Are SIPs Panels For You?
Structural insulated panels (commonly referred to as SIPs) have been around for a while, but they have recently attracted significant attention as they are incredibly energy efficient (R-24 for walls & R-39 or R-49 for structural insulated roof panels are popular choices) and structural building panels are incredibly strong!
Structural insulated panel homes, using panels made by an established manufacturer such as AFM R-Control, have been proven to meet or exceed all structural and code regulations.
Many people are discovering the advantages of using insulated structural panels, and they are building SIP homes for their families and for recreational or retirement homes.
So what are structural insulated panels? Structural panels consist of rigid insulating foam, typically 3 ½” to 11 ¼” thick, sandwiched between 2 layers of 7/16” OSB (oriented strand board).
Why Structural Insulated Panels Make Sense
There are a number of reasons that many people are now using structural insulated panels in their new homes:
- Energy Savings – This is probably the most common reason that new homes are built with structural insulated panels. SIPs panels provide outstanding energy efficiency. When installed properly, they also provide you with an airtight home. In fact, your new home will be up to 15 times more airtight than a conventional stick built home. And, when you combine structural insulated panels with other energy saving features, you can get up to 50% energy savings. That’s every month, for the rest of the life of your home!
- Green Building – More and more people are realizing the benefits of building a green house. Not only do you help to save the environment, but you also have a healthier home for your family. Using R-Control SIPs, you eliminate off-gassing of noxious chemicals which can make your family sick. Yet your home is still protected with borax for insect infestation and safe fire retardants.
- Time and Labor Saving – Since structural insulated panels go up fast, your home will be completed in a shorter time. This saves on labor, and you will also be able to move into your new home sooner. In addition, if you have a construction loan, it will also reduce your costs for that, as well.
- Job Site Waste is Reduced – Structural insulated panels are made, using every piece possible. This eliminates excess waste and helps reduce land fill issues.
- Floor Plan is Adjustable – Ever change your mind about something? I do. And I love the fact that, with structural insulated panels, you can move walls around within your floor plan–and you don’t have to go back to the architect because you are moving structural walls. The structural insulated panels ARE the structure. So you can adjust the inside walls of your house, to get exactly the floor plan that you want! Make your kitchen a tad larger or remove the dining room wall. It’s OK!
- Strong Safe House – SIPs panels give you a stronger house. One that will withstand impact from flying objects and heavy winds. R-Control structural insulated panels are tested for strength, impact and wind resistance. They are tested for vertical and horizontal stress loads and can withstand up to 7000 pounds per square foot.
SIPs are frequently used in the construction of timber frame homes and post and beam homes as the skin of the house. SIPs have both insulating and load-bearing qualities, and can be used by themselves to create a very energy efficient, green and strong home.
In addition, the EPS foam sandwiched between the OSB in R-Control products (used by Crockett Log and Timber Frame), is treated with Perform Guard, a borax product that gives protection against termites.
Crockett’s R-Control SIPs panels are also treated with FrameGuard, which makes them resistant to mold and mildew. Thus you avoid the mold problems common to many stick built homes.
Just like log home building and timber frame construction, building a structural insulated panel home is a specialty kind of building. And if you have a trained builder who understands the techniques, your new SIPs panels home will be tight and cozy!
It really doesn’t matter where you build your structural insulated panel home, as you will have a more comfortable home and energy savings—whether in the South or the North! Your energy savings will be considerable.
A structural insulated panel design can include a cathedral ceiling. And, with roof structural insulated panels, you will not have heat loss through the roof! That’s always been a problem for stick built homes with beautiful cathedral ceilings.
A SIPs panel home like the timber framed home below, can have any kind of siding that you choose. This northern New England home has cedar shakes that have been stained.
Here is another look for a home that is built with structural insulated panels.
This small summer home on the sea coast of Maine, has fiber cement siding that is painted gray. This is a good choice for coastal areas, where weather is hard on traditional siding.
Further south, you might use a good quality vinyl siding with structural insulated panels.
While SIP Panels are relatively new to the construction industry, they have definitely made an impact on the way homes are being built.
Many people who are planning to build a new home have discovered that they can be more comfortable, using less energy and a smaller HVAC system (heating and cooling system).
And, in addition to a smaller heating and cooling system, homeowners with SIPs panel homes, will save thousands of dollars on heating and cooling for many years to come. Just because it takes less energy to heat a structural insulated panel home.
No matter what style of home you are building, or what kind of exterior look you would like, you owe it to yourself to consider using structural panels.
About SIPS Panels – If you are interested in reading more about the advantages of using SIP panels in your new home, this article goes into the specifics about why some SIPs are better than others. And you’ll also learn what to expect when you buy a structural insulated panels home…
Structural Insulated Panel Home Kits – Can you imagine what a structural insulated panel home would be like? We lived in a hybrid timber frame made with SIPs, that we built in Virginia. And I’ve shared our experiences with you in this article…
In addition to structural insulated panels, you might enjoy:
Post and Beam