Structural insulated panels are quickly becoming a popular choice for building homes focused on increased energy-efficiency. Increased energy-efficiency means you will pay less for keeping your home warm or cool. This article aims to provide an essential guide to this innovative construction method since not everyone is familiar with what a SIP is.
What is a SIP panel?
The type of SIP UK constructors use typically consists of two oriented strand board skins bonded together with insulation foam in between. These panels come according to the size and height requirement of a construction project ranging from heights of 2.4 to 7.45 metres. Once cut to the desired size, they are ready for installation to form walls, roofs, and floors.
Different types of SIPs
SIPs are categorised according to the following:
- Insulation core material. The insulation core inside each SIP comes in two types: expanded polystyrene or urethane core. A polystyrene core consists of thousands of tiny foam beads while the urethane core is rigid and free of fibres. These two types of insulation differ in cost and thermal performance.
- Panel thickness. Polystyrene core SIP panels have a thickness of 95mm to 195mm. To get better thermal performance, you need to choose a panel with greater thickness.
- Jointing method. The most common jointing method for SIPs is solid timber for greater stability and strength. Although in some cases, small panels used in jointing increase air tightness and further improve thermal performance.
Overall, SIPs are quite flexible regarding design. Your contractor can help you choose the right SIP for your project.
Designing with SIPs
Using SIPs to design a home also has additional benefits. If you are designing vaulted ceilings, you won’t need roof trusses which can double the floor to ceiling height of the home’s top floor. If you are also considering an open floor plan for your home’s interior, you can easily accommodate it by using SIPs which come in long floor and roof panels.
While SIPs offer design flexibility, there are still some considerations when using SIPs to build your home. First, you need to work with a designer who can ensure that you get the most out of the cost and use the product to its full potential.
Another consideration is the size of other construction materials you are using together with SIPs. All construction materials come in standard sizes, so you need to build your SIP design around these sizes.
Are there limitations to using SIPs?
Using SIPs has a lot of benefits especially if you are looking for a home with high energy efficiency. However, SIPs need to be used wisely to justify the cost. Another challenge in building with SIPs is how you can manoeuvre them carefully to prevent any problems during the building process. In most cases, you will need to use a crane to transport panels on-site and facilitate easy installation. Lastly, you have to pay attention to all construction details to avoid experiencing any problems while building the home.
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