INFORMATION ON SIPS-Structural Isulated Panels:
What are SIPs?
SIPs are a component wall, roof and floor system comprised of foam core insulation, sheathed on both sides to form a complete exterior framing system of the highest energy efficiency.
How does the cost of a SIP structure compare to a stick-built?
Depending upon the cost of lumber and labor in your area, the finished cost of most SIP structures will be comparable to stick framing. Material cost is higher, but the framing labor cost should be considerably lower. Also, the incredible energy savings of the system will pay for the difference and continue to save the homeowner for the life of the home.
How are electrical and plumbing installed?
In commercial construction, wiring is pulled through laid out pipe called conduit. There are actually "chases" that are built into the foam cores that work like conduit. Electricians use a fish tape and feed the wires through panels without compressing insulation or drilling through studs. Plumbing is not usually placed in walls, especially exterior walls, but through the floor into the bottom of cabinets. Where exterior wall vent pipes are necessary, chases can be formed in the foam cores. Island vents or loop vents are also common practices and can be found in the plumbing codes.
Do carpenter ants and termites prefer foam core houses?
No, ants and termites will attack conventional and panel homes indiscriminately. The foam provides no nutritional value and panels can be treated with termite protection at the factory.
Do SIP homes have moisture problems?
SIP structures tend to be very air tight compared to other building methods. Generally a moisture barrier is applied to the exterior in predominately warm climates and on the interior for cold climates, but always check with your local code official for the recommended application in your area. Also, an air exchanger is recommended.
What is the fire rating of SIPs?
The flame spread of EPS (expanded polystyrene) has a rating of 5 on the UL scale of 0 100, with asbestos being 0 and red oak being 100. The combustion gases of EPS have been declared non-toxic in accordance with the Federal Hazardous Substance Labeling Act.
Has the SIP System Been Thoroughly Tested, and does it have building code acceptance?
Yes. Extensive testing has been performed by many independent laboratories. R-Control SIPs are UL (Underwriters Laboratories Inc.) listed and a Third Party Certified product. R-Control SIPs have the recognition of the national building code bodies.
- NES (National Evalution Service) under the international codes
- ICBO (International Congress of Building Officials) under the Uniform Building Code (UBC)
- BOCA (Building Officials and Code Administrators) under the National Building Code
- SBCCI PST & ESI (Southern Building Code Congress International) under the Standard Building Code
- SIP's are also recognized by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), as well as having other individual state and international approvals.
- Panels have been tested by RADCO, an independent third party testing agency, for strength and performance. NER certification is pending.
What type of interior and exterior finishes can be used in conjunction with SIPs?
SIP walls are compatible with typical types of windows, doors, and finishes. Exterior finishes include log, siding, stucco, stone, etc. Interior wall finishes include dry wall, adobe, plaster and wood.
What does the term "R-Value" mean?
It is essential to understand what exactly R-value is. There are three methods of heat transfer: convection, conduction, and radiation. R-value is the measure of resistance to heat loss by conduction only. The most important factor in thermal efficiency is the continuity of the insulation. The SIP system results in a solid envelope of foam where even the studs have a foam core. Therefore, that system has the ability to resist heat transfer by conduction and convection (air movement).