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Efficiency

Smart Construction Materials: The pros and cons of Structural Insulated Panels

Alice-India Garwood
by Alice-India Garwood on February 12, 2019

Sometimes in construction we can fall in to habitual purchases when it comes to our materials. We won’t look outside of the options in front of us. You could be saving money and time and even improving the quality of the finished product by taking a little side step. Maybe Structural Insulated Panels aren’t right for your project and you need to look elsewhere, or maybe they’re perfect and you just haven’t given them the chance yet. Take a look at our pros and cons of Structural Insulated Panels.


Made with rigid foam at its core and encased with lumber, Structural Insulated Panels, or SIPs, are a form of prefabricated building material for residential and lighter commercial projects.

construction, technology, innovation, efficiency, bobtrade, materials, building, supplies[Photo Credit: Penny Pincher Journal]

There are a myriad of benefits to using Structural Insulated Panels on your project.

First of all is the low cost. The materials themselves are low in cost and the light weight and ease at which they can be put up means you’re only going to need a minimal workforce.

"The materials themselves are low in cost and the light weight allowing for quick and easy assembly."

Then of course, as stated above, it’s lightweight. This makes the construction process simple and safe for even a first time house builder.

The lightweight of SIPs doesn’t impact on the strength either. This practise is used in places like Japan and parts of the US prone to earthquakes to great effect.

With thicker panels comes greater insulation. This will save costs in the long run when it comes to heating and air conditioning.

construction, technology, innovation, efficiency, bobtrade, materials, building, supplies[Photo Credit: SIPs Industries]

There are of course some downsides to SIPs that may make them unsuitable for your project.

For instance, there is some doubt around the longevity of this method for house building. It is predicted that SIP built homes may only have a lifespan of about 60 years. This has not been fully proven as of yet but it is something to consider for your project - will the need for replacement impede on the ongoing quality of the project?

Whilst the airtightness of the structure using SIPs is one of the major pros of this particular construction material, it does have a downside. Extra time needs to be allocated for the addition of air flow vents to prevent damp. Definitely something to consider.

"Because SIPs are relatively new there is some question about longevity. Will possible need for replacement impede on the ongoing quality of the project?"

Adding electricity cables can also be a bit of a pain. Sometimes these are added as the walls are put up, but generally there has to be an addition of plaster board to make this work.

construction, technology, innovation, efficiency, bobtrade, materials, building, supplies[Photo Credit: Allan Corfields Architects]

Arguably the most important disadvantage to consider is that SIPs are still quite new. If you want a high quality build you will want someone who is experienced in using SIPs on a project of your size. It may be trickier to find workers with these skills or you may be looking at paying that little bit more.

Whatever you decide to use for your upcoming builds, make sure it works for you and the needs of your project. Efficiency is the key to success!

Tags: Efficiency

AUTHOR
Alice-India Garwood

Alice-India Garwood

Content Marketing Executive at Bobtrade. Interested in design, sustainability and the history of construction. I love all things indie and theatrical.