After deciding to go with James Hardie Vertical siding, it took us some time to determine exactly how the best way to apply it to our SIPs house would be. The main questions was whether or not to employ a vented rainscreen or not.
A vented rainscreen is basically an air gap in between the cladding and the water resistive barrier (WRB) applied to the sheathing of a house. It is vented at the top and bottom of the cladding on the home. This vented gap, allows any water that penetrates the cladding to freely drain down the WRB and away from the house. It also allows extra circulation during the summer months that helps to keep the house naturally cooler. For the best explanation and step by step detailing on vented rainscreens, check out this post on the BUILD blog.
A rainscreen is often used in commercial applications, but not quite as often in residential. It is widely recognized as the most effective method for preventing moisture issues in modern homes and is even required in more strict locations such as Canada and parts of Europe. It is not a requirement for LEED to use a rainscreen in our area, but if we wanted to go the extra mile if we could accomplish it.
At first we were perplexed that James Hardie actually seems to discourage the use of a rainscreen in the US, while they do offer instructions in Canada and Europe for its implementation. A couple calls to their headquarters turned up instructions that would not void the warranty of their product. In fact Hardie gave us two documents that I could not find anywhere on the web. Both are invaluable if installing their product over SIPs. I’ve linked them below for your viewing pleasure. Hopefully they can help alleviate someone else’s stress who might be in the same situation we were in.
Now for the actual subject of this post, Home Slicker. I actually found Home Slicker at my previous job through a collegue that used to work for the local company, Benjamin Obdyke, that manufactures the product. The product is basically a corrugated mesh that comes in roll form and is installed just like a typical house wrap. There is no tedious grid assembly required with furring strips to create the rainscreen. Simply staple up and go. Below is a top view of the installed product in between the cladding and the house.
While this product costs almost as much as our actual Hardie siding, it saves quite a bit of labor and simplifies the installation of the actual siding over top of it. We can simply use nails or screws directly into our SIPs as if we were installing directly over the walls with no rainscreen. The product also comes in a version that has a Typar WRB attached to the back of it which would cut our labor for waterproofing future homes in half.
If you are considering a rainscreen on your next home, and we think you should, then take a good look at this Home Slicker product. You won’t be dissapointed.
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