SIPs Pros and Cons

Way back in 1980 timber frame revivalist, Tedd Benson was already writing about how SIPs could revolutionize the way homes were built: “The stress-skin panel presents attributes of heat resistance never before seen in home construction and is a perfect match to timber frames. Energy conservation is the hope of the future…we must mark the end of the era of substandard housing that is cheap to build but expensive and wasteful to maintain.”

At Cornerstone, we’ve noticed a big jump in client demand for SIPs. Before you commit to using them here are a few things to consider:

  • SIPs are more expensive but begin paying back in comfort and energy savings on day one and for as long as people live in the home (great great grand kids?)
  • SIPs go on fast and allow for a quick weather tight shell
  • SIP skins provide continuous nail base for siding and interior finishes (hanging a picture was never so easy!)
  • SIPs provide an unbroken blanket of superior insulation (no studs) and allow for smaller furnaces and air handling systems
  • SIPs have solid, stable cores, so mold and insects have no place to start

  • Some additional considerations:

  • SIPs, especially the roof panels, require meticulous foaming at the seams, as even a small void between panels can be problematic
  • SIPs require design and production lead times of 8-12 weeks, and your architect and builder need to be “on board” with the process
  • SIPs require advance planning for electrical, and a tradesperson who is prepared to fish wires through wire chases.
  • SIPs are sometimes resented by local building trades (read: framing crews) who see panels as a threat to their livelihoods

  • If you would like to learn more about structural insulated panels check out www.sips.org