Modular Homes Section

What are Structural Insulated Panels (SIPs)?

SIPs are the future of building materials. It combines building materials into a highly energy efficient wall. To form this sandwich two pieces of oriented strand board (OSB) are placed around insulating foam. All three pieces are them attached to each other forming a SIP.

These highly energy efficient panels are also very strong. The rigid foam insulation layer along with the two layers of oriented strand board can be used for walls, floors and roofs. You might not have come across structural insulated panels before but you will come across them in the future.

More home builders are accepting this new type of building material. Stick builders like it since it saves them time and also provides a high quality home. Modular home builders are also incorporating SIPs into some of smaller custom projects that do not benefit as much from the large scale modular efficiency.

There are many benefits of SIPs. As started before they are highly energy efficient. This is because the insulation is uniform, does not have wood studs (which are not energy efficient) and also there are fewer seams where air can infiltrate. SIPs have been proven in research to outperform fiberglass insulation since it utilizes closed cell insulation. Also there are substantial time savings since these panels are produced in a factory and the local builder just needs to connect them instead of having to frame the entire house the old fashion way. Also since it utilizes OSB with a rigid foam core it has better structural strength.

Not everything is perfect with this new building material. Since the structural insulated panels use the higher efficient closed cell insulation it retains heat much better and thus has a poorer fire safety rating. It still meets safety regulations but it is not as safe as a wooden frame roof with fiberglass insulation. The ideal situation would be to use SIPs for the walls and wood framing for the roof. Another issue is since there are fewer seams with SIPs this means there is reduced air circulation. It is smart to make sure your HVAC system can exchange fresh air into your home.

Overall structural insulated panels (SIPs) are a good innovation that will help many home buyers. As with any innovation it will take time for it to become commonplace and for builders to learn how to best use it.

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