SIP Dos & Dont's

Handling & Storage

  • Set aside a level spot to store panels.
  • Store panels from each floor or building section separately to make assembly easier
  • Stack panels so that you can read the identifying marks or labels
  • Lay panels flat on stickers, no closer than three inches to the ground
  • Give the panels plenty of support:
    • for 8-foot panels, two stickers are enough
    • for 12- to 16-foot panels, use three stickers
  • Use lifting plates to move larger panels with a crane, or extended forks and a forklift
  • Pick panels up by the top skin, the weight may affect lamination
  • Go more than 6 or 8 feet between stickers because the panels will sag over time
  • Move panels before referencing your plans for where each section needs to go
  • Store panels on the ground

Weather Protection

  • Wrap panels in a vapor barrier once finished with exterior construction
  • Cover panels with a loose tarp or sheet of poly when storing on site
  • Leave panels exposed to the elements for extended periods of time. Panels are rated for exterior exposure only during construction


For maximum efficiency, it’s best to follow an orderly system. Here are a few tips to keep in mind as you start to work.

  • Study the installation drawings before setting panels
  • Set wall plates carefully and make sure they are fully supported
  • Remember to set your plates a half inch in from the building edge, leave room where plates meet for the skin to slide by
  • Start in a corner; and set both corner panels for stability
  • Mark out your wall plates to show where panel edges fall
  • Start in corners or valleys and work out so you won’t “box yourself into a corner.” At wall corners, one panel “stops short” and the other “flies by” — be sure you know which is which, or one wall will be too long and the other too short
  • Install plumbing in interior walls. Furr out interior sections for pipes if necessary
  • Install standard deterrents to resist termites and carpenter ants such as insect clips and flashing. We can provide borate treated panels as well upon request.
  • Install proper flashing and sealants around all rough openings and penetrations as required
  • Cut wall panel skins horizontally for installation of electrical wiring
  • Cut roof or floor panel skins without contacting your supplier
  • Place bottom plates at the edge of the foundation or floor!
  • Install panel skins in direct contact with concrete. Provide a capillary break between panel skins and concrete
  • Be afraid to field-trim panels for an exact fit. Contact us when in doubt
  • Install can lights inside the panels. Use surface mount or thin profile LED’s instead
  • Cut a hole larger than 12”x12” in a panel without consulting the manufacturer to evaluate structural concerns
  • Install wall inserts/corners without drilling for electrical chases or you will block the chase and make it so you cannot pull wires through them
  • Forget to flash all penetrations. Install flashing under and around windows and doors to direct water away from the wall structure. Hose bibs, dryer vents, exterior lights must also be flashed, as should roof penetrations such as plumbing stacks, chimneys, and skylights

Weather Details

  • Use high-quality roofing and siding. High performance asphalt shingles are suitable for use on a SIP roof. Popular siding materials such as steel or tile, vinyl, wood, brick, or fiber-cement are also fine for SIP houses
  • Use proper underlayments for roofing and siding to provide a drainage plane
  • Use an impermable membrane without taping the panel seams; either use a permeable membrane so water can evaporate (a cold roof helps) or try to keep all water out with a membrane, tape, and foam sealant
  • Leave your panels without protection for more than 9 wet to dry cycles

Interior Comfort

  • Provide adequate ventilation to maintain indoor air quality
  • Provide a mechanical ventilation system
  • In cold climates, use a heat recovery ventilator; you’ll save energy, and the incoming air will be tempered for comfort
  • In hot, humid climates, an “energy recovery ventilator” is best: these systems take humidity out of the incoming air and transfer it to the exhaust stream, reducing the load on your air conditioner and improving your comfort
  • Control indoor humidity. High humidity levels can be unhealthy and can damage your building
  • Set your ventilation system to keep indoor humidity around 40%
  • Install exhaust fans in kitchens, bathrooms, and laundry rooms to expel moist air as needed
  • Install or use unvented combustion equipment. “Ventfree” gas logs, fireplaces, or heaters are not appropriate for an airtight SIP house
  • Use just passive ventilation; you will need a mechanical system to pull air through, as the building should be airtight
  • Let your humidity get too high without airflow; any airtight house with high humidity and low airflow will create mold
  • Hang up extremely heavy objects onto the wall without spreading anchors or additional reinforcement. Cabinets, for example, will likely need an additional sheet of plywood added to the SIP wall before installing