Find out how structural insulated panels, or SIPs, can change the way your home looks and feels.
What Is SIP Construction and the Benefits It Gives
Structural insulated panels, commonly known as SIPs, has been a part of architecture world for decades now. It first came into focus in the 1930s. It was the engineers from the Forest Products Laboratory in Wisconsin, who first invented this construction feature. It was a result of working around sandwich panels commonly used in the construction industry that gave birth to this particular material.
This composition first came into being as a powerful tool in architecture when Alden B Dow, who was mentored by famous architect Frank Lloyd Wright, experimented with the materiality of the technology and used it for the prominent Styrofoam series of residences in Minneapolis in 1951. It was because of his large-scale employment of SIP that the process became widely known and a commonly used technology in most architectural projects.
The way SIPs function are fairly simple. Commonly used as a building material, SIPs can be paired with a variety of materials, ranging from plywood to cement, to metal sheets, or boards made up of magnesium oxide. The core of the SIP has a tight insulation property, which enables it to act as a sheathing and are applicable in a diverse range of surfaces, from roofs to floorings, to the exterior facades.
The SIP has become an extremely crucial part of the construction, given the growing demands on the architects and the engineers to help economize on the energy as well as ensure that the project they are working on brings to the users a high quality of performance with regards to the enclosures and surfaces.
Let’s look at the different ways in which SIPs can benefit your structure’s construction:
image from: sipsdirect.co.uk
SIP Protects Your Building from Moisture
The SIPs’ innate skill is to shield the structure from any form of moisture penetration by acting as a barrier between the environment and the core of the building. The way SIPs function enable the building to breathe — while it acts as a barrier, it itself is porous in nature, which lets the SIP sheathing folds to dry from the exterior. This constant ventilation allows for the claddings to dry up sufficiently.
The SIP is a perfect component for roofing systems. Once connected with the panels, the SIP roofing structure would do well once it is joined around the doors and windows, sealed to ensure any form of moisture penetration.
It Protects Your House by Providing Fire Safety
The best part about SIP construction is that it bears all the load. SIPs are traditionally a very simple format — a chunk of foam that is used as an insulation device, which is stuck between two panels of oriented strand board. This very composition lends the structure the benefit of water proofing.
It Provides Your Building with a Sufficient Amount of Soundproofing
The SIP can act as a sound barrier for your structure since its composition ensures that the high-frequency decibels are stabilized by the low-pitch sounds. However, most architects would suggest that you do not install the SIP into the flooring of an open layout of your interiors, without the soundproofing.
There Is No Wastage with SIPs
Since SIPs are prefabricated and constructed within controlled settings of a factory or a construction house, the possibility for wastage is reduced in a major way. With the use of the latest technologies and software, SIPs make sure that the wastage is reduced by almost half of a regular construction.
Every panel of SIP can be customized and constructed according to the project’s needs and requirements. In fact, the only major challenge that this field is experiencing at the moment is to employ a large number of assemblers or installers, who play a crucial role in assembling or installing the SIPs.
It Lends a Certain Aesthetic to Your Structure
SIPs are the most fundamental part of the structure and, perhaps, that is where the beauty is — that it is a hidden component of your space. This allows for you to play around with the space’s aesthetics and design, while making sure that those very elements are intensified due to the SIP’s high-performance caliber. SIPs can fit into any structure and can be molded into any format. Its potential is limitless, and it can be customized in any format.
The advantage of design while employing SIP is that the architect or the engineer can make use of the truss component, which makes complex structures such as archways or high ceilings a very easy process. It also brings with it extra depth and space for ornamentations and embellishments, without bending over backward over the construction. Features such as cantilever roofs, or domes, or even arena-sized structures are no longer linearly planned processes. SIP offers a thousand possibilities to accommodate any form of design.
It Reduces Energy and Costs
It’s a well-known fact that SIPs are the most efficient way to bring cost effectiveness and performance into your structure. Take Kieron Gait Architects, for instance, whose project called SIPS Residence, used an exclusive range of SIPs in order to cut back on the time and labor efforts. The architects further chose to use oriented strand boards (commonly known as OSBs) to bring out the beauty of the structure, while playing around with the materiality of the SIP.
SIPs Help Prevent Air Leakage
A major concern for most engineers is the loss of air from the interior of the house, which leads to the reduction of almost 40 percent of the heat. When they introduce SIPs into their construction, the house immediately finds the uniformity that comes with the composition of the material throughout the interior’s surface and textures. The installment of the SIPs on the floor, wall and roof ensures that the energy that it exudes in order to cool and heat the interiors.
Different kinds of sheathing materials will work differently for spaces. For instance, wood has long been known for its warmth. With SIP panels, which combines the compression that is 15 times more than the conventional wood, the interiors enjoy a compact heating system.
image from: constructionspecifier.com
It Reduces Construction Time
As mentioned before, since SIPs are constructed in controlled environments, it also leads to a reduction of time in which it is built. Most times, SIPs are created in factories. However, this composition is so malleable that the possibility of constructing it on site has increased, which means that there is less labor wastage. And since this leads to a reduction in cost, it means that it allows architects and designers to ensure that they stay within the budget. Most times, it will also allow them to deliver the project within a much lesser budget, which doesn’t hamper the aesthetics of the structure.
Better Indoor Quality
The fact that SIPs create a better form of insulation and control the temperature within in the most effective manner, also leads to the possibility of providing the user with much better air quality inside the house. At a time when air pollution ails us all and the fact that all the prominent projects have to sit cheek-by-jowl with the urban, concrete jungle around us, SIPs give the architects as well as the users a chance to recreate their interior environment and live in a sustainable fashion.
SIPs Are Sustainable
After all that’s said and done, it wouldn’t be an understatement that SIPs are sustainable for the present generation. It reduces cost and manual labor, and allows the architects to play around with them on or off-site. Additionally, its insulation forces within its core allow for the structure to be compact as well as durable.
As tight budgets and tight schedules make life difficult for the architects and engineers, SIPs allows for that issue to be resolved. However, the most crucial part of the process is that SIPs also allow for the use of traditional materials, without hampering the durability of the original structure. It also allows for the architects and designers to experiment with the latest of technologies and materials in order to create a structure that is not only aesthetically pleasing but is functional in every sense of the word.
For decades now, SIPs have allowed the use of timber, which is one of the cheapest materials there is for modern architects to fiddle with, in order to execute a design that doesn’t take away from the quality along with the quantity. SIP has now become an innovation that no designer or engineer will go without.
SIPs Will Always Be Easier to Maintain Than a Regular Structure
Since SIPs are constructed well within the time when manufacturing as begun, and the fact that its lamination has been executed to perfection, an engineer or architect can trust that their project has been instilled with the most durable component in modern construction. The SIP-installed facade takes time to degenerate, and the fact that it is moisture resistant means that the structure will stand as long as it can, without the need for proper care. Additionally, the SIPs are also resistant to rodent attacks or issues such as pesky little insects. So, allow for your structure to not only breathe, but live a very long, blissful life.