Benjamin Obdyke

What is a Rainscreen & Why Do I Need One?

In the simplest form, a rainscreen is a technique designed to control water that enters your exterior wall assembly. This technique creates a 1/4 - 3/4" space which allows any water that gets into your wall a way to escape without being drawn into the sheathing. This space, along ventilation at the top & bottom, is large enough to allow for air movement within the building envelope which accelerates the drying of moisture and water vapor that is left behind.

The traditional rainscreen application is to nail wood or plastic furring strips (strapping) directly to the sheathing and building paper or housewrap. Newer products, such as Slicker, achieve the same effect by using a vertically-channeled, three-dimensional matrix to provide a continuous space for drainage and drying as well as a thermal break and pressure minimization – eliminating the threat of trapped moisture.

When compared to a rolled product, wood strapping is generally less expensive from a material cost but is more costly to install from a labor standpoint. Other drawbacks of strapping include the creation of hot spots along stud locations and trapped moisture as a function of wood-to-wood contact, which can lead to reduced air movement and a greater potential for mold buildup. Because rolled products are applied continuously, the entire surface area of the wall is protected from water infiltration and continuous air movement is optimized. Combination or 2 in 1 systems also are faster to install because they are a unified assembly, employing the rainscreen and WRB in one step.

How Benjamin Obdyke's Slicker Rainscreen Works

See how Slicker Rainscreen creates a void allowing for drainage and ventilation.

Features & Benefits



US & Canada Code Approved

Available in .25" or .44" thickness, Slicker allows moisture to escape quickly before it damages the sidewall materials

Three-Dimensional Matrix

Provides a continuous space for drainage and drying, a thermal break,and pressure equalization

Extends the Longevity of Finishes

Reduces the chances of premature peeling or blistering of finishes by keeping the backside of the cladding free from moisture build-up

150 sq/ft roll

Allows for convenient, one-person installation

Easy to install

No special tools or design changes required

Reduces Labor Costs

Saves time and labor costs by eliminating the need for furring strips

UV Sustainability

Can be exposed for 30 days

Green Building Friendly

Contains 10% post-industrial recycled material


Slicker vs. Furring Strips

Slicker is easily rolled out and either stapled or nailed directly to the substrate.

Furring strips require identifying and marking studs, cutting and nailing.

Slicker does not trap any moisture at the fastener locations.

Furring strips can trap moisture as a function of direct contact, which can lead to reduced air movement and a greater potential for mold & rot.

Slicker vs. Drainable Housewraps

Slicker provides the maximum amount of drainage but does not offer a water-resistant barrier.

Drainable housewraps typically combine a water-resistant barrier and drainage system into a single product application.

Slicker provides superior drainage and ventilation for maximum drying potential in locations with high wind-driven rain and behind moisture-absorptive claddings.

Drainable housewraps are ideal for areas that receive lower levels of rainfall where ventilation behind the cladding isn't needed.

When & Where to Use a Rainscreen

Based on Location

The amount of moisture in your location greatly affects the type of exterior moisture management solution you choose. Slicker Rainscreen is recommended for use in geographies with high to extreme rainfall amounts as identified in the shaded areas:

Rainfall Key

Rainfall Amounts

Rainfall Amounts

Rainfall Amounts

Consider This

Depending on your location and claddings, you may not need a full rainscreen system. However, you may want to consider a drainable housewrap to provide additional drainage within your wall assembly.

Guidelines for Best Building Practices

Siding Material

System or Solution


Wood Cladding

Rainscreen System

All woods are highly susceptible to moisture penetration and absorption. They require air space protection to ensure drainage, drying and ventilation of the cladding.

Stucco or Stone Masonry

Rainscreen System or Drainable Housewrap

Stone and stucco are porous in nature and absorb water, therefore benefiting from air space protection. A drainable housewrap may suffice in certain dry climates, but not all enhanced housewraps optimize drying; over time, small cracks will appear in stucco, requiring water drainage behind cladding.

Fiber Cement

Rainscreen System or Drainable Housewrap

Fiber cement is less susceptible to moisture infiltration and absorption than wood, but can trap water like stucco.

