Rainscreen Construction Principle (Part II)

Rainscreen Construction Principle

Rainscreen Construction Principle basic idea is to have an exterior surface or cladding layer that can break the force of sideways, wind load, water movement, resulting in preventing water penetration into the building’s structure. For most of the buildings, from modern to traditional ones, water is the biggest enemy. However, producing a complete watertight cladding system is challenging. Thus, manufacturers started working on the rainscreen construction principle decades ago to provide better protection for the constructions in the city. Rainscreen comes in different styles and types. One of the most popular types is the ACM panels or ACP materials used widely in the modern era. These particular products offer numerous advantages along with their waterproof characteristics.

In the rainscreen construction principle part 1, we discussed the basics of these practical systems and their structure that engineers designed for better watertight characteristics. This article covers essential information about this principle that anyone in the building industry must know.

Rainscreen Construction Principle Types

The rain screen construction principle is based upon two distinct and separate barriers on the building’s cladding. The outer barrier controls most rainwater while the inner leaf performs multiple functions, including moisture and air barrier, insulation, and the structural wall. The outer section allows the water to penetrate through open joinery, and the volume of the penetration depends on the design principle. This is where two distinct types of products come into the picture: the Drained/Back-ventilated and Pressure-equalized/Compartmented systems.

Both rainscreen systems are available in ACM panels cladding materials and different siding for the facade. They use the principle of controlling water leakage without stopping it from penetrating through the exposed outer surface completely. However, the internal design of both systems functions differently based upon the approach. Moreover, the Rainscreen construction principle has been generalized and consolidated into one unified product in specifications combined with both types’ characteristics. For complicating and confusing matters, the water, and air resistance standards from the traditional building cladding systems are applied to these modern designs and specifications of the exterior material’s exposure. Placing the water and air tightness codes on the outer surface of the barrier contradicts the underlying fundamentals of the Rainscreen Construction Principle. Now let’s get to the fundamental of each system.

Pressure-Equalized/ Compartmented Rainscreen

In this article, we focus on the Pressure-equalized rainscreen principle, which is very design intensive. Please read the third part of this article to learn about Drained/Back-ventilated systems for ACM panels.

Pressure-equalized systems are susceptible to design variations and deviations from their design principle. The openings in this system are created uniquely for both static and dynamic pressure equalization allowance across the rainscreen. The essential factor that separates this system from the D/BV principle is the design and the use of the compartmented method within the cavity. The reason behind the compartment is that the pressure equalization can only happen within limited periods and in the case of controlled volume behind the Rainscreen system. This equalization is essential due to the none-uniformity of wind loads, constantly changing across a single cladding of a building.

The vent numbers and their geometry calculation depend on the cavity volume, allowing sufficient airflow in and out of the internal equalized area quickly enough to respond to the ever-changing wind loads. This promotes the pressure differences between the ACM panels or other types of panels used in the system and the internal compartment pressure resulting in equalizing the air pressure on the external cladding and the inner sides of the building facade. If the conditions exist properly, forces causing water movement will decrease; if not, they will be eliminated.

The effective area of the vent holes in this type of rainscreen construction principle depends on three factors which are:

  • The airtightness of the air barrier on the inner section
  • The stiffness of the cladding material and its inner leaf
  • The volume of the compartments that make up the internal air space

The compartments are the essential elements of a proper pressure-equalized rainscreen principle. They come with crucial properties, characteristics and functionalities. Followings are the reasons why these elements play an indispensable role in the PE systems:

  • They control lateral and vertical airflow.
  • They size the volume of the space that the vent openings must be designed for facilitation.
  • The most crucial role of compartments is limiting water infiltration and controlling the water drainage when air-pressure disequilibrium occurs.

The characteristics above show that rainscreens with non-compartmentalized cavities cannot be pressure equalized. However, many of this system’s construction factors and elements are almost similar to the drained/back-ventilated rain screen construction principle. Still, they have several significant and essential differences, which we have discussed in the third part of this article.

The Best Properties of ACM Panels

The Best Properties of ACM Panels

The Best Properties of ACM panels are what the building industry requires to improve cities and facility’s attractiveness and durability while satisfying construction regulations and standards. Aluminum composite materials or panels are modern construction and decorative products first invented in Germany in the 1960s. These materials take other traditional material’s place, such as cement and wood, in the market.

The best properties of ACM panels made other substances no so significant in the construction industry. Additionally, older and traditional materials are not environmentally friendly products, and they get damaged or even destroyed easily. Thus, architects and builders need new and valuable products to improve facilities with higher quality and resistance. ACM panels are the ideal solution since they provide a wide array of benefits.

What are Aluminum Composite Panels?

Before getting to the best properties of ACM panels, it is essential to know what exactly are aluminum composite panels. Like other composite panel materials, these products are made up of three necessary yet thin layers, including two Aluminum layers and one primary core material. Customers demanding projects can change the core substance since it can vary the product’s fire exposure behavior. For example, the core material may be a solid mineral or honeycomb filling, but the standard ACP products feature polyethylene or considerably combustible polyurethane substances.

