What are SIPs?
Q: 02. How much faster can I build with SIPs?
Q: 03. How much labor can I save with SIPs?
Q: 04. How much money can I save with SIPs?
Q: 05. How green are SIPs?
Q: 06. How strong are SIPs?
Q: 08. How do I properly size HVAC equipment?
Q: 09. How important is ventilation?
Q: 10. How do SIPs improve indoor air quality?
Q: 11. How do SIPs react to Fire?
Q: 12. Are SIPs compatible with other building systems?
Q: 13. What considerations do you need to take into account when building with SIPs vs. conventional framing?
Q: 14. Can SIPs be modified on site?
Q: 15. How are electrical wiring and fixtures installed?
Q: 16. Are SIPs susceptible to insects?
Q: 17. Can SIPs be replaced or repaired if damaged?
Q: 18. What about roofing? Does a building with a SIP roof need to be ventilated?
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 cut by up to 50 percent. The energy that powers homes and commercial buildings is responsible for a large part of greenhouse gasses emitted into the atmosphere. By reducing the amount of energy used in buildings, architects, builders, and homeowners can giveto a clean environment for the future. Resource use
The insulation used in SIPs is a lightweight rigid foam plastic composed of 98% air, and requires only a small amount of petroleum to produce. The foam insulation used in panel cores made using a non-CFC blowing agent that does not threaten the earth’s ozone layer. Waste minimization
Since SIPs in the factory, there is less job site waste that needs landfill. Factory fabrication is often done using optimization software and many manufacturers recycle factory scrap to make other foam products.
What considerations do you need to take into account when buidling with SIPs vs. conventional framing? A: construction with SIPs is very similar to conventional framing. SIPs accept dimensional lumber and fastened together using staples, nails or screws. Proper is especially crucial in a SIP structure. All joints need sealed with specially designed SIP sealing mastic or low expanding foam sealant, and/or SIP tape. Voids between panels and unused electrical chases need filled with low expanding foam. In addition to sealing, planning and consideration needs to be applied to material handling. Although smaller by 4-ft. panels set by hand, larger by 24-ft. panels the use of equipment to unload and set. Can SIPs be modified on site? A: On-site change can easily be done using a few SIP specific tools. Panels cut using a beam saw or a beam cutting attachment to a circular saw. The foam core can then be recessed for or dimensional lumber using a hot wire foam scoop or specialized angle grinder attachment to recess the core. How are electrical wiring and fixtures installed? A: Electrical wires through pre-cut channels inside the core of the panels called “chases.” Manufacturers cut 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.
Are SIPs susceptible to insects? A: Although termites do not feed on the foam panel cores, there have been instances where panel cores are hollowed out by these insects and used as a nesting ground. Many manufacturers offer SIPs with borate treated foam to provide termite resistance. Termites may also be deterred through the use of a specifically designed steel mesh. Both these treatments are highly effective, but they are not a substitute for careful termite prevention and maintenance, as with any other wood structure. Can SIPs be replaced or repaired if damaged? A: If panels are damaged, a structural engineer needs to assess the damage to decide what is cosmetic and what is structural. If the damage is only cosmetic then the source of moisture determined and fixed, whether it is from inside or outside. If the damage is structural, then the source of the problem identified and a structural solution to the problem must be found. That done by either a site modification of the panels or replacement of the panels, depending on the extent of the damage. In the event that panels are damaged, the manufacturer and installer of the panels should be notified. There are SIPA members who can act as a consultant to assess the damage and recommend repair or replacement strategies. What about roofing? Does a building with a SIP roof need to be ventilated? A: The area inside a SIP building envelope considered conditioned space and ventilated by the building’s HVAC system. There is no need to offer a vented attic beneath a SIP roof, and doing so would compromise the conditioned space of the building. Most roofing manufacturers specify how to attach their product to SIPs. Please contact the roofing manufacturer for application instructions.