The process of designing and building a new house entails many considerations. During the planning stage, you need to consider what materials to use and ensure that you stay within budget while at the same time consider the performance of these materials.
In light of the recent trend of eco-friendly building, there are many building materials worth considering if you are building a new home. One such building material is structural insulated panels or SIPs. A SIP is like a cookie sandwich where the filling represents a built-in insulation core pressure-sealed into two oriented strand boards for strength and durability.
Outstanding characteristics of SIPs
One of the most notable features of SIPs is the superior thermal performance and its ability to minimise or eliminate thermal bridging. SIP construction results in an airtight envelope which prevents outdoor air infiltration. This will not only improve the insulation properties of the building but also improve indoor air quality.
Energy-efficient homes built using SIP panels use less energy for heating and cooling; therefore, they are capable of retaining warm air or cold air longer. SIPs also have an excellent load-bearing capacity and are compatible with almost any type of exterior and interior finishing.
Benefits of using SIPs to build a home
SIPs not only provide outstanding insulation for homes but also have an advantage over other building materials because of the following reasons:
- SIPs reduce construction time, thus saving money on labour costs
- SIPs are strong and durable and proven to last decades without replacement
- SIPs are versatile and can be used for walls, floors, and roofs
- Using SIPs for roof construction eliminates ceiling trusses; hence, creating an extra room for a loft
- SIPs look aesthetically pleasing. You can leave the boards bare or cover with drywall for more conventional decorative appeal
SIPs typically come in standard sizes, but manufacturers may customise the insulation thickness depending on what the builder requires.
Challenges in building with SIPs
Constructing with SIPs is not without problems. In designing a SIP building, architects need to consider the exact dimensions required for the construction because cutting the panels to size may compromise their structural integrity.
SIPs are also not inherently fireproof or termite proof. The boards are also sensitive to moisture infiltration which is why a weather barrier is needed during construction. Boards need to be above-ground before installation and arranged according to the right sequence to avoid problems and delays when it is time to erect and join the panels.
Another common concern when working with SIPs is finding an experienced builder. Only a small percentage of homes are built with SIPs each year, which is why it is not always easy to find a SIP UK contractor with extensive know-how in building with SIPs. Nonetheless, it is still relatively easy to get references by asking the manufacturer for their preferred or recommended builder within your area. Overall, the benefits of using SIPs outweigh these challenges which are why there is an increased demand in using them for new builds.