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What is a Rain Screen?

Blog by The O'Brien Group | March 29th, 2017


What is a Rain Screen and why do I need to be aware?


In the 1980's and 1990's, there was a new style of building implemented by builders.  A very California typical look with Stucco Exteriors primarily on Condominiums, but also used in single family home construction.  This stucco is known as EIFS, which is Exterior Insulation Finishing System. EIFS are a type of building product that provides exterior walls with a finished surface, insulation and waterproofing in an integrated composite system. While somewhat attractive in design for the times, this EIFS stucco does not fare well in a consistently wet climate like Vancouver.


The problem is, that water seeps in through this plastic style stucco and can't escape (dry out).  Hence the 'LEAKY CONDO ERA" Water stayed behind the stucco envelope and rotted out the wood beneath.


Chaos ensued with builders and warranty companies going out of business and home owners left with HEFTY bills to repair “RAIN SCREEN” their condo buildings.

The concept of rain screen is to create a 'cavity' between the exterior walls and the frame so that as moisture ingresses it can evaporate.


It would not be my advice to buy in a building with an EIFS of Stucco exterior that has not had the rain screening process done. The good news is that new building codes requiring all buildings to be rain screened started in 2000! However, be wary of buildings built around 2000 though as some developers already had their building permit from 1999.

Have any questions or concerns about a Rain Screen? Or would just like to have a chat?
Give us a Call at 604-828-1006