June 2, 2017

Structural Insulated Panels for Timber Frame Homes

Structural Insulated Panels

structural insulated panelsStructural insulated panels (SIPs) are used in the construction of homes and commercial buildings all over the world. SIP panel homes are constructed using the best building materials on the market today, and the technology makes them a perfect fit when building a home.

The construction of floors, walls, and roofs that are made from these panels are resistant to moisture, are fire retardant, and can cut the overall cost of materials and labor drastically. No other building materials compare to the results achieved with a sturdy, functionally green, family friendly home when using structural insulated panels.

Research and testing with these panels began in the 1930s. Due to long production times and expensive materials, structural insulated panels had a bit of a bumpy start before technology caught up with the concept. It wasn’t until the 1980s that these panels became cheaper and faster to make, and the public saw the benefits. When building a timber frame home, structural insulated panels are worth more than a look.

What Are Structural Insulated Panels (SIPs)?

SIPs panels are a prefabricated insulation used in many different construction projects. They are made with an uncompromising polymer foam between two outer layers called skins. The foam and outer layers are created under strictly controlled conditions with machinery that pressure-laminates the layers together. The way the panels are created makes the finished product stronger than the individual components. The finished panels need no frame to support them when assembled. Home builders are the largest consumers of SIPs panels in 2017.

Structural insulated panels or SIPs have the same functional attributes as an I-column or an I-beam. SIPs for homes are most often constructed with an outer skin, which can be a number of different materials; such as plywood, sheet metal, oriented strand board (OSB) or cement. The core can also be a variety of chemicals like extruded polystyrene, polyurethane foam, polystyrene foam, or polyisocyanurate foam.

Cost Efficiency of Using SIPs

sipsThe way SIP panels are constructed is cost efficient by being prefabricated and delivered to the construction site ready to assemble. The structural insulated panels cost pays for themselves by lowering the entire building budget dramatically. With SIPs home kits, the need for work crews to frame the house is eliminated. Here are a few more benefits of building with structural insulated panels.

  • Unlike modular or prefabricated buildings, SIPs panels can be made for individual needs.
  • The panels are built to last for many years and offer numerous design styles.
  • The panels are more airtight and environmentally safe than traditional building materials, using less energy to heat and cool, which can lower energy costs up to 60 percent.
  • Each panel can be customized with the additions of factory pre-cut openings for electrical boxes, wiring, windows, and doors.
  • Reduces overall construction time as much as 60 percent. Traditional construction takes months. Once the panels are delivered, assembly takes two to three weeks.
  • Requires no specialized tools and less skilled labor for installation. No need for expensive contractors and workers hammering and sawing. The panels snap together.
  • The very way they are made leaves a smaller carbon footprint for going green.
  • Raises the resale value of the home. Homes with SIPs are already in high demand.

Using structurally insulated panel home kits can save money over time because there are no long-term maintenance costs. When assembled properly, the panels are airtight, thus eliminating the need for upkeep and future maintenance. SIPs panels reduce construction waste, saving money on disposal. Arriving at the building site airtight and ready for assembly means the rain is not a problem and will not stop construction.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Building With Structural Insulated Panels


  • Each SIP panel for home construction is fabricated at the warehouse to precise blueprint specification. This means better control over indoor air quality by limiting outside contaminants from entering the space. Controls mold growth, allergens, and dehumidifies the air.
  • Studies show that a SIP panel if installed properly, has proven to last a lifetime and more. In use since the 1930’s, all SIP panel homes constructed properly are still standing and doing the intended job.
  • Saves on construction time. The SIP panel cost of delivery and assembly lowers the labor expenses by reducing the number of workers and materials.
  • The money saved due to lower energy bills over the years can negate the individual SIP panel cost. Saves on energy costs, making a home energy-efficient.
  • One benefit of the structural insulated panels cost is saving money on waste disposal during construction.
  • Reduces pollutants from entering the home.
  • More fire retardant than standard building materials, preventing fires from spreading to engulf the home.
  • Prevents insects and rodents from getting inside.
  • SIPs meet the American Society for Testing and Materials’ safety standards and, according to fire safety investigators, ultimately hold up very well in a fire in certain conditions.


All of the disadvantages of using structural insulated panels stem from improper installation on the construction site. If the panels are installed incorrectly, pests can invade and make nests in the insulation, heat, and fire can spread more quickly, and moisture can cause the growth of mold.

As long as each SIP panel is connected properly, structural insulated panel home kits are proving to be the best material in home building on the market today. A SIP panel home is a state of the art, futuristic, and environmentally friendly home built to last for generations.

In the end, the dirty secret about these panels is when the majority of homebuilders figure out that the structural insulated panels cost is minuscule when compared to traditional ways of construction, the demand for the product will skyrocket. Invest now before the price increases and wait times for delivery add delays.