Siding and Rainscreen Details

I thought I would take a few moments to share a few of the details for the siding installation, as most of the fiber cement has now been installed.  We were stepping slightly outside the normal bounds of siding installation (especially for the builder) and I wanted to share how we are achieving the results.  We wanted a simple pallet of materials that still allowed for an interesting end result.

The primary exterior cladding for the home is fiber cement.  However, we did not simply want to install fiber cement lap siding in a traditional fashion.  We wanted a vertically oriented pattern, to contrast with the horizontal nature of other features of the home (overhang, cedar rainscreen, etc) but did not want to simply do this through the addition of a batten on top of 4×8 fiber cement sheets.  As a result, we decided to reorient lap siding vertically.  We took 12″ lap siding and ran it vertically.

Further, we know the value of a rainscreen system for cladding a home and wanted to incorporate this design element into the house.  The basic concept of a rainscreen is to allow for an airspace behind the cladding material, allowing the cladding to breathe.  If water penetrates the outer cladding layer (which it almost always does at some point), the air space behind the cladding allows for the water to exit the system and to also dry out faster because of the movement of air within this cavity.


We have achieved the air space behind the fiber cement lap siding by running fiber cement furring strips vertically at every joint, spaced 12″ apart.  We then chose to leave a 1/4″ reveal between each of the 12″ vertically oriented lap siding pieces to express the joint and to create a subtle shadow line.  We noted the use of caulk at the joint between the lap siding and the furring strip to ease the worries of the contractor, though we believe this is overkill as the system is designed to breathe and dry out.  You can essentially think of the design as a reverse board and batten system, with the batten beneath the seam instead of on top of the seam.

Fiber Cement Parapet Detail

Fiber Cement Horizontal Joint

I have to say, it has been quite a challenge convincing the builder of the feasibility of the design and also the merits of it.  In the end, though, I hope he understands the value of the system, both aesthetically and also fucntionally speaking.

*Will post some pictures of the actual installation soon.


8 thoughts on “Siding and Rainscreen Details

  1. This post is a very nice find for me…I was specifically searching for examples of fiber cement panels used in a rainscreen assembly in order to make sure I understood all the relevant issues before incorporating the idea into an upcoming residential design. I’m curious about one item, however: in an earlier introductory post in this blog on the rainscreen concept,

    you note that the you were planning to use “Furring Master” brand metal furring strips to achieve the air space between the panels and your water-barrier. However, in this post you have fiber-cement trim pieces performing the furring function. Would you mind sharing the rationale for the change?

    Thanks in advance for your time.

    • Lewis, glad you came across the blog. In response to your question, the desire to switch from the furring master to the fiber cement trim was born out two different reasons. One, we received some kick back from the builder on the furring master, citing its cost as being too expensive. It turns out, I don’t see the fiber cement to be too much cheaper. The other reason was for consistency of material at the exposed reveal. This way, when the siding is painted, we will have a consistency between the furring strips and the siding itself.

      I have not yet had the opportunity to use the furring master product but have heard very good things about it and still plan on using it for future applications. I feel, however, that the furring master will be better suited to applications where the furring strip is not exposed. I hope this helps!

  2. Thanks for explaining, Brian. The exposed furring/panel consistency seems like quite a significant issue, and I’ll make a note of it. Best of luck with the remainder of your project!

  3. Hello I am the inventor of the Furringmaster rainscreen system
    I read the post and this is why I came out with a new Aluminum FurringMaster that is embossed and comes in many colors. It also can be painted since it is aluminum
    Google Furringmaster 2 and check out the website. It is much more affordable now too
    Call 402-686-4257 with any questions

    • Kathleen, so far no issues with any insects living behind the rainscreen. The fiber cement has a cor-a-vent at the base of the wall assembly to still allow airflow but to prevent insects for getting in the cavity.

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