The combustibility of the core material made issues for the past few years. Thus, manufacturers decided to change the core material for exterior cladding applications to prevent feature disasters. ACM panels are practical for applications where the project requires a mix of high structural materials. As a result, manufacturers create products with different yet high quality by using the correct core substance. The quality and the best properties of ACM panels have made various companies and manufacturers invest in the production process. The world statistics estimates that more than two hundred companies are active in the aluminum composite panel industry, and the numbers are still growing day by day.

Know the Best Properties of ACM Panels to Understand Their Value

As told, many companies and manufacturers spend their money on developing factories to create ACM panels. However, customers often want to know the reason behind this large-scale investment. ACP materials come with various advantages that made them famous. The best properties of ACM panels include:

Lightweight Characteristic:

ACM panels are one of the most lightweight construction materials in the building industry. This property of ACP materials makes them the ideal choice for cladding applications. Additionally, compared to other traditional materials such as brick, stone, and even other composite materials, ACM panels are considered the lightest.

High-Quality Surface:

Manufacturers and factories coat and cover ACM panels with two kinds of substances which are fluorocarbon and polyester. These two substances allow developers to create a high-quality product with a perfect surface. Additionally, aluminum composite panels are hard to break and can handle harsh external conditions for decades.

Durability:

One of the best properties of ACM panels is their durability. Every construction material should long last, and ACP manufacturers are aware of that. Thus, with the mix of zinc, magnesium, copper, and aluminum, they create stable products for cladding. This specific advantage of these panels shows up in advertisement projects where durability is in priority.

Fire Resistance:

Modern era construction regulations require so many different properties and factors. One of the common significant factors is the level of fire resistance of the building. Thus, if homeowners use fire-resistance materials, they can benefit from lower taxes. Modern Aluminum composite panels are covered with fire-retardant materials, which make them more fire-resistant products. Therefore, even if the product catches fire, it will not spread to other portions of the facility.

Sound Insulation:

Due to the sound pollution increment in the modern age, buildings require cladding materials to improve sound insulation and provide a more relaxed area for occupants and workers. Aluminum composite panels are the best materials for noise reduction purposes. This property is due to the arc type core in these materials, taking the sound waves and providing acoustic properties.

Thickness:

ACM panels are available in different thicknesses to satisfy any demanding project. Their gauge can be changed equivalent to the customer’s usage. Additionally, the core substance can affect the depth and the width of the panels. The overall thickness of ACP material varies from 3 to 6 millimeters. Generally, for cladding systems, manufacturers produce these materials with a thickness of more than 4 millimeters.

Flexibility:

ACP materials are famous for their flexibility and easy fabrication process. Manufacturers can easily bend, cut, fold and shape them. Thus, designers and architects can create limitless exteriors for buildings depending on the customer’s desires. Even if a piece of ACM is damaged and requires replacement, the homeowner can change only the panel with a problem since it is easy to install.

Among the best properties of ACM panels, other characteristics can be considerably beneficial for the construction industry, including being cost-effective, weather resistance, corrosion resistance, environmentally friendly, flat, and available in various colors and finishes for more satisfying designs.

How to Recycle ACP Materials?

Recycle ACP materials

ACP materials popularity is continuously growing within the construction industry due to its various advantages, including low price, energy efficiency, recyclability, and construction functionality. These materials have a unique design to satisfy renovation and rehabilitation projects in ventilated facades. ACP solutions can adapt to all fields of building and architectural applications. In this article, we will mainly introduce and concentrate on the recycling process of these panels. However, before getting to the process introduction, it is better to know the preliminary information about the characteristics and properties of aluminum composite panels.

Basics of ACP Materials

As it is evident, manufacturers utilize aluminum to produce ACM panels. Aluminum metal is a common element in nature, making it easier to find and extract for further utilizations. This material is located in many silicates, and then manufacturers extract it from the bauxite mineral and apply a complex procedure to obtain pure aluminum. Due to its low density and corrosion-resistant characteristics and being a perfect conductor, it is a suitable element for various industrial processes. Among its typical uses, aluminum materials’ mirror-like appearance helps designers create modern and sleek designs. Thanks to its physical properties, manufacturers can combine aluminum with other materials to produce new products, including ACM panels.

Uses of the ACP Materials

The most common usage of ACP materials is in ventilated facades. These cladding materials feature several layers that stand out for their effectiveness in solving insulation issues and make them a type of coating system for building’s exterior. Due to their physical properties, buildings can achieve efficient thermal behavior. The most notable thing about these ventilated facade systems is that they allow the construction to have a chimney effect between its exterior layers. The chimney effect generates continuous ventilation in the chamber while maintaining a stable temperature, resulting in greater energy efficiency than more conventional cladding systems. Thus, during winter, air circulation slows down and preserves the heat, while in summer, the heat gets evacuated, and the circulating air is renewed.

Recycling Process

The ACP materials are entirely recyclable, and despite their cost, the manufacturers of the world try their best to recycle these materials and not to throw them away directly. The high inherent value of aluminum materials is a significant economic stimulus for its recycling. Aluminum composite panels scarp can repeatedly be recycled without decreasing their value or diminishing their physical properties. Additionally, the energy that manufacturers utilize to complete the recycling process is a mere fraction of primary production requirements. The process involves a few but essential steps and requires machines to meet the recycling procedure. The method of aluminum composite panels recycling working as follows:

Crushing: The first step of recycling is cutting the aluminum composite panel into smaller pieces. This is done to provide easier workflow due to the large size of these panels. Without cutting ACP materials, there is no way to start the recycling procedure.

