Structural Insulated Panels are an advanced method of construction offering an energy-efficient, lightweight, self-supporting solution over traditional structures.
As the Tiny and Modular home movement keeps growing, many people choose to buy prefabricated homes, rentals, and investment properties made with SIP panels. These highly customizable panels can be used in floors, walls, roofs, foundations, and basements.
SIP panels can dramatically lower the costs of construction, utilities, and maintenance.
What is SIP paneling, and how does it reduce costs over time?
SIP stands for Structural Insulated Panel. The pre-manufactured panels comprise an insulated foam core sandwiched between two structural facings, usually an oriented strand board (OSB). The result is a building material that is extremely strong, energy-efficient, and cost-effective. This type of building is trendy among the Modular and Tiny Home communities.
The combination of structural support and insulation in one panel makes this material so attractive to alternative home builders.
Is best suited for residential homes, guest rooms, Airbnb’s, and other vacation rentals.
Advantages of using SIP
Lower Utility Bills
SIP panels are known for their airtightness and superior insulation, with some estimates claiming 50% more energy efficiency than traditional wood framing.
Cost Effective Electrical Installation
The pre-installed wire chases in SIP panels eliminates the need to drill studs for electrical wiring.
Most construction using SIP paneling will require no additional support or framing.
SIP built basements and foundations aren’t prone to the same cracking and shifting as traditional concrete foundations. Not having to cure concrete also means faster construction
Indoor Air Quality
The airtightness of a SIP structure allows for precise control over indoor air.
SIP panels produce no VOCs or other harmful chemicals that can affect occupant health.
As SIP panels are primarily made from insulated foam, they aren’t prone to pest infestations such as termites.
Disadvantages of using SIP
Ensuring Proper Ventilation
The airtight advantage of SIPs can eliminate drafts and reduce utility bills. This also means you’ll need to have adequate ventilation to avoid condensation build up. Turn Key Fabrication solves this problem in different ways, depending upon if the structure will be going to a hot or cold climate. Common solutions include use of cross ventilation, de-humidifiers, and heat transfer.
SIPs built structures are prone to moisture damage. However, this is easily defeated by using a waterproof coating and ensuring proper ventilation.
Finding an Experienced Builder
SIP panels aren’t as commonly used as traditional wood, therefore selecting the best builder can take more effort. To eliminate this issue, we at Turn Key Fabrication, we build everything in-house, so that we can deliver completely assembled, ready to use, prefab houses and rooms.
HOW MUCH DO SIP PANELS COST?
The average cost per panel is between $9-11 per square foot.
HOW LONG DO SIP PANELS LAST?
As with all structures, SIP-constructed homes are only as good as the conditions they are subjected to and the care they receive. SIP panels that are properly attached and maintained can easily last 50-60 years or more. This means that they hold up compared to conventional framing.
For that reason, it’s essential to ask your builder the right questions and make sure you have a good understanding of the cost of ownership for prefabs.
DO SIP PANELS NEED FRAMING?
The unique design of the panel produces a solid building material that needs no additional frame or skeleton for support. This means that SIP panels are structurally self-sufficient.
Turn Key Fabrication uses high-quality materials such as laminated wood panels and cabinet-grade plywood, so you never have to worry about adding the right finishing material.
We adjust our building process to prepare for high fire risk areas, such as using SIPs made with a solid core of expanded polystyrene (EPS).
SIPs are especially effective at blocking high-frequency noise.
The load-bearing area of a SIP panel is roughly equivalent to building with 2 x 10 framing.