Structural Insulated Panels (SIPs) And Its Properties

Structural Insulated Panels (SIPs) is a great substitute for R-30 (or higher) walls toward single and multifamily construction.

SIPs belong to a manufactured “sandwich” panel which are formed with two exterior faces of oriented-strand-board (OSB) wrapped with a core of stretched polystyrene foam insulation (EPS).

Based on the manufacturer and the needed properties of the final wall system, the material contained by the outer faces and the foam insulation core can differ. Alternate insulation cores consist of extruded polystyrene (XPS), polyisocyanurate and polyurethane. Besides OSB faces, there are other materials like plywood, straw board, and cement board.

Panels containing interior gypsum board or tongue-and-groove pine boards are also obtainable but these may be easily spoiled in transit. So, proper care should be taken while installing & handling them. The complete thickness of the foam core (and thus the R-value attained) is also adjustable and is normally available in dimensions.

Typical foam-core thicknesses are 3-1/2”, 5-1/2”, 7-3/8”, and 9-3/8”.

The complete, nominal R-value of a SIPs wall is a function of its thickness and the type of core insulation applied. Usually EPS foam is R-4 per inch, XPS is R-5 per inch, and polyisocyanurate and polyurethane are roughly R-6.5 per inch (the higher R-value cores are consistently more costly).

Building Design and Planning Considerations

In order to install SIPs successfully in a building project, proper plan should be set up to make the project panel-friendly.

Therefore, the design of the building should be simple in form devoid of any unnecessary jogs, bump-outs, non-90 degree angles, as well as the envelope openings are arranged to match with panel dimensions.

SIPs are applied virtually to any house design, but with a non-panel friendly plan, the amount of waste, internal posts, headers and structural panel slice lumber will rapidly count reducing the cost and performance advantage of a more improved design. The utilization of standard heights is correspondingly crucial in managing costs and eliminating waste. The availability of the largest panel is 8’ x 24’ (on the basis of the limits of obtainable OSB manufacturing), SIPs positioned horizontally contain a extreme wall height of 96”.

Similarly, SIPs positioned vertically contain a maximum width of 96”, but can be applied with full height to attain 8’, 9’, or even 10’ high walls.

Due to its more inflexible nature, cement board SIPs are more limited in dimension as compared to OSB SIPs, with usual sizes of 3’ x 8’, 3 x 9’, and 3’ x 10’ and are therefore always positioned vertically.

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Structural Insulated Panels (SIPs) and its properties