Grinding: Due to the perfect adhesion between the aluminum and the core material which holds the panels together, it isn’t easy to deal with these pre-cut pieces of ACPs. Thus, it is essential to grind these tiny particles into powder by utilizing special grinding machines to make them easy to separate.

Circulation Water Cooling: It is crucial to note that the grinding process can generate considerable heat which will lead to burning some pieces, resulting in reducing the separation rate. Thus, manufacturers utilize a circulating water-cooling system to reduce the temperature during the grinding stage of the panels.

Sieving Stage: The sieving stage, which features a vibrating screen, involves sending the small pieces without grinding them back to the grinding mill for further grind process. The produced powder will follow its process by continuing to the next stage.

Electrostatic Separation: The last step of recycling the ACM panels is utilizing the electrostatic separation method. According to the different conductivities between the core and aluminum, the electrostatic separator can easily divide the core material from the aluminum composite materials.

Machines Used for Recycling ACP Materials

Waste aluminum composite material is the most valuable raw material to recycle for complete PVC and high productivity characteristics. One of the machines used for the purpose is the recycling machine named YX-800, a device with a high handling property. This machine is mainly used to process and recycle scrapped ACM panels that often come from old outside walls of buildings, decorative panels for interior walls, notice boards, billboards, renovation, and portable house projects.

How Strong Is Aluminum Composite Panel?

aluminum composite panel

The aluminum composite panel is an industrial building product that is practical for cladding and facade applications. The building facade is the first element people notice when they see a construction, including home and commercial facilities. Every building design should have a unique soul, and it must represent the owner and a specific brand. Most of the facilities in the modern era have a perfect plan and soul, and due to the availability of different materials, architects can expand and improve their designs equivalent to the needs of the current time. However, products made from materials such as wood and steel are not very easy to work with for better creativity. Additionally, these materials have drawbacks such as fading of paint and heavyweight, making them challenging to install and maintain long-term usage.

Due to the growth of architecture ad modern materials, it is easier to have creativity when designing a facility. One of the practical substances which relieve the overall process of creating claddings is aluminum. Utilizing aluminum composite panels is an efficient way to add a modern touch and elegance to a building by producing shapes and patterns that were not easy to create decades ago. They are elegant, stylish, and easy to work with, but they have a wide array of benefits and advantages for which landlords and building owners must consider using them. The following are the primary characteristics that make ACP materials strong and efficient for any construction project.

ACM Panel is a Perfect Material with High Durability for Creative Solutions

Manufacturers can create shapes and designs with aluminum composite panels that are harder to produce with other facade materials. These panels will help architects and builders to create a look that is aesthetically pleasing and highly functional. Every construction material has to have high durability, and by combining it with zinc, copper, and magnesium, aluminum can become very durable and robust. Aluminum panels can be cut, drilled, bent, perforated, folded, and fabricated without losing their fundamental integrity. Due to the flexibility and durability of these materials, they have become ideal choices for all types of projects which require almost thirty years of life span.

Aluminum Composite Panel is a Strong and Lightweight Product Comparing to Other Composite Materials

Aluminum Composite panels are among the classification of the lightweight material while being extremely strong, making them perfect for cladding systems. Compared to steel claddings, aluminum is 66% lighter, a perfect and suitable alternative for architects who used to utilize steel for their projects. Most manufacturers compete to create more robust and lighter ACM panels to provide for contractors or building companies.

Low Cost of Maintenance

The cost and effort of maintaining ACP cladding systems are almost nonexistent compared to wood, steel or solid walls. If the construction project is located in a rural area, aluminum composite panels can receive a cleaning process twice a year; they should be cleaned once a year for urban areas. In low rainfall and coastal zones, once a year is appropriate. However, if the material exists in heavily industrialized areas, twice a year will do the job. Additionally, the cleaning process for aluminum composite cladding is relatively easy. For removing the soil, cleaning experts must use water rinse with moderate pressure, and in the worst case, other chemical solutions can clean the material thoroughly. It is essential to contract and consult with a distributor or contractor before considering hiring a cleaning expert for the cladding.

Cost-Effective Solution While Being an Efficient Material

Due to the very light characteristic of aluminum composite panel, there is no need for many fixing points, which lowers the labor and material cost and makes them a cost-effective solution for a building facade. Additionally, the installation and fabrication methods are easy for these panels resulting in lower maintenance and labor cost.

High Functionality of Aluminum Composite Panel

Manufacturers create a large variety of aluminum composite materials for cladding systems and panels while providing efficient functionality and suitable characteristics for building standards such as thermal, sound, and wind insulation, earthquake safety etc. Some of these functional properties lower the energy cost for the building owner. Other characteristics are anti-graffiti and easy cleaning, corrosion-resistant and recyclability.

