RAY-CORE Structural Insulated Panels Claims Confirmed by Dow Test Home Study

RAY-CORE Structural Insulated Panels has been telling people since the mid ‘80s that building with their unique SIPs will save you money.  Dow’s first-year data from their five-year energy-efficiency study indirectly confirms this claim.

Structural Insulated Panels Homes by RAY-CORE

RAY-CORE Structural Insulated Panels Produce a Continuous Super Insulated, Super Airtight Fortress Against The Elements

In the fall of 2011 Dow teamed up with Cobblestone Homes in Midland, Michigan to build 12 energy efficient test homes, specifically designed to gather data regarding home energy efficiency based on whole-house insulation, air sealing and real-world living conditions.

Looking for a way to sell skeptical buyers on the idea that a small upfront investment in energy efficient construction can yield long-term energy (and money) saving results, Cobblestone Homes owner Mark Whal came up this this idea and pitched it to Dow.

The study includes 3 different homes of similar floor plans, and builds these homes to each of four different design and resulting energy standards.  These standards range from a baseline of the 2006 International Conservation Code to the exceeding the 2012 Energy Conservation Code.  Varying types and resulting varying R-value levels of insulation were used in each installation.  Materials included fiberglass insulation bats, spray polyurethane foam and Dow’s Styrofoam exterior continuous insulation.  Sensors in each home will provide important energy usage data over a five year period while the homes are used as rental properties.

With the intended purpose of this study is to gather important whole-house energy efficiency data, Jim Morey, residential market manager of Dow Building Solutions stated, “The results will enable builders to make a stronger case to homeowners and potential buyers that high-performance solutions can cost-effectively maximize home value and comfort while lowering homeownership costs.”

First-year data results show that building with continuous and closed-cell insulation shows a 30% improvement in air leakage over homes built to the 2006 standards using fiberglass batt insulation and conventional housewraps.

Homeowners and builders worrying that increased energy efficiency can only come with a extremely high cost, this study shows that with an investment of about $5,000, homeowners will receive a lifetime of energy cost savings.

So where does RAY-CORE’s Structural Insulated Panels fit into all this?  Although RAY-CORE was not included a part of this study, the outcome when utilizing the practices is the same.  Overall performance results when using RAY-CORE’s closed cell polyurethane foam SIP wall panels, and SIP roof panels with integrated vapor barrier, and coupled with their insulated headers, results in continuous super insulated, super airtight, fortress against the elements that would easily meet and most likely exceed the results found in this study.  And all this for even LESS than Cobblestone’s $5,000 upfront investment!

RAY-CORE SIPs Panel HomeTo learn more about Dow’s TEETH homes and view a chart outlining the construction approaches used and results for each home in this study, visit Remodeling Magazine’s August 2013 article.  And for more about how RAY-CORE SIPs can help save energy and money for the lifetime of your next home, simply click the green button on the side of this page or visit RAY-CORE’s Structural Insulated Panels Website at www.raycore.com.  Feel free Call now to speak with a knowledgeable representative at 1.877.552.2440.

Structural Insulated SIP Panel Insulation – Part 3. Compare the Foams

SIP panel insulation is offered in several different forms.  In this post, part 3 of a series of 6 on different types of insulation on the market, we discuss the difference between rigid plastic foam insulations.  In the table below we compare various foams R-values, characteristics and advantages and disadvantages to that used in RAY-CORE’s structural insulated panels.  Just one more step in making the decision when purchasing a SIP panel for your next home.

RAY-CORE uses only the best… super insulating closed cell polyurethane foam in their structural insulated panels.  Different than standard SIPs, RAY-CORE panels take the tried and true construction practice of using studs, fills the voids with high R-value foam, adds a radiant vapor barrier all wrapped up in a modular, lightweight panel with superior strength.  If you would like to learn more now about RAY-CORE’s SIP panel, visit our website by clicking the green button to the right of the screen, or phone 877.552.2440

3. RIGID FOAM INSULATIONS
TYPER-VALUEMADE FROM &
CHARACTERISTICS
ADVANTAGESDISADVANTAGES
Expanded Polystyrene
Foam (EPS)
3.5 - 4.35 per inchSmall spherical beads
heated and molded
into insulated panel
form