Vinyl Siding


Vinyl is non-absorbent, does not trap water like other claddings and has a low potential for rot. A premium housewrap is recommended to optimize long-term performance.


"Knuckle" Space and Mortar Deflection Product

The standard practice of brick construction creates sufficient moisture protection and air movement providing a 1" or 2" air space; however, clear drainage at weep areas must be maintained.


Slicker Installation

This video details how to install Slicker Rainscreen.

Custom Home - Lewes Beach, DE

Paul Camenisch explains why he chose Slicker as his rainscreen system.

Technical Specs & Information



Test Standard

Slicker Performance




ASTM C167-98

0.25 in

6.35 mm


ASTM C167-98

2.24 lbs/cubic foot

35.63 Kg/cubic meter

Displacement at 10% Strain

ASTM C165‐00

0.025 in

.64 mm

Load at 10% Strain

ASTM C165‐00

178 lbs

792 N

Stress at 10% Strain

ASTM C165‐00

697 lbs/sqf

33.358 kPa

Original Strength

ASTM D6364

27.3 kPa

Compression Strength

ASTM D6364

Value at Yield Point: 27.3 kPa

Compression Strength

ASTM D6364

Value at 10% Strain: 20.1 kPa

Compressive Strength of Weathered Samples

ASTM D6364

0.5% increase over control sample

Tear Strength Length Direction

ASTM D4533

15 lbs

66.72 N

Tear Strength Width Direction

ASTM D4533

18 lbs

80.07 N

Tensile Strength Length Direction

ASTM D4632

26 lbs

115.65 N

Tensile Strength Width Direction

ASTM D4632

32 lbs

142.34 N

Cold Crack Resistance

Fed Std. 191A

Method 5874

20° F

No Cracking Observed

‐ 6.7° C

No Cracking Observed


CGSB 51.33


Value at Yield Point: 27.0 kPa


CGSB 51.33


Retention of Original: 99.1%


CGSB 51.33


Value at 10% Strain: 19.9 kPa


CGSB 51.33


Retention of Original at 10% Strain: 98.9%

Flame Spread Index



Smoke Development



Heat Resistance R-Value

0.12 m2*K/W

0.68 °F*ft2*hr/BTU

Heat Exposure

ASTM D3045 for 90 days

Value at Yield Point: 29.2 kPa

Heat Exposure

ASTM D3045 for 90 days

Retention of Original: 107.0%

Heat Exposure

ASTM D3045 for 90 days

Value at 10% Strain: 21.8 kPa

Heat Exposure

ASTM D3045 for 90 days

Retention of Original at 10% Strain: 108.5%


ASTM D4716

16.73 gallons per minute per foot

207.83 liters per minute per meter


ASTM E2273


Water Exposure

ASTM D5322

Value at Yield Point: 26.9 kPa

Water Exposure

ASTM D5322

Retention of Original: 98.7%

Water Exposure

ASTM D5322

Value at 10% Strain: 19.32 kPa

Water Exposure

ASTM D5322

Retention of Original at 10% Strain: 96%

Per Square Foot of Cladding

0.017 cubic feet per minute

(under 1 Pascal pressure difference over height of cavity)

Per 2400 Square Feet of Cladding

40.8 cubic feet per minute

(under 1 Pascal pressure difference over height of cavity)

Average Negative Failure Load

282.6 psf

13.53 kPa

Failure Mode: Studs cracked. OSB failed. Slicker and siding intact

Average Positive Failure Load

181.7 psf

8.70 kPa

Failure Mode: Studs cracked

Tear Strength of Weathered Samples

16% decrease over control sample



Value at Yield Point: 28.2 kPa

For the Homeowner

Why moisture management is important

More and more often builders, contractors and architects face the need to incorporate better moisture management solutions into their designs and building structures to ward off problems such as mold, mildew or structural damage due to insufficient drainage & ventilation within the building envelope.

Causes of Moisture Infiltration

The pressure outside your house is greater than the pressure within. Combined with wind exposure and cladding type, water has the potential to be driven into your wall.

How moisture can get in

Consider just how many holes are driven into your wall. This example shows the potential for hundreds, even thousands, of penetrations for moisture to enter. A good moisture management solution is required to prevent water from damaging your wall.