SIPs provide solid structure and insulation for walls and ceilings

by Michael Morley

what are structural insulated panels

Structural Insulated Panels (SIPs),  or ” what are structural insulated panels ?” are a  “new” building material that has actually been in use since the 1940s, consist of two outer skins and an inner core of an insulating material to form a monolithic unit. Most structural panels use either plywood or oriented strand board (OSB) for their facings. OSB is the principal facing material because it is available in large sizes (up to 12-ft. by 36-ft. sheets), and manufacturers have used OSB facings on structural panels used for the rigorous testing needed for code approvals. Structural panels can also have other materials, such as drywall, sheet metal, or finish lumber, laminated onto the OSB structural facings at the factory. This service eliminates one more step in the building process and speeds up assembly time.

What are Structural Insulated Panels Core?

The cores of SIPs can be made from a number of materials, including molded expanded polystyrene (EPS), extruded polystyrene (XPS), and urethane foam. Some SIP producers use isocyanurate foam as the core material, but since there is only a slight chemical difference between urethane and isocyanurate, I will refer to both of these core materials as urethane foam.

The insulating core and the two skins of a SIP are nonstructural and insubstantial components in themselves, but when pressure-laminated together under strictly controlled conditions, these materials act synergistically to form a composite that is much stronger than the sum of its parts. Panel manufacturers supply splines, connectors, adhesives, and fasteners to erect their systems. When engineered and assembled properly, a structure built with these panels needs no frame or skeleton to support it.

SIP Supply provides polyurethane structural insulated panels for the residential and commercial markets.


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