Structural Insulated Panels

What Are Structural Insulated Panels (SIPs)?

Structural Insulated PanelsStructural insulated panels (SIPs) are high performance building panels used in floors, walls, and roofs for residential and light commercial buildings. The panels are typically made by sandwiching a core of rigid foam plastic insulation between two structural skins of oriented strand board (OSB). Other skin material can be used for specific purposes. SIPs are manufactured under factory controlled conditions and can be custom designed for each home. The result is a building system that is extremely strong, energy efficient and cost effective. Building with SIPs will save you time, money and labor.


How Much Faster Can I Build With SIPs?

SIP homes go up faster than traditionally framed buildings. A properly trained SIP installation crew can save a significant amount of time in a build cycle. Panels can be manufactured as big as 8 by 24 ft., so entire walls can be put up quickly, reducing dry-in time. SIPs can be supplied as ready to install building components when they arrive at the jobsite, eliminating the time needed to perform individual jobsite operations of framing, insulating and sheathing stick-framed walls. Window openings may be precut in the panels, and depending on the size, a separate header may not need to be installed. Electrical chases are typically provided in the core of panels, so there is no need to drill through studs for wiring.


How Much Money Can I Save With SIPs?

Builders can save money through decreased construction and labor costs. The superior whole wall R-values and building tightness capable with SIPs allow HVAC equipment to be downsized and ductwork to be minimized. Builders can also significantly reduce jobsite waste disposal and temporary heat during construction. Homeowners that incorporate other energy efficient features with SIP construction can benefit from the energy efficiency of a SIP home with reductions in heating and cooling costs of 50 percent or more possible and may, qualify for Energy Efficient Mortgages, and enjoy higher appraised value.


How Green Are SIPs?

Structural insulated panels are one of the most environmentally responsible building systems available. A SIP building envelope provides high levels of insulation and is extremely airtight, meaning the amount of energy used to heat and cool a home can be cut by up to 50 percent. The energy that powers homes and commercial buildings is responsible for a large portion of greenhouse gasses emitted into the atmosphere. By reducing the amount of energy used in buildings, architects, builders, and homeowners can contribute to a clean environment for the future.


How Strong Are SIPs?

The structural characteristics of SIPs are similar to that of a steel I-Beam. The OSB skins act as the flange of the I-beam, while the rigid foam core provides the web. This design gives SIPs an advantage at handling in plane compressive loads. SIPs can be engineered for most applications.


Are SIPs Compatible With Other Building Systems?

SIPs are compatible with other building systems. Wall panels can sit on a variety of foundation materials, including poured concrete, blocks, or insulated concrete forms. SIPs are sized to accept dimensional lumber and are seamlessly compatible with stick framing. Builders may choose to build with SIP walls and a conventional truss roof, or stick walls and a SIP roof with little difficulty. SIPs are also popular as a method of providing a well-insulated building envelope for timber frame structures.


How Are Electrical Wiring And Fixtures Installed?

Electrical wires are pulled through precut channels inside the core of the panels called “chases”. We cut the chases during the manufacturing process according to the electrical design of the home. Electricians can then use fish tape to feed wires through panel chases without compressing the insulation or having to drill through studs. Wiring can also be run through baseboard raceways and in the cavity behind the beveled spacer on SIP roof-to-wall connections.