Building a house based on SIP technology

Asha Bogenfuerst Asha Bogenfuerst
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SIP or structural insulated panels are the building technology of the future. If you would like to find out why, you're in the right place. This idea guide will give you all the information you need to know about building a house based on SIP technology. Essentially, a structural insulated panel (SIP) is a composite building material consisting of an insulating layer of rigid core sandwiched between two layers of structural board. So why is SIP the building technology of the future? Well, because SIPs are superior to conventional framing systems in almost every way. For example, SIPs are better insulated, stronger, and faster to build with compared to the regular stick-frame construction. 

Are you dying to know more about SIP technology now? Well, then join us in browsing through this idea guide, and you will find out everything you need to know about building a house based on SIP technology. 

What materials is SIP made of?

SIP consists of a layer of insulation sandwiched between two layers of structural board. The structural board can be made of sheet metal, plywood, cement, magnesium oxide board (MgO), or oriented strand board (OSB). The layer of insulation or the core that is in between the two structural boards can be made of expanded polystyrene foam (EPS), extruded polystyrene foam (XPS), polyisocyanurate foam, poluurethane foam, or composite honeycomb (HSC).  The beautiful house pictured here is designed by Flavio Berredo Arquitetura, architects based in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. 

What is SIP technology capable of?

SIP provides a building material that is twice as strong as a wood framed house, which is especially beneficial in areas that experience hurricanes or tornadoes. SIPs are also very energy efficient as they requires only half the energy needed by a standard stick-frame construction to cool down or heat up the house. Several components of conventional building are combined by SIPs, such as studs and joists, insulation, vapor barrier, and air barrier. SIPs can be used for many different applications, including exterior wall, roof, floor, and foundation systems. 

The advantages of building with SIP

There are several very good advantages of building a house using SIP technology, such as excellent thermal performance due to minimal thermal bridges with the elimination of traditional wood framing. SIP also provides excellent integral insulation, omitting the need for any other extra insulation. 

Another advantage is that it reduces waste because structural insulated panels are pre-engineered and produced in a controlled environment. In terms of building speed, SIP construction is about three times faster compared to construction with conventional framing. Last but not least, fewer joints and sheathing on two sides allow for a much tighter building assembly. 

Disadvantages of SIP houses

Overall, there isn't as many disadvantages of SIP houses as there are advantages. One potential disadvantage is there cannot be any on site changes. You have to make all the decisions about the construction of the house and sign off the drawings before the build begins. There is absolutely no space for mistakes because the SIPs have to fit perfectly, so it is crucial that the dimensions of the foundations are accurately measured and constructed. 

Be aware that SIPs can be damaged by moisture, so it's best to choose panels with waterproof surfaces such as fiber-cement panels. Finally, since SIP technology is relatively new, many builders are not familiar with SIP construction as it requires some know-how. 

How eco-friendly is SIP technology?

SIP technology can be very eco-friendly as it can provide huge energy savings due to its excellent insulation and air tightness. SIP can be made of various materials, some of which are recycled content. There are environmentally friendly options for SIP's core and boards.You can choose a mineral foam insulation made of magnesium oxide and coconut fiber instead of a polystyrene based one. 

Browse through tropical style houses here on homify for more ideas and inspiration. 

How much does a SIP house cost?

Building a house using SIP requires minimal equipment and labor, however the materials used in SIP are slightly more expensive compared to the regular construction materials. So if labor is expensive, building a house using SIP is probably cheaper because it takes less labor and time to build. In the long-run, SIPs are highly cost-effective if you consider the energy savings they provide. 

We hope all your questions about SIP have been answered here. For more related ideas and inspiration, have a look at 8 questions to ask before starting to build your home

Do you have any other questions about SIP technology? Let us know in the comments section below. 
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