Panel product portfolio

Jeff Upton, northern area sales manager at Proteus Facades, looks at why incorporating rainscreen cladding systems as part of your product portfolio can stack up for installers.

The enduring appeal of cladding panels is due to increased choice of materials and finishes, hanging systems that make installation easier, and advances in bespoke manufacturing capabilities that result in shorter schedules on site.

Rainscreen cladding works particularly well when fitted alongside glazing. When combined with perforated, coloured, ceramic or any of the other multitude of finishes ,it can set off the glazing to great effect.

Another factor worth bearing in mind is that installation of a rainscreen and glass facade systems requires the same work practices as they use very similar components. They also work to the same types of tolerances. As a result, and considering building designers’ growing preference for the aesthetic combination of glass and rainscreen panels, it can make business sense for glazing installers to add it to their portfolio.

The simple fact is that if your installers are on site and fitting the glazing, the main contractor is usually open to the idea of a joined-up approach between the different facade elements. In fact, installers often find fitting rainscreen relatively straight forward, especially as we offer technical back up, free training, and manufacture panels that we know are going to fit on site.

Rainscreen cladding panels are usually supported by an aluminium carrier system and ancillary components that can be installed on to any type of wall construction. The panels are fitted to vertical mullions that are anchored to the backing wall with adjustable support brackets, which allow for any variations in the masonry wall or other types of host structure.

The mullions consist of extruded aluminium sections incorporating channels that provide adjustable fixing locations for panels and support brackets.

The panel’s peripheral extrusion is manufactured to provide a fixing location for the support brackets to make positioning easier. The majority of our cladding systems then use baffle joints to create drainage and ventilation openings. The standard jointing arrangement provides a 15mm wide vertical and horizontal recessed joint. The baffle strip is inserted into the joint after fixing the panels, concealing all fixings in the process

This combination allows air to circulate and dry the cavity between the inner and outer seals. The structural frame of the building is kept absolutely dry, as water never reaches it or the thermal insulation because it is unable to pass across the rear ventilated cavity. Evaporation and drainage in the rear ventilated cavity removes any water that penetrates between panel joints.

Our rainscreen facade panels are manufactured using a honeycomb core, which means they are relatively lightweight and easier to handle on site. It would certainly be the case that if an installer is used to handling large glazed panels, then a cladding panel shouldn’t present any real problem.

From an installer’s point of view, being able to offer rainscreen cladding alongside windows, doors and curtain walling can give them a real commercial advantage. However, there are a number of factors to look out for when partnering with a facade manufacturer. Making sure that they have a successful track record in supplying other projects is an essential starting point.

In terms of helping you sell the concept of being a joined-up facade provider, they should offer a wide choice of materials and finishes – it’s what building designers have come to expect. Working with a facade manufacturer that understands all these requirements, and is able to help you present a range of options, will be a definite advantage.