Should I be concerned about a possible future roof leak when using SIPS to build a new home?
Considering a new build with SIPS for all exterior walls and roof members vs. a stick built roof with a spray foam insulation application.
As an advocate of Structural Insulated Panels or SIPS I believe them to be a superior building system to stick framing for residential structures. Seems that you’ve found the same fondness I have for panelized construction.
Approach SIPS as a building trade not just a material
One piece of advice that I provide folks who inquire about SIPS construction is that you should consider SIPS construction a building trade/specialty versus just a material.
It is very easy to get wrapped up in the fact that this is a building material and lose the fact that a contractor with SIPS experience is the bigger part of a successful project.
Allow me to explain.
- Sending plans to a fabricator/manufacturer and having a separate company install the panels who may or may not have experience with the material can add significant complexity to your project.
- This type of complexity can lead to issues such as the one you’ve inquired about.
- The better approach is to choose a company that will supply, fabricate and install the SIP panels and take care of all the structural rough framing for your home.
- One company in our neck of the woods is Panel Pros located in New Hampshire. Having worked with them on several projects I can offer the recommendation without hesitation.
SIP roof vs. framed roof
Now given that fear of leaking has been removed from the equation your comparison of SIP roof versus a framed roof is still up for debate.
- As long as there are no cathedral ceiling structures included in your plans, I personally prefer the option of a truss roof with spray foam insulation to R-60.
- This specification does wonders for your HERS rating and will have an impact on your energy bill.
Best of luck on your project!
For more information:
Read "Are structural insulated panels (SIPs) the right choice for building a healthy home?" a Q&A answered by Dietmar Lorenz.