Corrosion-Resistant Characteristic

ACP materials receive a pre-treating process for having a protective film to keep allowing them to have corrosion-resistant characteristics. However, aluminum panels themselves creates a thin layer of oxide when exposed to air, making the facade resistant to rusting and damaging. If the building is located in some extreme humid location, a special coating and maintenance are required to protect the product from further damages.

Non-Combustible Aluminum Composite Panels for Construction

Some of the aluminum composite panels are classified as non-combustible materials for construction while respecting fire-resistant standards and regulations. When exposed to a temperature as high as 600 degrees Celsius, aluminum melts, but the essential thing is that they are inflammable. As a result, these materials are environmentally friendly construction products that do not generate toxic gas even when a fire occurs.

Is it Cheaper to Replace or Paint Aluminum Siding?

Aluminum Siding materials have become efficient options for deciding the perfect cladding product for the facility. Depending on the building’s location and other factors, this type of siding can be an excellent choice. Aluminum sidings are available in various finishes and gauges for different projects. These exterior panels come in both vertical and horizontal formats to allow designers to have complete freedom in creating the overall appearance of a home. They provide excellent insulation and corrosion-resistant properties and save the building owner a considerable amount of cooling and heating costs over their life span. These panels are insect-proof, waterproof, and fireproof, along with their various advantages, meaning that they will maintain their beauty and essential characteristics without severe damages. Thus, they are typically low-maintenance options and require lower care than most other siding types.

Homeowners that already have old sidings are always thought of Replacing or Painting Aluminum sidings and choosing the best option for the purpose. Both methods, replacing and painting old sidings, are the most popular options for upgrading exterior cladding materials or repairing the cladding. Before making the final decision about the house’s exterior, it is essential to know the fundamentals of both methods.

Painting Method

Painting the existing Aluminum Siding is an efficient way to transform the look and feel of the facility. However, it is imperative to remark that it is a significant undertaking and is almost physical and costly. But the method has its unique advantages as well.

Pros: The first advantage of painting the siding is that the method is way cheaper than replacing it with a new vinyl material. However, this method comes in sacrificing long-lasting beauty, energy efficiency and overall maintenance. The cost of painting the product is 60% less than replacing it with other materials. The great thing about painting them is that the homeowner can do the job without hiring and paying someone else to do it. When the homeowner decides to replace the product with other materials, it is essential to keep in mind that there are limited products available in the inventory. With the paint color customization, it is possible to pick a wide range of finishes to customize any hue to match the existing products. Professional painters utilize the appropriate shade to prevent further damages to sidings, including collapsing and buckling from additional heat absorption.

Cons: The cons of painting the aluminum siding starts with the requiring prep works. The homeowner must wash the cladding material thoroughly. Any dirt left behind on the old materials will make a considerable mess and damage the painting equipment. The process can consume a ton of water. Thus, it requires hand washing methods which are time-consuming. The subsequent preparation is to prime the material, vital for sidings that are porous and pitted. Then the painter should start the process with a hand paintbrush or a paint roller which higher the risk of making the cladding look even worse than it was. The most substantial drawback of this method is that it is a short-term solution and will not last long.

Replacing and Old Aluminum Siding

After knowing the Pros and Cons of Painting and Old Siding, it is time to introduce the advantages and drawbacks of Replacing the Existing material.

Pros: Many new materials for replacement cost a significant amount of money. However, manufacturers managed to create cost-effective products for homeowners who decide to achieve the best results with lower expenditure on their siding products. The key is to find contractors that offer affordable and reasonable quality aluminum sidings. It is essential to know that replaced material do not require painting and a regular maintenance process. They do not fade from sunlight, and they come with warranty thus even it is damaged due to different factors they can be renewed. However, low maintenance does not mean zero care, and atmospheric dirt can collect on the product over time. Hard rain can splash mud onto the material, but the good news is that it is easy to clean the new aluminum siding. They can add more charm than the painting method, and it is multidimensional. Unlike paint, this solution is long-term and can provide 5 to 25 years of service. It is possible to add an underlayment to increase the insulation properties and energy savings by replacing the damaged and old siding. Replacing method allows the homeowner to add details such as scallops and shakes to enhance the exterior and increase the luxurious appearance of the facility. They are easy to install and do not consume lots of money and energy, and provide safety on the ground.

Cons: The primary drawback of replacing method is its cost. At the same time, replacing old sidings is more expensive than painting. The look of quality siding is priceless, and the new exterior material will provide aesthetic appeal for decades. Factors that play a role in the higher price of the replacement methods include quality and length of the product, aesthetic upgrades, warranty and installation, area of the project, and the removal of the old products. However, it is essential to remember the cost for this method is a return on investment. It is a fact that the average return on investment on the replacement is 76.7%.

Complete Guide to Installing a Rainscreen

Installing a Rainscreen

Installing a Rainscreen panel is one of the most efficient ways to improve the construction’s envelope’s cladding system. It is a suitable building solution to fit into the modern sustainable, and good-looking architecture trends and provides more accessible installation systems than other cladding materials. Rainscreen systems mainly focus on insulation and moisture resistance properties. They prevent the rainwater from penetrating the facility’s structure, eliminating the risk of condensation-related issues such as mold and dampness. When the water ascertains a way to infiltrate the system, many problems may occur. Damp walls often lose thermal energy and lower the efficiency of the facility. Thus, every building requires a plan for installing a Rainscreen. The most remarkable thing about these materials is that they are practical for refurbishments and new-build projects while being cost-effective and require lower maintenance.

