In recent years, there has been a growing demand for more energy-efficient homes. This is in light of the increased cost of electricity and the desire to preserve the environment. Building materials such as SIPs have been around for a while, and since these products are known for their insulation property, many builders are choosing SIPs over traditional materials when building homes, commercial, and multi-use structures.
There are SIPs that can offer excellent U-values for homes. Since the U-value is defined as the effectiveness of a material to insulate, the lower the U-value, the better is the material’s capability to insulate. But while using SIPs is considered easy and straightforward, there are still some challenges that can be encountered, especially for novice builders using SIPs for the first time. Here are five key tips for working with SIPs.
Pre-planning is essential
SIP panels are pre-fabricated off-site according to the specific requirements of a project. Before requesting dimensions, the builder needs to plan out electrical connections, wiring, and equipment that will be used. Specialty equipment such as a forklift or a crane may be needed if SIP panels will be used for roof installations.
The electrical blueprint of a home should also be factored into the planning process before specifying the dimensions of the SIP panels that will be used. It will be costly and time-consuming if modifications need to be made later on.
Organise before installation
The construction process will be more efficient when the panels are properly organised and stored. These should be placed where there is ample protection against weather conditions and in a spot where it is at least three inches above the ground. Panels should also be organised according to the proper sequence of installation. For example, panels that will be used for the first floor should be organised separately from panels that will be used for the second floor.
Protect from moisture
After panels have been installed and sealing has been applied, it is necessary to protect them from moisture by using a house wrap. All points where water can penetrate, such as window sills should be flashed properly.
Install the panels properly and seal tightly
During installation, SIPs require adequate support. When setting them in place, you need to start from the corners of the building and work your way inward. To ensure full support, the wall plate where the panels will be slipped into should sit at least half an inch from the edge of the building. Once installed, panels need to be sealed with SIP tape or adhesive. Sealing prevents leaks and ensures that the structure is air-tight and durable.
Choose the right HVAC system size
Since SIPs offer high insulation and air-tightness, smaller HVAC systems will suffice. Before choosing the size of your HVAC system, the contractor should be able to estimate for lower air infiltration levels. If the size of the HVAC system is not right, it can result in underuse which is eventually costlier and less energy-efficient.