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Potential Challenges of Working with SIPs and How to Address Them

Posted by on February 28, 2019 in News Flash with 0 Comments

SIPs or structural insulated panels only account for a small portion of new builds and renovations around the UK. Despite this, SIPs are gaining popularity in building low-energy homes. The primary advantage of using SIPs is the excellent insulation property and airtightness of the resulting building envelope. Moreover, it is also faster to build using SIPs since the panels are pre-fabricated and cut to size ready for installation once delivered to the project site.

Although it appears that SIPs are better than conventional construction techniques, there are still several challenges encountered by builders when working with SIP panels. Learning about these challenges and how to overcome them will ensure a more successful approach to future projects using SIP UK panels.

Plan the project according to standard manufacturer sizes

Similar to other pre-fabricated construction materials, SIPs come in standard sizes. The issue here is that cutting the boards to fit the requirements of the project will compromise their integrity. As such, in designing with SIPs in mind, these standard sizes need to be considered carefully. It is also best to minimise waste by ensuring that every inch of the panel is used.

The cost of SIPs

SIPs are more expensive than other conventional building materials. The price is one of the reasons why many hesitate to adopt SIPs for constructing new builds. Although many have considered SIPs for renovations and retrofits, some often assume that the initial cost of the material will contribute to higher overall spending.

What some fail to consider is that when you are building with SIPs, you will pay less on labour because the structure gets completed faster. In designing and planning with SIPs, rough estimates are necessary to determine the total cost of the build when compared with traditional construction materials.

Construction space

Building with SIPS also requires that there is enough space for storing the panels as well as erecting them. Depending on the size of the panels, you may need to use heavy equipment such as a crane to raise the boards and put them in place. If the construction site is small, this can prove to be challenging for the builder.

Adequate sealing and the right jointing method

The airtightness of SIPs contributes to the overall stability of the structure. Poorly installed SIPs will likely have air leakage and inadequate sealing placed on the joints. If this is the case, the optimum thermal performance of the structure will not be achieved. It is recommended to work with an expert builder who knows accurate jointing and sealing practices.

Moisture protection

SIPs are sensitive to moisture. When these panels get soaked in water before installation, the oriented strand board will degrade because the foam insulation prevents water from drying out. A weather barrier or house wrap is typically installed for the panels before installation to prevent moisture from damaging the panels. Make sure that the manufacturer guidelines are followed in flashing and installing house wrap.

Image: Pixabay.com

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