Don’t know how SIPs are made? SureTight shows you how

Another day of heavy rain!  What better thing to do than drive to Youngwood PA and learn how SIPs (Structural Insulated Panels) are made?  SureTight is a small SIPs manufacturer in PA.  They serve builders and homeowners all over the East Coast who want to build an airtight and very well-insulated home.  See their site here and be sure to take a look at their projects.

The oweners/partners Tim and Jim showed us how a SIPs Panel is built.

First, you start with foam.  What you see here is BASF’s Neopor EPS foam which has about 20-25% more R-value than the regular EPS (white).

Neopor EPS

EPS stands for Expanded Polystyrene.  It’s various uses range from coffee cups, insulation to packaging materials.  Watch the video below to see how it’s made.

So, because it is expanded, quality control is very important.  SureTight weighs every piece of foam to ensure it has enough density to be made into building material, then they check for an UL stamp.  Next, a carefully measured amount of glue is applied on a two pieces of OSB (Oriented Strand Boards).  This is not your Elmers or some organic horse glue.  This glue is formulated for structural use in building materials such as SIPs, I-joists and other laminated wood products and it is made to be highly resistant to moisture.

A giant tub of glue

The foam gets sandwiched between the OSB and the whole thing gets pressed through this machine.

SIPs Laminator

Then, the panel is placed in a top secret vacuum press to compress it while the glue sets.  Other companies use a hydraulic press for this.  Finally, you have a panel.

The panel then gets fed into this Hundegger CNC precision cutting machine to be cut to size.  When it comes out, the panel is extremely exact and cut with laser precision and that is because it uses lasers to ensure that level of accuracy and precision.

Window and door rough opening are then cut at a station.

Panel with Rough Opening


After all the excess foam is removed.  The panel is ready for shipment.  Some of these are ours!

Finished SIPs

SIPs can be made to all different shapes, thicknesses and sizes, it all depends on the needs of the builder/homeowners.

Different Shapes


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