach 
  • Residential
  • Education and Training 
  • Definitions 

RAiNA is also actively collaborating with other, related industry organizations and associations.  The idea is to leverage expertise to better the industry collectively, and the organization has already formed relationships with several relevant organizations and groups.  Todd advocates for anyone who’s serious about working in the rainscreen market to go ahead and get involved.  This is a great time to share input so RAiNA can finalize details and develop definitions and “watertight,” performance-based standards the industry can trust and have faith in.  

To learn more about RAiNA, and to join and get a seat at the table:



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