What types of homes or structures can be made from SIPs?

Virtually ALL styles of houses or structures can be constructed from our structural insulated panels. Almost any architectural plans are easily converted into SIP-ready designs.

What skills are required for erecting and finishing an SIP home?

Not all builders are familiar with SIPs construction techniques, though the skills required are easy to master. We provide instruction and your contractor can complete the assembly of the building shell.

How do you run wiring in panels?

Horizontal wiring runs are engineered and channels are cut into the panels prior to assembly, so field wiring is simplified. Vertical runs as needed or required can also be completed in the factory. Electrical boxes in the field are screwed to the structural support members in the wall panels.

How do you run plumbing in panels?

Again, based on the home plans, pipe runs are channeled into the panels prior to assembly. There will be almost no difference between installation of plumbing in our SIP home and plumbing in a conventional framed home.

What kind of exterior finish can be used on the panels?

Virtually any type of exterior application can be employed. This would include stucco or other masonry, wood, vinyl, aluminum, corrugated metal, any type of siding, etc.

How is the roof finished?

After panel joints are sealed, metal sheets or sheathing is fastened to the structural members in the roof panels. Any type of roofing typical to any conventionally-built home or structure can be used. This includes shingle, tile, steel, aluminum, etc.

How are interior walls finished?

You may finish the interior walls in drywall or in any manner you would choose for a conventionally built home.

Are windows and doors difficult to install?

Windows and doors are ready to install in our homes because of the exacting standards used in our factory to cut rough openings prior to delivery. We then wrap the rough openings in channeled steel. Windows and doors are set into those openings in the field under normal construction methods. The perimeters are sealed with expanding foam, resulting in an energy efficient installation.

What are the physical properties of expanded polystyrene (EPS)?

EPS is an advanced formulation of lightweight, closed cell plastic foam material composed of hydrogen and carbon atoms. It is derived from small amounts of petroleum and natural gas by-products and used for high insulation value and structural strength.

What are the building code requirements for panels relative to fire ratings?

Building codes vary by location, but typically a 15-minute finish rating is required for light construction. Our panel design of EPS and steel, coupled with an interior finish of 5/8" drywall, will significantly pass this requirement with a rating of 1 hour plus.

Is EPS foam toxic?

According to the National Bureau of Standards Combustion Tests, data collected from 7 labs conclude that, under worse-case fire scenarios, fumes from EPS are significantly less toxic than those from Douglas Fir, the most common type of wood used in conventional construction.

Is EPS manufactured with chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) or hydro-chlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs)?

No. EPS neither contains nor uses CFCs or HCFCs-both known for their negative impact on the earth's ozone layer-- in its manufacturing process. The foam used in our panels is made using air as a blowing agent.

Does temperature cycling affect EPS insulating characteristics?

No. EPS is able to withstand the abuses of temperature (freeze-thaw) cycling without loss of structural integrity or other physical properties, thus assuring long term performance.

Do I need to add a vapor barrier?

Yes. Tyvek or a similar vapor barrier is recommended.

Does EPS offer good moisture resistance?

Yes. A study by the Energy Materials Testing Laboratory has shown that EPS insulation does not absorb appreciable moisture, even under conditions characteristic of prolonged, cold, damp winters. The small amount of moisture absorbed (an average of 0.02% by weight) has little or no effect on compression and flexural strength. Further, the EPS insulation retains between 95% and 97% of its thermal efficiency.

Do I need an air-to-air heat exchanger?

Air-to-air heat exchangers, and/or other types of mechanical ventilation are recommended in all air-tight houses.