Climatologists have acknowledged that Virginia has one of the most diverse climates in the nation, so homes in different regions have vastly different needs. If you live in the wetter areas, there’s been a resurgent interest in rain screens, protective layers some use in Virginia home improvement projects.

Rain is an inevitable but natural element homeowners will always contend with. It weathers paint, fosters mold, and can rot away the structural planks of a house. Rain screens combat all that. They might conjure up the idea of an obtrusive plastic bubble covering a house, but they’re actually a part of the siding you’ll never see. All homes have a structural sheeting: usually plywood, if you’ve watched a home being build from the ground up. The concept of rain screens works by creating a space between that sheeting and the siding, whether it’s brick, stone, plastic, or more wood. The actual screens keep the structural sheeting from rotting, and the space they create lets any penetrating moisture slide down, away from the home. They not only improve a house’s longevity, but they fight against mold—a serious benefit for people with allergies.

The difficulty of adding rain screens to your Virginia home improvement project, however, is cost. If added during the initial building, it’s a negligible expense, but people who want to incorporate them into an existing home will have to pay to strip off all their existing siding. That’s a huge endeavor that not many people can afford. If it means preserving an ancestral home, though, or combating intolerable mold, a few people may find it’s worth the effort.