Question

What do you think about building with SIPS?

My wife and i are about to build a 20x24' cabin with 12x20 loft in the woods in KY where we live now in a renovated bus. We are probably going with a log cabin, metal roof and and considering SIPS panels for the ceiling and possibly the floor. The roof pitch is steep. The cieling SIPS would rest over large roof timbers and they have eastern white pine tong and groove on the inside so the inside ceiling is complete upon installation. I have several questions that I need some advice on. 1. Do SIPS last a long time? how long? 2. Should I consider a heat pump or even geo thermal for such a small place that is going to be highly insulated with SIPS? 3. would radiant floor heat and a heat pump be warm enough in cold winters at 10 degrees F or might I also need something else? 4. Is there any concern using a wood burning stove inside a log home or around SIPS? We tend to run our stove very high as we like it hot and i just want to make sure it won't shrink the logs or something T

Answer

Pedro Tavares

Answered by Pedro Tavares

San Diego, CA

R & S Tavares Associates

January 14, 2010

We've worked on a few homes that utilized SIPS panels for the roof.

  • I personally think they're great in this method as they provide a remarkable amount of insulation and create a thick thermal barrier, especially from a metal roof.
  • The homes we've used them on were all flat-roofs, but I don't foresee any problems with pitched roof.

I'm not sure if using SIPS for your floor system along with radiant heating makes much sense. If you're going to use radiant heating you'd want something that would absorb the heat. Concrete is what we're used to using.

I'm sure you could get a good idea of the lifespan of a SIPS panel from a manufacturer... I don't know off the top of my head. I'd imagine it's a long time, OSB and Styrofoam will probably still be around long after you and I.

Wood stoves within log homes have been used for as long as log homes have been around. I wouldn't have any concerns with it, even liking it hot.

In my opinion, a wood stove, radiant flooring, a highly insulated home with SIPS and a good thermal mass such as a concrete floor or stone wall would be more than sufficient to keep you comfortable. A heat-pump or geothermal would just be a bonus.

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