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Frequently Asked Questions

What are SIPs?

Structural Insulated Panels (SIPs) are high-performance building panels used on floors, walls, and roofs for residential and light commercial buildings. The panels are made by sandwiching a core of rigid foam plastic insulation between two structural facings, such as the Oriented Strand Board (OSB). Other skin materials can be used for specific purposes. SIPs are manufactured under factory-controlled conditions and can be custom designed for each project. The result is a building system that is highly robust, 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 much faster than traditionally framed buildings. A properly trained SIP installation crew can cut framing time by 55% compared to conventional wood framing, according to a third-party study conducted by R.S. Means.

How much money can I save with SIPs?

Builders can save money through decreased construction and labor costs. A high-performance building envelope often allows 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 into a SIP home can see utility savings of 50% or more.

How sustainable are SIPs?

SIPs are one of the most environmentally responsible building systems available. It provides continuous insulation, is extremely airtight, allows for better control over indoor air quality, reduces construction waste, and helps save natural resources.

How strong are SIPs?

The structural characteristics of SIPs are similar to that of a steel I-beam. The OSB facers act as the fiange of the I-beam, while the rigid foam core provides the web. The design gives SIPs an advantage when handling in-plane compressive loads.

How do I properly size HVAC equipment?

A high-performance SIP building enclosure often allows smaller HVAC equipment to be specified. It’s important to work with a qualified HVAC professional that can accurately estimate the low levels of air infiltration in a SIP home or commercial building.

How important is ventilation?

SIP buildings are extremely airtight with air leakage rates well less than three air changes per hour at 50 Pascals of pressure (3.0 ACH50) and require mechanical ventilation.

Can SIPs be repaired or replaced if damaged?

Yes! A structural engineer needs to assess the damage to determine what is cosmetic and what is structural. There are SIPA members who act as consultants to determine damages.

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