Similar to the material
used for coffee cups

Open cell foam
* Higher R-value
per inch than
fiberglass
* R-value based on
density
* Good vapor retarder
* If sealed, can
provide air barrier
* Good acoustical
qualities
* Can withstand
flooding
* More expensive
than fiberglass
* Semi-permeable
* Can retain
moisture, cause
adjoining wood rot
and support mold
growth
* Can be flammable
and melt
Extruded Polystyrene
Foam (XPS)
3.8 per inch
(some claim up
to R-5. Recent
EPA changes to
manufacturing
product, much
diminished)
Polystyrene pellets
melted chemically and
injected with blowing
agent to form small
air pockets and
pushed through
shaping die to form
insulation panel

Closed cell foam
* Good R-value per
inch
* Dense - resists
compression,
impact or
deformation
* Stronger than
polystyrene
* Good acoustical
qualities
* Low permeability
* Can withstand
flooding
* More expensive
than fiberglass,
polystyrene or
polyurethane
* Can be flammable
and melt
* Can somewhat
degrade if long-term
exposure to sunlight
Polyurethane Foam7-8 per inch2-part chemical
(biproduct of petroleum)
mixed and injected
with blowing agent to
form small air pockets
and molded to form
insulation panel

Closed cell foam
* Highest R-value
* Dense - resists
compression,
impact or
deformation
* Superior strength
* Provides air barrier
* Good acoustical
qualities
* Low permeability
* No moisture
retention causing
rot or mold
* Can withstand
flooding
* Class 1 fire-rated
* More expensive
than fiberglass,
polystyrene or
polyurethane
* Can somewhat
degrade if long-term
exposure to sunlight
Soy Based (Biobased)
Foam
3.5 - 6.3 per inchNatural polyol that
uses soy in the foam

Closed cell foam
* Good R-value per inch
* R-value based on
density
* Good vapor retarder
* Good acoustical
qualities
* Low permeability
* Expensive
* Few manufacturers
and little availability
RAY-CORE STRUCTURAL INSULATED SIP PANEL
TYPER-VALUEMADE FROM &
CHARACTERISTICS
ADVANTAGESDISADVANTAGES
Polyurethane Foam7 - 8 per inch2-part chemical
(byproduct of
petroleum) mixed
and injected with
blowing agent to form
small air pockets and
molded to form
insulation panel

Closed cell foam
* RAY-CORE
Structural Insulated
Panels made with
high-density
polyurethane
closed cell foam
offers higher R-values
than most SIPs
* Very dense
* Superiorly strong
* Properly sealed,
eliminates air infiltration
* More expensive
than fiberglass or
polystyrene
but good return on
investment with a
lifetime of energy
savings (More R-
value for dollar
spent)

SIP Panel Insulations - Compare the Foams

Structural Panel (SIP) Comparison to Other Insulations – Part 2. Batt & Blanket Insulation

Our last post we compared structural panel Insulation (SIP) to loose-fill insulation, in hopes to provide an easy way for you to make comparisons.  To continue with this theme, today we are going to explore Batt and Blanket Insulation in comparison to RAY-CORE structural panel insulation by looking at R-value per inch and some of the advanatages and disadvantages.

If you take a careful look at the table below you will see that in comparison to batt and blanket insulation, RAY-CORE’s structural panel insulation (SIP) is far superior. The panelized form offers the added benefit of framing, insulation and wrap all in one structural panel and one step.  To learn more now about RAY-CORE SIPs, visit our website and see how RAY-CORE will pay you back in savings for the lifetime of your home. Click the green button on the right of your screen now or call 877.552.2440 to speak with one of our experienced RAY-CORE representatives.