Before Installing a Rainscreen

Installing a Rainscreen requires preliminary steps to ensure if the system is suitable for the particular projects. It is essential to check with architects and local building codes before the procedure starting point. Following all construction codes that apply to the building zone is necessary. Builders should test the material’s sustainability for the projects since various factors and variables can exist during the installation process. Manufacturers always provide instruction for their products for different types of projects which is viral to follow. When the installation instruction differs from the standard codes, it is better to contact the contractor and check if it is still suitable to use Rainscreens for the purpose. Here is the list of before-installation steps that can help individuals in their project management.

  1. The first thing is to calculate the number of requiring cladding materials depending on the net finished dimensions.
  2. The characteristics and properties of the Rainscreen siding must accommodate the local weather conditions and climate.
  3. Using the end seal for covering the ends of existing grains on the new fabricated or cut panels is essential.
  4. The last step depends on the demands of the homeowner. If the homeowner expects permission, it is better to check local building codes and provide a report to ensure the project’s road map.

Steps of Installing a Rainscreen

Installing a Rainscreen whether it is Aluminum composite material or other industrial product, contains standard steps for achieving a better result. If the process is done with precision and by following the steps, the product can be at service for a long time without requiring regular maintenance. Here are the main steps for installing Rainscreen panels for a project that are essential to follow.

  1. The first step is to prevent moisture intrusion with house wrap installation in which following the vapor barrier instruction is essential.
  2. The next step is installing the baseboard, also known as furring strip, using constructional supplements such as stainless screws. During the baseboard installation, it is crucial to ensure the product level.
  3. Along with attaching the furring strips, they need to be aligned vertically on the baseboard’s top with 0.3 meters distance on the center.
  4. This step requires starter clip installation, which includes hidden siding fastener kits on the board. After installing the clips, they should have perfect alignment with the furring strips. Using a chalk line reel for creating a level line can be helpful.
  5. After using a level for ensuring the first board alignment, it is time to install the first Rainscreen Siding board on the clips’ top section.
  6. Designers always recommend placing the hidden siding fasteners into the groove section of the cladding.
  7. Experts drive the stainless-steel screw through the clasp into the strip at a 45-degree angle.
  8. The last step is to use a rubber mallet to align the cladding materials properly, and then builders should set the proceeding siding boards on the top of the fasteners. It is good to have in mind that two pieces of sidings abut against each other, using two pins can be helpful.

Other Factors to Consider During Rainscreen Installation

While installing the buildings on the buildings, some essential factors are considered to provide the panels’ maximum efficiency. Wavering these factors can decrease the system’s quality and can cause further damage to the structure, which will end up in repairing and expenditure increment.

Allowable Shrinkage: Installing a Rainscreen requires installation tightly for each board to leave the minor gaps between the products if shrinkage happens. Mediocre shrinkage needs to be measured. However, this factor varies depending on installation site, method of use, and climate.

Cutting and Drilling: Using special tools such as premium carbide saw blades are recommended for cutting due to the rugged nature of Rainscreen panels. It is better to use point drill bits or foster bits to provide cleaner holes on the boards.

End Sealing: Most manufacturers ship their Rainscreen products with the end grain sealing process with clear wax, perfect for preventing any end checking and conflicting movement.

Finishing: Due to the physical properties of Rainscreens, most of the oil and water-based finishes do not dry appropriately after being applied. It is better to test different product samples on various boards to find the most efficient finish for the demanding project before starting the installation process.

What is a Rainscreen Cladding System?

Rainscreen Cladding System

Rainscreen cladding system is one of the most efficient cladding products in the modern era for construction projects purposes. The system is suitable and fits into the current trendy and sustainable architecture designs and consists of an easy installation system compared to many other cladding materials. Thus, knowing the advantages and functionality of Rainscreen products is essential for creating an appropriate exterior for a building. An inappropriate facade cladding insulation system can entail considerable energy loss in commercial buildings and private homes. In contrast with many inadequate cladding systems, Rainscreens products can favor energy saving due to its air cavity on the facility’s exterior section. With the combination of Rainscreen techniques with a proper facade insulation method, it is possible to provide the building with numerous benefits and advantages, such as increasing the sound and thermal insulation and other significant properties

How Does the Rainscreen Cladding System Work?

The Rainscreen cladding system contains a bearing wall, insulation surface with a layer with sufficient substance, and a fixed cladding material on the building, which utilizes a supporting structure. Due to this system’s perfect design, air cavity presence between the cladding material and the load-bearing wall allows the facade to have continuous ventilation. Depending on the projects, it is common to find an insulation layer between the cladding and the load-bearing wall. In some cases, the load-bearing wall itself can insulate the system, and in others, it is possible to place the insulating material inside the facility.

