How much does rainscreen cladding cost?

How long is a piece of string? There are many variables that determine the cost of a rainscreen cladding system.

In a nutshell:

  • Materials, finishes, fixings, panel size and installation challenges all affect the cost of a rainscreen cladding system
  • It’s important to factor in costs for the sub-frame, insulation, breather membrane and trim
  • Fire breaks are a legal requirement for most rainscreen cladding systems and will increase the cost
  • For accurate budgeting, it’s important to engage with a cladding specialist as early in the design process as possible

The best we can do here is provide an indication. These days, most rainscreen cladding systems are bespoke – designed to make a new or refurbished building stand out from the crowd.

For the most accurate costs and answers to the key questions, it’s important to engage with a cladding specialist as early in the design process as possible. In the meantime, here are some pointers.

External appearance

Materials, finishes, fixings, panel size, installation challenges... they all play a part. If you’re looking at a bespoke system of anodised aluminium panels in non-standard sheet sizes, with hidden fixings and complex installation, you’ll be looking at the very top end – more than £400 per square metre. However, a basic timber tongue-and-groove system could be as little as £80 per square metre.


Does the framework need to accommodate a 50mm cavity or a 350mm one for the thickest insulation? The answer could be as simple as timber batons – or a cutting-edge system of stainless steel brackets, aluminium rails and secret fixings. Panel sizes will affect the subframe spec, as will project location and potential wind loads. Bank on anything from £60 to £175 per square metre.

Thermal insulation

Some projects may include insulation within the backing wall spec (and the rainscreen cladding may have no thermal requirements at all). Others will require the rainscreen cladding system to do the job. And, of course, different projects will require different levels of thermal performance. Allow £0-£70 per square metre.

Breather membrane

We recommend that a breather membrane is placed between the cladding and the back wall, although depending on the specification it may not be required. Fully installed costs are up to £30 per square metre.

Trims and flashings

Rainscreen systems require closure trims for window and door openings, as well as trims and flashings for edges, corners and interfaces with other materials. Costs will depend on material, finish and thickness – and will be more expensive for a façade with a lot of feature details or openings. Allow £45-£95 per linear metre.

Fire breaks

The cavity behind the external panel needs to be compartmentalised to prevent the spread of fire. Fire breaks are typically installed at floor slab levels, party walls and around window openings. Vertical breaks are usually solid, while horizontal breaks are ventilated to allow normal airflow. Intumescent materials which swell in extreme heat are also used to fill the void in the event of fire. Costs range from £40-£80 per linear metre for vertical breaks to £60-£125 per linear metre for horizontal breaks.


There’s only one true conclusion to take from all of this. It’s complicated. There are so many variables – and that’s before thinking about design, drawings, project management, site prep, access and logistics.

As we said at the beginning, the best idea is to speak to a rainscreen specialist as soon as you have some details of your requirements. They’ll help you design the project around your budget.

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