SIP stands for Structural Insulated Panel. An Insulspan® SIP consists of a core of molded expanded polystyrene (EPS) insulation or graphite-enhanced polystyrene (GPS) insulation with engineered oriented strand board (OSB) laminated to the top and bottom faces. When comparing Structural Panels there are three elements to consider:
Quality - Have you ever looked down a stud wall and noticed how it bends, bulges, twists and cups due to the increasingly poor quality of lumber? This does not happen with a SIPs wall. Our walls are straight, plumb and square. The continuous wood surface also offers a sound nail-base for all exterior and interior finishes.
Comfort - Without hesitation, your SIPs home will be one of the most comfortable, quiet and clean structures you will ever own. Unlike a stick-frame home, in which thermal performance is an afterthought, insulation is an integral part of a SIPs Home. Air and moisture infiltration is greatly reduced because the exterior envelope is tighter.
Peace of Mind - People who consider building their dream home do so because they want it to be uniquely theirs and to be perfect for a lifetime. Too often, frightened by the horror stories that their friends have told them, they choose to buy a "spec" house instead.
In a SIP's home the framer "installs" the panel sections rather than "builds" them. This saves time and ensures that the walls are straight and plum.
SIPs can positively impact many stages of the building process and help you stay on schedule. A few examples:
For more information, view our SIPs vs. Stick Frame Page.
Building with SIPs generally costs about the same as building with wood frame construction, when you factor in the labor savings resulting from shorter construction time and less job-site waste.
Other savings are realized because less expensive heating and cooling systems are required with SIP construction.
The cost to build a SIPs house depends entirely on its design. Generally the installed cost of SIPs is comparable to stick framed construction. But when you look at the benefits of labor savings, and less waste, SIPs offer short-term construction savings as well as long-term benefits for the homeowner in energy savings.
The following is an independent study demonstrating these energy savings: Mark Whitaker, an independent energy consultant in Mesquite, Texas, compares SIPs vs. stick frame building envelopes and projects the utility cost one can expect to pay based on the type of HVAC system, local utility rates and heating and cooling days. Here is an analysis comparing the operating costs of a 1,522-square-foot Dallas home using two different construction envelopes.
|SIP Energy Efficient Home
||Conventionally Constructed Home
||Home Owners Pocketed Savings
|Estimated Operating Costs @ 4% Annual Cost Increase|| 5 years
Yes. Structural Insulated Panels have been tested extensively by nationally recognized organizations such as the International Code Council Evaluation Service. SIPs comply with the fire and structural regulations of the International Building and Residential Codes.
Virtually all styles of houses can be built using structural insulated panels. SIP structures are built in all kinds of environments. Alaska, California, Colorado, Hawaii. Any environment, hot, cold or wet is ideal for our SIPs.
R-Value is a measure of a material's resistance to heat flow. The higher the number the better the material is at insulating. According to the Dept. of? Energy, thermal breaks such as corners, windows, doors, and stud walls dramatically reduce the stated R-Value of virtually every product on the market except SIPs. As an example, a 2x6-stud wall with R-19 fiberglass batts has an R-Value of 13.7. A six-inch SIP wall has an R-Value of 22.6. Simply put, a 6" SIP wall out performs a 6" stud wall by 58%.
SIPs are extremely strong. Studies have shown that SIPs are at minimum 20% stronger than dimensional lumber.
Strength in building materials and systems is judged by the materials' ability to withstand the forces of nature. Data to determine strength properties is gathered by destructive testing, and specific tests are utilized to evaluate a SIPs' performance in high winds, earthquakes and snow load conditions The testing program on structural panel systems is the most extensive in the industry. SIPs are exceptionally strong in racking diaphragm shear capacities, which are the primary structural properties that engineers are concerned with when designing for seismic and hurricane events. Not only do test results show SIPs are stronger, but natural disasters have proven it time and again.
SIP structures are very efficient, and a very sustainable building method.
Expanded polystyrene (EPS), the foam insulation inside our SIPS, has no food value and will not support the growth of insects, parasites, or animal, and plant life.
The best practices for keeping pests out of your home, no matter what it is made of, is to follow basic building codes.
Typically, plumbing does not go in an exterior wall since it might freeze. Your interior walls will be standard stud walls, so you don’t need to worry about SIPs and plumbing. Insulspan places wire chases inside the panels at 14″and 44″above the floor and 6″from door openings on both sides for electrical outlets and light switches. Your electrician can place boxes anywhere along the wall. You can also specify custom chases, which we will pre-cut in the SIPs during manufacturing.
The panelized portion of a structure goes up much faster than standard stick frame construction, and our panels will be stronger, straighter and greener than stick frame methods.
To further ensure speedy installation, all the SIPs arrive to the jobsite pre-numbered to coordinate with shop drawings, SIPs can arrive CNC precut to size with door and windows openings, gabel ends with edges pre-routed to accept lumber or with lumber already installed with Insulspans' RTA package.
The simple fact that SIPs are pre-insulated with wirechases, and lumber pre-installed saves your framers from intensive costly framing, electricians from drilling studs to fish the electrical not to mention it also saves the insulation step in the construction process, which are bid cost savers in comparing trade labor to a stick framed house.
Stronger houses. Straighter, more predictable roofs, walls and floors. Greener structures.
Consumers are demanding better quality building products, healthier indoor environments and they also have a higher level of environmental responsibility than in previous decades. Builders and architects are designing to meet these needs. And SIPs fit the need perfectly.
Builders are finding once they start with SIPs they have a hard time going back to stick frame construction. SIPs save builders time and money with faster installation, while creating a stronger, more efficient home.
Across the country, SIPs are a part of luxury homes, industrial warehouses, tract developments, multifamily units, churches, wineries, health care facilities and retail shops. If someone can dream it up, SIPs can help build it.
It depends on the thickness of the panel and whether you select a core of EPS insulation or GPS insulation.
View our R-value chart, and read about how R-Values compare – initially, during construction and through the life of the building. Explore R-values here.