  • Load-bearing Wall: The cause of using a load-bearing wall is to ensure the stability of the facility. The design must create enough strength to support the cladding system’s weight and the wind load that transmits through the structure. The load-bearing wall can contain concrete, wood, or brick, among other practical materials. The essential factor is to ensure the wall supports can overcome the cladding material’s weight per square meter.
  • Air Cavity: The air cavity, which has an opening on the bottom and the top section of the exterior system, allows air’s constant circulation. Protecting the gaps must be precise and correct to prevent water infiltrations since water can decrease the insulating product’s efficiency. A ventilated flashing involves the facade’s lower opening to allow ventilation and avoid small insects’ entry. In contrast with the lower section, the top flashing or the upper beginning includes metal profile installation to prevent water infiltration while leaving the requiring space for continuous ventilation. For ensuring the air cavity efficiency, it is essential to create at least 2cm width in the cladding’s tightest part. Additionally, the minimal surface of ventilation can vary depending on the latitude of the facility.
  • Insulation Layer: The insulation layer can be both inside and outside of the building. However, it is better to install it on the exterior section of the load-bearing wall to ensure more efficient structural movements performance. When installing the insulation layer inside the facility, the surface is no longer part of the Rainscreen cladding system, and it will not benefit from the ventilation properties. Regarding the insulating material for this system, there are several options available. Designers choose the thickness of the material depending on the insulating capacity and the application requirements.
  • Cladding Material: Many materials are suitable for cladding, such as ceramic, wood, metal claddings, or even natural slate. The most crucial thing for choosing the cladding material is its resistant, durability and quality that completes the efficiency of Rainscreens.

Advantages

After defining and knowing the structure and functionality of Rainscreen cladding systems, it is essential to know the main advantages that these products provide for the buildings. Followings are some of the most noticeable benefits of these systems.

  • Avoiding Condensation and Humidity: The Rainscreen cladding system is perfect for reducing condensation and humidity both from the facility’s interior and exterior sections. The system’s air circulation is ideal for creating an extra protection layer and removing the possible water infiltration that can find a way through the joints.
  • Extending Lifetime of the Facade: The system that provides air cavity improves the cladding durability since it protects the products from humidity.
  • Reducing Structural Movements: The air cavity maintains the stability of temperature in the construction envelope and prevents the risk of cracks and other issues. Since the system is resistant to temperature changes, it is less liable to experience colossal expansion and contraction movements.
  • Thermal and Sound Insulation: With the combination of the insulation layer and the cladding system, the thermal and sound insulation improves significantly. Acoustic and thermal insulation has a significant impact on health since it decreases environmental pollution.
  • Energy Efficiency: The Rainscreen systems make the cooling and heating process much more manageable in warm and cold seasons and play an essential role in saving energy. Thus, the energy expenditure can decrease about 30% to 40%.
  • Low Maintenance: One of the considerable advantages of the Rainscreen cladding system is that it requires almost zero maintenance, especially when the designer chooses a material to withstand harsh weather conditions.
  • Adding Value to the Facility: The durability, energy efficiency, and low maintenance of the Rainscreen systems can recover the building’s initial investment. Thus, these systems are the perfect choice for new constructions and renovation projects in residential and commercial facilities.

How to Repair Aluminum Sidings

Aluminum Sidings

Aluminum sidings are versatile products that are perfect for covering the construction and applications that require cladding. They are ideal choices for regions that have low to mid-temperature. These sidings do not rust, blister, burn, rot, or get eaten by insects. However, they can scratch, dent, fade in time and corrode. The good news is that it is straightforward to replace or repair aluminum sidings. It is essential to improve the product as soon as any issue starts appearing on the surface to avoid further damage. The process has the flexibility for DIY terms, but it is better to rely on professionals for achieving better results.

Aluminum sidings join together similar to other sidings, which means that patching a damaged area or replacing a panel is the main step of repairing these products. It is crucial to remember that instead of corner posts, they are metal corner caps present in these products. In older installations, these materials were often suitable for wood sidings cladding systems. With the growth of technology and the internet, even if not finding local suppliers for caps, it is straightforward to find these repairing products in online sources. It is possible to shape and cut a piece of sheet metal in a pinch to fit with the old cap as a template. It is also crucial to know that aluminum sidings should receive a painting process once in a while. Most of the repairs for these products will take less than an hour, and the only requiring knowledge is to know how to cut and measure outcomes.

Essential Materials and Supplies to Repair Aluminum Sidings

Regardless of the simplicity of the aluminum siding repairing process, experts should utilize some special equipment and supplies. Followings are the most common materials for the repairing process:

  • Electric Metal Shears: This is a tool to cut metals while providing a pressure-sensitive trigger for rotating the cutter and do the work.
  • Metal Snips: One of the valuable tools for repairing sidings is metal snips that allow experts to improve cut quality and minimize the burrs.
  • Scrap Material: It is best to save the removed sidings and utilize them when a similar product is required during the repair work.
  • Waterproof Repair Tape: This tool is perfect to create a watertight bond for sealing up gaps and holes in every type of siding product.
  • Gutter Sealant: This type of sealant helps seal up seams and gasps present in the siding’s cut edges.
  • Repair Epoxy for Aluminum: Repair Epoxy is ideal for filling small holes from nails, bolts, and screws.
  • Protection Equipment: Like every industrial procedure, aluminum siding repairing requires safety and protection equipment. These equipment include latex gloves that are perfect for working with sealant and epoxy, cut-resistant gloves that can protect hands from the sharp edges of the siding, and safety glasses to protect the eyes from the cutting process.

