Structural insulated panels (SIPs) are pre-fabricated construction materials used in building walls, roofs, and floors. They consist of a foam core insulation sandwiched between two sheathing panels, typically made with oriented strand board. Building with SIPs has many advantages. Apart from the built-in insulation core, the following are the advantages of using SIPs to build a home.
Airtight and superior structural stability
Each piece SIPs UK manufacturers fabricate is pressure treated for optimum strength and durability. According to tests conducted on the lifespan of SIPs, these panels are supposed to last at least 60 years. The primary characteristic of SIPs is the capability to create an airtight building envelope, thus, reinforcing the insulation property of the structure. A well-insulated building is also more efficient in consuming energy.
SIPs also have excellent load bearing capacity. In terms of flexibility for design, they are compatible with almost any external and internal cladding system. When used to build roofs, SIPs create vaulted ceilings and extra space which can be converted into a loft.
Resistance to an earthquake and weather disturbances
Due to the structural stability of SIPs, the resulting building or structure is better able to withstand seismic movements as well as weather disturbances like a hurricane. Although SIPs are not inherently moisture resistant, the external and internal cladding added over the panels will create an extra layer of protection against natural elements.
Faster construction time
Using SIPs can significantly reduce construction time. What used to take weeks and months to complete, may be done in days depending on the complexity of the design. Reduced construction time also means lower costs for labour.
Cost of construction
Constructing with SIPs does not differ much in cost compared with traditional timber-frame construction. With SIPs, the contractor will hire fewer employees thus lowering labour cost. Using SIPs instead of conventional construction materials also produce less waste; therefore, you can maximise your investment on every single panel.
Possible challenges of working with SIPs
Despite the many advantages of using SIPs, it is still essential to consider potential problems the contractor may encounter when building with these panels. First of all, it is crucial to protect the boards from moisture before and during installation. The boards need to be stored away from the ground and a house wrap applied over the panels will help prevent moisture damage during construction.
Another possible concern when using SIPs is the requirements for building such as renting heavy equipment to lift the panels. To mitigate this problem, architects and builders need to collaborate with the SIP manufacturer and comply with manufacturer suggestions to ensure a successful result.
Working with SIPs is also not as widespread as conventional wood frame building; hence, many builders may not have extensive experience or know-how of constructing with these panels. Nevertheless, the process of installing SIPs is straightforward and simple. What is most important here is finding a skilled and experienced builder who can learn the ropes fast and hire workers who can adjust to the requirements of advanced building materials such as SIPs.