Author Topic: SIPs vs stick-frame experience?  (Read 426 times)

nereo

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SIPs vs stick-frame experience?
« on: November 01, 2018, 08:59:27 AM »
Looking for input from people who have experience with both Standard Insulating Panel (SIP) and stick-frame construction

Brief background:
We're at the very early stages of house designing in climate zone 6 (and we're not far from Zone 7). We want a smallish (~1500sqft) home that's super-insulated and can be heated primarily with a wood-burning stove.  We've had short consults with two different firms, one that pushed SIPs and another that was completely dismissive of the idea for our uses.

I like the idea of using SIPs for three reasons - higher R-value, much faster framing time, smaller HVAC and better structural strength. 
I'm concerned at how SIPs might limit modifications down the line, including adding outlets and windows or doors years later. The 'pro-stick' firm also stressed how it allows changes mid-construction, but I like spending my time having everything designed in CAD before executing the plan quickly and efficiently.

The added cost of SIPs seems pretty moderate (much of hte added cost of the panels will be saved in lower labor costs) and the 'pro-SIPs' guys think it would be an extra $3-4k but with an almost doubling of the real R value.

Who has real-world experience and what are your opinions?

NV Teacher

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Re: SIPs vs stick-frame experience?
« Reply #1 on: November 01, 2018, 11:33:24 AM »
My sister used SIPs when building her house about four years ago.  She did not have a good experience.  They required a lot of adjustments to fit on the foundation and slowed the building down significantly.  I'm not sure if the errors were made at the factory or with her general contractor that did the foundation.  She did say that she regretted going with the panels.

nereo

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Re: SIPs vs stick-frame experience?
« Reply #2 on: November 01, 2018, 11:40:47 AM »
My sister used SIPs when building her house about four years ago.  She did not have a good experience.  They required a lot of adjustments to fit on the foundation and slowed the building down significantly.  I'm not sure if the errors were made at the factory or with her general contractor that did the foundation.  She did say that she regretted going with the panels.

Sorry to hear that and thanks for sharing.  Do you know what company she went with?
The guy pushing traditional stick-frame construction's core argument was basically "everyone around here knows stick-frame construction".  But I know of a few houses around here that have used SIPs, so someone at least has to be doing it.
I worry about having a similar experience to your sister's, and am wondering if there's a reasonable way of avoiding it.

magnet18

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Re: SIPs vs stick-frame experience?
« Reply #3 on: November 02, 2018, 11:53:37 AM »
Never messed with SIPS, but if you get a good framing crew that knows what they're doing they can frame a stick built house lightning fast

When my parents built, an amish crew showed up in a couple vans and banged the whole thing out in just a couple days (2 story with full basement, 2400sqft)

It was dead-nuts square too