Repairing Process

Repairing Aluminum sidings follow standard yet straightforward procedures. Every step of the process requires precision for better results. Here are the main stages of repairing aluminum siding.

  • Cutting Away the Area That Has Issues: The first step is ripping and cutting down every piece covering the damaged part and removing it with a crowbar or another suitable tool. This step is also beneficial for ensuring if there is no water damage beneath the siding.
  • Applying the Waterproof Repair Tape to The Edges of Aluminum Sidings: The second step is to cover up the gaps to provide extra insurance against moisture. The tape can bond to aluminum for a water seal purpose while allowing for contraction and expansion of the product as the temperature changes. It is essential to apply the tap around the hole and overlap it with the intact siding at a certain distance. This stage is beneficial for holding down the edges of existing sidings.
  • Cutting off the Flange from the Bottom Strip: In this step, it is better to use electric metal shears and cut off the bottom Flange at a high pace. It is effortless to trace the conduit’s shape onto the panel’s back and cut it out with the same tool. Additionally, it is good to cut away the nailing strip on the top to overlap with the existing product.
  • Applying Gutter Sealant to The Back Edges: This step is efficient if the old siding is not in the best shape and contains dents at the edges. Gutter sealant can hold the edges of the patch to the existing cladding material. It is essential to put on latex gloves to provide safety and then run a bead of sealing product along all the cut edges except the nailing strip, which is usually at the top. Then comes the pressing siding piece process into its place and driving nails through the ribbon and backing.
  • Sealing All Edges with Silicone or Gutter Sealant: For preventing water insulation, it is essential to fill all the edges with more gutter sealant while ensuring seasonal movements.
  • Painting: Once the sealant and epoxy repairs the damaged parts, it is possible to touch the paint in specific areas. It is better to clean up the aluminum siding before applying the new finish to the product.

How is The Pure Aluminum Produced? (part 2)

Pure Aluminum

Pure Aluminum is a suitable material that is commonly used in different industrial fields. The growth of technology helps manufacturers create various products to help the modern era in architecture and designs. Aluminum has physical specifications that make it suitable for construction products. This material’s most essential characteristics include versatility, strength, low weight, durability, and corrosion resistance.

Although the material is one of the most found substances in the mother earth, producing pure Aluminum suitable for industrial projects is not a simple procedure. The production includes many stages, starting with obtaining and mining bauxite and then more specific processes. Bauxite is a mineral containing 50% aluminum and is used as a primary material. The second stage is creating alumina from the mineral obtained with different methods such as the Bayer process. Another vital component in the production process is cryolite made from hydrofluoric acid and aluminum hydroxide and soda mixture. More details are introduced in How is The Pure Aluminum Produced part 1 article about the stages above. This article is about other steps, including production, cast house, new technologies, and recycling.

Pure Aluminum Production

After mining bauxite, making alumina from the mineral and stockpiled cryolite, it is time for the procedure’s most crucial stage, the electrolytic reduction, to make Aluminum. The reduction zone is considered the heart of a smelter. This area does not look similar to the production shops in typical steel workshops that create steel or iron. This area consists of several rectangular buildings while having a length that sometimes can exceed 1 kilometer. Hundreds of reduction cells or posts are arranged in rows and hooked up to power sources with massive and huge cables inside these facilities. Each reduction cell has a different constant voltage at the electrodes having a range between 4 and 6 volts, while the amperage of each can reach 400 KA and even more. The main production force is the electric current. It is good to mention that there are only a handful of people in a standard reduction zone, as all the main processes are fully automatic.

The electrolytic reduction process is used in each cell to produce Aluminum from alumina. For creating a conducive environment at a temperature of 950 centigrade degrees, the entire cell is filled up with molten cryolite. The bottom section of the cell works as a cathode, while cryolite-carbon blocks play the cathode. These blocks have a 1.5-meter length and 0.5-meter width that are lowered into the cell and look like giant hammers. An automatic alumina feeding machine dumps a new portion of material into the cell with every thirty minutes sequence. The electric current breaks down the bond between oxygen and Aluminum, causing the metal to settle to the bottom of the processing area and form a 10-15 cm depth layer. In contrast, the oxygen binds with the carbon in the anode sections to create carbon dioxide.

The Aluminum gets extracted from the cell with special equipment and vacuuming systems about two to four times per day. A hole is punched in the cryolite coat that forms on the surface of the cell. After this, a pipe is lowered and fixed on the spot. The liquid metal gets sucked into the bucket through the line from which all air is pumped out. One ton of metal is obtained from every reduction cell, while one bucket can hold 4 tons of molten metal. Once the bucket is complete, it is taken to the cast house for creating other products such as aluminum composite panels. One of the essential things about this procedure is that it consumes a considerable amount of electric power. Thus, it is crucial to use renewable energy sources such as hydroelectric power plants that don’t spoil the environment.

