Exterior and Interior Skins
The oriented strand board skins on Insulspan® structural
panels are exterior rated Exposure I by the American Plywood
(APA). Exterior phenolic resin permits the panels to
be used with normal construction delays.
Energy Efficiency and Comfort
lnsulspan panels decrease cooling and heating costs even more
than their high R-rating would seem to indicate, because they
form a solid thermal envelope around the structure, uninterrupted
by the typical studs, sills or headers. This substantially
reduces air infiltration compared with conventional construction
techniques. The panels' solid core of insulation also eliminates
the convection looping that can occur in the gaps and spaces
typical in batt insulation.
Insulspan® panels provide stable performance year after year.
Their efficiency generally allows heating and cooling equipment
to be downsized, reducing initial capital costs and operating
Strength and Durability
The strength of Insulspan® panels has been proven through rigorous structural testing required by national code authorities, plus their actual performance through more than 20 years of use. The beam-like properties of Insulspan® panels can make them 2-3 times stronger than typical stick-built structures.
Adapting home plans to SIP Construction
speaking, almost any home design can be modified to be built
with SIPs. Of course, if a home design would be complex to
frame traditionally, it will be complex to build with Structural Insulated Panels.
Also, while Structural Insulated Panels can make excellent roof systems, complex,
sophisticated roofs are often trussed or stick built. The
versatility of marrying SIPs and traditional construction
methods on the same home is a welcome feature of SIP construction.
SIP walls are often thicker than standard framed walls.
For example, Insulspan™, a SIP manufacturer in Blissfield,
Michigan, markets SIP walls that are 4 1/2" thick or
6 1/2" thick.As compared with traditional 2 x 4 or 2
x 6 exterior framing, rooms in a home with one or more exterior
walls will finish out slightly smaller. A further consideration
is that wider jamb extensions will need to be ordered for
windows and exterior doors. In spite of their thickness,
the panels are relatively lightweight, meaning cantilevers
are no problem when building with SIPs. And, Structural Insulated Panels adapt easily
for differing foundation types.
Factors to Consider
Pre-planning is one of the keys to the success of SIP construction.
Plumbing and electrical runs need to be pre-determined, so
the manufacturer can accommodate these needs. It may take two
or three weeks for the SIP manufacturer to modify a set of
blueprints for their building system. The quality (level of
detail and thoroughness) of the shop drawings the SIP supplier
produces is very important, as they address questions up front
before they can become problems on site. The finished structurally
insulated panels can be delivered in as little as two weeks
after approval of the modified plans.
Many factors come into play when building
a home panelized. Because they are engineered
and built in a factory, panelized walls
(and roof panels) are more expensive initially
than buying raw materials for conventional
construction. However, the resulting savings
in terms of site labor, material waste
and clean-up fees, and shorter construction
timeframes offset much, if not all, of
the cost of the panels. Structural Insulated Panels may cost more
than other panels due to the insulation
component, but again that cost is largely
offset when compared to adding the insulation
on site. In fact, SIP walls typically carry
a much higher insulation factor which would
require additional expense to bring a conventionally
framed home up to the same energy efficiency
of an SIP home.