RainShadow... The Natural Rainscreen
Frequently Asked Questions
With something as unique as Richlite, you're bound to have questions. Answers to questions relating to performance, design, environmental and technical aspects of Richlite's paper composite surfaces are found below. If you can't find the answer here, Find Richlite for further information.
What are the advantages of using a rainscreen system on the exterior of a building?
Rainscreen is a form of sheathing buildings that creates a multi-layered skin that allows the building to breathe and ventilate appropriately where needed while giving the structure the ability to be insulated more thoroughly for higher R value. Used extensively in Canada and Europe, the rainscreen system, with its many advantages is now becoming available in the United States.
Can I use Richlite RainShadow™ as a rainscreen?
Richlite has been used as a rainscreen material in exterior applications in numerous residential and commercial projects. Manufactured in a similar fashion to our architectural panels, which have been used in exterior furniture and installations throughout the United States, RainShadow™ will provide a high performance product that ages gracefully over the years.
How durable is Richlite?
Richlite is extremely durable. Remember, it’s been used for industrial and marine purposes and as a skatepark surface for years.
Since Richlite is made out of paper will it darken over time?
The composition of Richlite Surface is cellulose fiber and resin, much like Mother Nature's trees (but with extra resin in our product to make it more durable). And similar to certain characteristics of wood, Richlite Surface material does noticeably darken with age due to ultra-violet exposure and oxidation, much like Fir or Cherry cabinet material.
How scratch resistant is Richlite?
It's significantly harder than wood but, like most materials, can, under force, be scratched or gouged. Because Richlite is a solid color all the way through, when scratches do occur, there will be no difference in color – unlike many surfaces where the scratch appears as a different color than the material. Most cuts, scratches and nicks can be repaired with a light refinishing.
What types of systems can be used as suspension systems behind Richlite RainShadow™?
There are numerous suspension systems that are typically used to install RainShadow™ panels - adjustable galvanized systems, aluminum extrusion systems, and appropriate furring systems.
What is the recommended fastener?
Stainless Steel exterior grade rainscreen fasteners. Color matched screws are acceptable.
Can RainShadow™ be applied with no visible fasteners?
Richlite RainShadow™ is currently designed to be used with face-fastened systems.
Can I use Richlite RainShadow™ as a cladding directly on a wall?
RainShadow™ requires a pressure equalized system with air on both sides of the panel to remain balanced and perform at its highest level. It is not recommended to use Richlite in a traditional construction application as sheathing.
What is Richlite made out of?
Richlite specializes in the manufacture of natural fiber composites. Richlite is primarily paper treated with phenolic resin and baked to create a solid sheet. During the production cycle the layers of paper are gradually crossed-linked with each other to create solid, durable sheets. Once the curing process is complete, the structure of the product is permanent and cannot be altered. The final product is exceptionally strong and still maintains a warm and natural look. For more information see Richlite’s technical composition.
Where does Richlite paper come from?
Richlite paper comes from pulp that is derived from trees, which is produced from paper purchased from FSC® Certified sources and/or recycled paper.
What type of paper is used?
We use a specially-formulated custom paper specified for color and strength capabilities.
Is it considered a “green” product?
Yes. Richlite is classified green in large part because the predominate raw material is derived from renewable or recycled resources. Managed and sustainable forests, habitat conservation efforts, and prudent manufacturing practices are just some of the environmental mandates that go into our product.
We use the most environmentally benign production methods and materials available. During the saturation and drying process, over 99% of the volatile organic compounds are incinerated. The heat from that incineration is used for the drying process to minimize thermal pollution. There is no hazardous waste generated in our process. Visit WE Tech™ for further information on our innovative manufacturing system.
What is LEED®?
Developed by USGBC, Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) is a rating system designed for evaluating a building's environmental performance. The LEED system has been widely adopted for rating new and existing commercial, institutional, and high-rise residential buildings.
Can Richlite be specified for LEED projects?
Richlite products can contribute to LEED building certification guidelines for third-party certified rapidly renewable, certified wood, regional, and low-emitting materials.
Do I need to be a certified fabricator or use one to install RainShadow™?
Since we do not warranty nor recommend a specific suspension system we do not have a certified fabricator program; however, we do recommend using experienced fabrication and installation companies. Please contact your distributor for more information about fabrication and installation sources.
What is the recommended airspace between the Rainshadow™ panels and the sheething/weather barrier?
Due to numerous building material options (sheathing / vapor barrier / suspension system / fasteners / etc.) and regional variations in moisture/humidity/etc you need to consult a rainscreen specialist to determine appropriate airspace.
What is the recommended space (gap, reveal, exposed joint) between panels?
The standard 3/8” minimum reveal is acceptable.
What is the maximum span between fastners?
Maximum span under any condition is 24” O.C.. This is a number that is highly variable and not necessarily recommended by Richlite. Please consult an engineer for your specific application.
What type of fire rating does it have?
Richlite's product fire-test evaluation demonstrated a flame spread index of 25 and smoke developed index of 40. Download Richlite's UL 723 (ASTM E84) Class A Fire Rating
What is the specific gravity of Richlite?
The specific gravity is 1.213, which means that Richlite is 21% heavier than water by volume.
How dense is the material?
The density of Richlite is 75.84 pounds per cubic foot or .0439 pounds per cubic inch. View Richlite Properties.
Is Richlite inert?
Yes. It’s completely safe. In tech-speak Richlite is inert due to the complete crosslinking of reactants or free radicals. In fact, the most common use of Richlite product has been for National Sanitation Foundation-approved cutting boards in restaurants.
What are the VOC emission levels?
Particulate emissions at our manufacturing facility are subject to control devices that operate at 99% efficiency. Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) emissions are virtually eliminated through state-of-the-art equipment that maintains a very high destruction of particulate matter. There is no hazardous waste generated in our process.
Best Available Control Technology (BACT) is the standard to which Richlite manufactures all of its products. VOC concentration levels from our manufacturing process are held within acceptable limits set forth by Washington State regulated emission standards. In fact, BACT standards for VOC control has an established minimum destruction efficiency of 95%; while Richlite manufacturing emissions are controlled at a higher destruction efficiency of up to 99.9%.
What is the technical composition of Richlite?
Richlite paper composite surfaces are comprised of cellulose fiber and phenolic resin. Cellulose, a polymer material fundamental to all natural plants, is derived through pulping, the initial ingredient stage in the manufacturing process of paper. Richlite incorporates wood-sourced cellulose fiber derived from paper purchased from FSC® Certified sources and/or recycled paper. View a detailed break down of Richlite's Composition.
Phenolic resin is a thermosetting bonding compound produced by polymerizing C6H5OH and HCHO. During a controlled thermosetting process, the molecules in the resin crosslink with one another to form an inert, solid and highly stable material composite.
What is Phenol?
Phenol (C6H5OH) is a popular compound from which many everyday items are derived (e.g., modern antiseptics, household cleaning agents, and aromatic perfumes).
Is it possible for phenolic resin to be derived from recycled materials?
Recently conducted studies promise that phenolic resin will soon be derived from recovered liquid hydrocarbons through industrial recycling of carbon fiber composites. Due to very popular and widespread applications of carbon fiber composite, it is inevitable that high-volumes of its recycled material will soon be present in our marketplace. Completion of the carbon fiber recycle loop will be a significant and desirable step toward greater environmental awareness. And, as a direct result, phenolic resin will become more proactive as an environmental material.