Our Process

How does the Structural Insulated Panel design and fabrication process work?

The process of constructing a SIP home or commercial building starts with the development of construction documents. Once these documents reach a SIP manufacturer, dealer, distributor, or design professional, they are transformed into SIP shop drawings, which provide the dimensions for each individual panel. These shop drawings are then reviewed by the builder, engineer, building owner, and any other parties involved. Once everyone has approved the shop drawings, the SIPs are fabricated and then shipped to the job site, ready for installation.

How much faster can I build with Structural Insulated Panels?

SIP homes are constructed faster than traditional framed buildings. With a well-trained SIP installation crew, labor costs can be reduced by over 60 percent compared to stick framing. At sPanels, we manufacture panels as large as 4ft by 24ft, enabling entire walls to be erected swiftly, which also minimizes drying time. SIPs can arrive at the jobsite as ready-to-install components, thus eliminating the need for individual framing, insulating, and sheathing operations of stick-framed walls.

Window openings can be pre-cut into the panels, eliminating the need for a separate header depending on the size. In addition, electrical chases are usually incorporated within the core of the panels, removing the necessity to drill through studs for wiring.

How strong are Structural Insulated Panels?

The structural properties of SIPs are comparable to a steel I-beam. The OSB skins serve as the flange of the I-beam, with the rigid foam core functioning as the web. This design enhances the ability of SIPs to manage in-plane compressive loads. Moreover, SIPs can be engineered for a broad range of applications.

Are vapor barriers required in Structural Insulated Panel buildings?

There's no need for air or vapor barriers in SIP buildings, as properly sealed SIPs already provide a code-compliant air barrier with a permeability rating of less than 1.0 perm. Moreover, the continuous and solid foam core of a SIP eliminates the problems of convection and condensation that can occur in cavity walls.

What considerations do you need to take into account when building with Structural Insulated Panels vs. conventional framing?

Most construction processes involving SIPs are quite similar to those of conventional framing. SIPs accept dimensional lumber and can be fastened with staples, nails, or screws. Proper sealing is paramount in a SIP structure, requiring all joints to be sealed with a specially designed, low-expanding SIP foam sealant. Any voids between panels and unused electrical chases should also be filled with this low-expanding foam. Beyond sealing, careful planning and consideration need to be applied to material handling.