Posts Tagged ‘SIPs’

Introducing IntelliStructures Blog

Dear All,

Since the Arlington Passivhaus is now at an end.  We will be moving our new content to a new blog for IntelliStructures Inc.

If you enjoyed what we wrote about here, please visit us here for discussions on Passivhaus, high performance enclosures, SIPs structures and more.

Thanks for reading!



Second Floor Done

After losing three more days to rain, we are back on track!  Intellistructures spent one day building the upper level floor system and one day putting the second floor together.  That leaves the roof panels to be set, which will hopefully happen on Monday.  By then, we will have the SIPs shell and be ready for roof dry-in and outsulation to be attached.  Similar to the foundation, two inches of EPS foam will be attached to the outer skin of the SIPs panel going from roof, walls down to where we left off on the foundation walls.  Stay tuned!

2nd Floor North View

2nd Floor South View

Interior View

12 Inch (R-46) Roof Panels

More SIPs Construction

The speed of SIPs construction is impressive.  It’s only Day 3 and the project is already looking more like a house.  Here are some pics of our progress this week.

Day 2

Day 2-2

Day 3

Setting LVL Beam

Forklifting upper level panel

Finishing upper level

SIPs are here!

After delays of every possible kind which I can’t bear to relive by writing about them, we finally have our Structural Insulated Panels (SIPs).  SureTight delivered them this morning.  For the walls, they are 8.25 inches thick (7.375″ Neopor EPS), giving us an R-Value of 35.  For the Roof, we’ll have 12.25 inch (11.375″ Neopor EPS), giving us R-53.  These R-values are not exact due to some lumbers between the panels.

Intellistructures will begin putting up the panels on Monday.  We hope to have a dry-in shell by the end of the month.

Here are some pics.

8.25" Neopor SIPs

More SIPs


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

Backfilled! Ready for SIPs

While we were practicing how to install a window in the basement, Leon Home Improvement was doing the heavy lifting, filling and tamping of dirt around the foundation.  Man, that’s a lot of dirt!  See the before and after photos.  So far we’ve had enough dirt to back fill.  I really hope we don’t have to buy more dirt!



The garage area (the cutout) will need to get filled by another 4 feet or so, because a concrete slab will be poured on top, compaction is necessary.  I pray for dry weather for the next few days.

SIPs (Structural Insulated Panels) delivery is scheduled for next week!  I can’t wait for this to look “more like a house”.

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