Cast House

Molten Aluminum is transported in buckets to the cast house of the smelter. At this step, the metal still contains a lot of silicon, copper, iron and other elements. However, even the smallest number of extra admixtures can have a drastic impact on metal properties; thus, in the cast house, all admixtures are omitted by remelting the meal in a particular heater at 800 centigrade degrees. The resultant pure Aluminum is cast into special molds where it is allowed to become solid. The smallest aluminum ingots are known as pigs, weighing between 6 and 22.5 kg. The manufacturers should remelt pigs after receiving and then recast them in the shape of any industrial materials such as Aluminum sidings. The most significant ingots are 30-tonne slabs and have 11.5-meter length. Hot Aluminum needs to be poured into a mold like this over two hours only from the bottom up. After casting the slab, it is cooled down with water, and as soon the process is completed, the slab is ready for shipment. Slabs are usually rolled into thin sheets that are then used in the manufacture of different products.

Cast house is an area in which Aluminum is given the required shape and chemical composition. The crucial thing is that pure metal is used less than alloys. These alloys are made by mixing Aluminum with various other metals to increase its strength or make it denser or even change its heat transmission properties. Common alloying elements include iron, silicon, magnesium, manganese, copper, lithium, zirconium, etc.

How is the Pure Aluminum Produced? (part 1)

Pure Aluminum

Aluminum is one of the most well-known materials existing on the planet. However, pure aluminum does not occur naturally, and a chain of processes is required to develop the usable material for different purposes. Many compounds are quickly produced due to the easy atom binding in this metal. Simultaneously, it is impossible to isolate the metal by simply melting the compounds in a forge, as in metals such as iron. The pure aluminum production process is very complex and requires special machines and vast amounts of electricity. Thus, smelters for this metal are always built in the vicinity of power energy sources, including hydroelectric power plants that do not contaminate the environment. Now let’s get to know the best practice methods and steps for producing pure aluminum material.

Bauxite Mining for Creating Pure Aluminum

Pure aluminum production is essentially broken down into three main stages. The first step is extracting the bauxite, which contains aluminum from the ground. The second step is processing the bauxite into alumina or aluminum oxide. Finally, the third stage produces pure aluminum by using an electrolytic reduction in which the aluminum oxide should be broken down into its components by utilizing electric current. About 1 tone of pure metal is made from 4-5 tons of bauxite, producing 2 tons of alumina.

There are many different minerals available from which pure aluminum can be produced for other industrial materials, such as Aluminum composite panels. Bauxite is a raw material that is commonly used for this purpose. Bauxite generally contains 50% aluminum oxide mixed with some other substances.

Bauxite is available in different variations. It can structurally be dense, solid or crumbly. Usually, it has brick re, flaming red or brown color due to the existence of iron oxide. The bauxite can be grey or white in case of lower iron content. However, dark green, yellow, and even multi-colored bauxites with purple, bluish, black and red strains are available too.

The most practical way to mine minerals is by utilizing open-pit mines. Special equipment is used to cut one layer after another off the surface, including rocks, and then transported to factories for further processing. However, there are other areas where aluminum ore needs to be mined from deep underground layers, which require underground mines.

Alumina Production for Pure Aluminum

The next step in the pure aluminum production chain is obtaining aluminum oxide from bauxite, also known as a white powder. Bayer process is one the most common methods of producing alumina from the mineral. This method is discovered over a hundred years ago and is still a very a suitable system.

Bayer Process

About 90% of alumina producers utilize the Bayer method. This system’s only issue is that the Bayer process is efficient on high-quality bauxite with low admixtures, such as silicon. This method’s instruction is as follows: Dissolving the crystallized aluminum hydrate in concentrated caustic soda at high temperature. After the temperature is lowered and the solution’s concentration increases again, the material reduces but the other elements existing in the bauxite settle to the bottom appropriately.

After aluminum hydrate desolvation in the soda, the extra stuff can be isolated and removed quickly. The additional elements are also known as ballast or red mud. Large hydrate particles can be filtered out from the solution without requiring the complex procedure. For exceeding the water, manufacturers wash, dry and heat up the material. The result of the process is alumina. This substance has an unlimited shelf life. However, it has to be stored under appropriate conditions because it can absorb moisture at the first provided opportunity. Thus, alumina producers choose to ship the material to smelters ASAP. Manufacturing system stack the metal into piles that weight about 30,000 tones. As a result, a kind of layered pie about ten meters high is built. The mass is then cut and loaded into the railroad for dispatching to smelters to create the material suitable for producing aluminum sheets and other products such as aluminium sidings for cladding.

Sintering Process

Sintering is another method for alumina production, which is less common in comparison to the Bayer system. The technique is about making solid materials from powders at high temperature. The primary element is sintered with lime and soda. The latter two parts generally bind the silica into inexplicable silicates that can then be easily separated from the produced alumina. This method is suitable for obtaining alumina from a high content of toxic silica admixture bauxite. However, sintering can consume more energy in comparison to the Bayer process.

Cryolite

Alumina is considered the direct source of material in the pure aluminum production procedure. However, Cryolite is another component that is necessary to create the right environment for electrolysis. This substance is a rare natural fluoride mineral that is manufactured in artificial ways due to its scarcity. In modern industries, Cryolite is made by mixing up hydrofluoric acid with soda and aluminum hydroxide.

In part two of How is the Pure Aluminum Produced, more details are about the production procedure is introduced.