Structural insulated panels or SIPs are prefabricated insulated structural components that may be used in constructing walls, ceilings, slabs, and roofs. Compared to more conventional building techniques such as stick frames, they provide greater and uniform insulation. This results in significant energy savings of 12 to 14 percent. When properly installed, SIPs can deliver a more airtight home, which makes it more energy-efficient, and more pleasant.
SIPs may be manufactured in a variety of sizes and dimensions. For example, some manufacturers produce panels as big as 8 by 24 feet, needing a crane to install.
The Installation Process
Structural insulated panels are manufactured and shipped to the site where required. Experienced professionals connect the panels together at the site to create building structures. Many SIP suppliers also provide “panelized housing kits.” In this case, the builders only assemble the pre-cut sections and cut extra holes for doors and windows.
SIPs satisfy all construction regulations and the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) safety requirements when erected according to the manufacturer’s instructions. An expert builder may build a SIPs house faster than other types of homes, saving time and money without sacrificing quality. These savings may help to offset the increased cost of SIPs.
Need For Concern
The most common concerns about SIPs are fire, insects, and rodents:
Fire is always a safety concern with insulated panels. However, if SIPs are covered with fireproof material such as gypsum board, the burn-time can be extended long enough to give people time to escape.
Insects and Cockroaches
Insects and rodents can be a concern in any home. In a few instances, insects and rodents can tunnel through the SIPs. However, the good news is that some manufacturers have offered prevention measures. These include:
- Applying insecticides
- Maintaining a humidity of 50% or below
- Placing indoor plants at least 2 feet away from the walls
- Pruning any tree limbs