The airtightness of the SIP building envelope prevents air from gaining access to the interior of the home except in controlled amounts. A controlled indoor environment is both healthy and comfortable. Humidity can be controlled more easily in a SIP home, resulting in a home that is more comfortable for occupants and less prone to mold growth and dust mites. SIPs are compatible with almost any building system. Wall panels can sit on a variety of foundation materials, including poured concrete, blocks, or insulated concrete forms. SIPs are sized to accept dimensional lumber and are seamlessly compatible with stick framing. Builders may choose to build with SIP walls and a conventional truss roof or with stick walls and a SIP roof with little difficulty. SIPs are also popular as a method of providing a well-insulated building enclosure for timber frame and steel structures.The majority of construction with SIPs is very similar to conventional framing. SIPs accept dimensional lumber and are fastened together using staples, nails or screws. Proper sealing is very important when assembling SIPs. All joints need to be sealed with specially designed SIP sealant or expanding foam sealant, and in some cases self-adhesive SIP tape. SIPs also require consideration of how panels will be staged and placed on the jobsite. Although smaller 8- by 4-foot panels can be set by hand, larger 8- by 24-foot panels require the use of equipment to unload and set.
SIP homes go up much faster than traditionally framed buildings. A properly trained SIP installation crew can cut framing time by 55 percent compared to conventional wood framing, according to a third-party study conducted by R.S. Means. Panels are manufactured as big as 8-foot by 24-foot, so entire wall and roof sections can be put up quickly, reducing dry-in time. SIPs are ready to install when they arrive at the jobsite, eliminating the time needed to perform the individual jobsite operations of framing, insulating and sheathing stick framed walls. Electrical chases are typically provided in the core of panels, so there is no need to drill through studs for wiring.
Builders can save money through decreased construction and labor costs with Sip Panels.Single Sip Panels are 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 percent or more. In a 2021 example for a typical 2,000 sf home, using SIPs saves over £16,000 in eliminated 2 x 4 raw material costs alone due to the high costs of lumber versus OSB used for SIPs.
Structural insulated panels are one of the most environmentally responsible building systems available. A SIP building envelope provides continuous insulation, is extremely airtight, allows for better control over indoor air quality, reduces construction waste, and helps save natural resources. Life cycle analysis has shown that SIP homes have a tremendous positive environmental impact by reducing energy use and greenhouse gas emissions throughout the home’s life cycle. SIP designs can save 45% more CO2 with a 5.1 year energy payback and a 3.8 year greenhouse gas payback compared to stick framing examples.
The structural characteristics of SIPs are similar to that of a steel I-beam. The OSB facers act as the flange of the I-beam, while the rigid foam core provides the web. This design gives SIPs an advantage when handling in-plane compressive loads. SIPs are used for high wind designs in excess of 180 mph and are approved for Florida's strict High Velocity Hurricane Zones (HVHZ). The load-bearing area of SIPs is equivalent to building with 2 x 10 framing at 16 inches on center. SIPs can be engineered for most applications.