2. BATTS & BLANKETS
TypeR-valueMade From &
Characteristics
AdvantagesDisadvantages
Fiberglass Batt or
Blanket
2.2 - 4.3 per inchSoft, wool-like
material - usually
pink, yellow or
white
* Inexpensive
* Non-flammable but
will melt
* Readily available
* DIY friendly? (If you
don't mind the itch)
* R-value reduced by
compression, air
currents and dust and
dirt accumulation
* If wet, must be
replaced
* Irritating to work with
- use eye protection
and air filtration mask
Rockwool Batt or
Blanket
3.0 - 3.3 per inchSpun molten rock
or iron ore blast
furnace slag
* Non-flammable - won't
melt or burn
* Produced from post industrial recycled
waste products
* DIY friendly
* Faces same issues
as fiberglass if not
installed carefully -
compression
reduces R-value, gaps
and voids allow air
flow and moisture
* If wet, must be
replaced
Cotton Batt or
Blanket
3.7 per inchPrimarily made
from recycled
cotton and
polyester mill
scraps
* Performs similar to
fiberglass
* Higher recycled
content
* DIY friendly
* Fibers don't cause
itchiness that
fiberglass does
* 15 - 20% more
expensive than
fiberglass
* Faces same issues
as fiberglass if not
installed carefully -
compression reduces
R-value, gaps and
voids allow air flow
and moisture
* Requires vapor
retarder or barrier
* Difficult to cut
* If wet, must be
replaced
RAYCORE STRUCTURAL PANEL INSULATION (SIP)
TypeR-valueMade From &
Characteristics
AdvantagesDisadvantages
Polyurethane Foam7 - 8 per inchDow 2-part chemical
(byproduct of
petroleum) mixed
and injected with
blowing agent to
form small air
pockets and molded
to form insualtion
panel
* Highest R-value
* Dense - resists
compression, impact,
or deformation
* Superior strength
* Provides air barrier
* Good acoustical
qualities
* Low permeability
* No moisture retention,
causing rot or mold
* Can withstand
flooding
* Class 1 fire-rated
*More expensive than
fiberglass or polystyrene
but good return on
investment with a
lifetime of energy
savings
* Can somewhat
degrade if long-term exposure to sunlight
(Construction
practices do not
lend to this being a
problem)

Structural Panel Insulation by RAY-CORE vs. Batt Insulation

Structural Insulated Panel (SIP) Compared to Other Insulations – Part 1. Loose-Fill Insulation

Comparing structural insulated panel (SIP) to other forms of insulation, can be a long and tedious process, so we thought we would do the work for you.  Our previous post broke insulation down into 6 categories.  To get a better picture of how different insulations compare, the next 6 posts will take these categories and further break them down identifying some of the more common insulation products, compare insulation R-value per inch, and discuss some of the advantages and disadvantages.

Take a look at the table below and compare the superior qualities of RAY-CORE’s structural insulated panel (SIPs) to see why you must consider RAY-CORE when building your next home.  To learn more, visit our website and see why structural insulated panel construction with RAY-CORE is the smart choice.  Just click the green button on the right of your screen now or call 877.552.2440 to speak with a knowledgeable RAY-CORE representative.

1. LOOSE-FILL INSULATION
TYPER-VALUEMADE FROM &
CHARACTERISTICS
ADVANTAGESDISADVANTAGES
Fiberglass Loose-Fill2.2 - 2.7 per inchSpun molten glass
fibers

Soft, wool-like material,
Usually pink, yellow or white
* Inexpensive
* Good coverage - fills
hollow cavities, voids,
around framing and
mechanicals
* Works well in attics
* Non-flamable, but will
melt
* DIY Friendly? (If you
don't mind the itch) -
requires blowing
machine
* R-value reduced
by compression, air
currents and
subsequent dust
and dirt
accumulation
* Tends to settle
reducing R-value
* If wet, must be
replaced
* Irritating to work
with - wear eye
protection and air
infitration mask
Cellulose Loose-Fill3.2 - 3.8 per inchGround recycled paper
products

Fire-retardant added to
reduce flammability
* Good coverage
* Works well in attics
* Less air movement
and reduction in
R-value than fiberglass
* Sound absorbing
* Higher recycled
content
*No itch associated
with fiberglass
*DIY friendly- requires blowing machine
* Allows for air and
moisture movement
without continuous,
near perfect air and
vapor barrier
*Tends to settle
reducing R-value
and leaving
uninsulated areas
at top of walls
* Loss of fire-retardant
performance with time
* Can draw moisture
and promote mold
* If wet, must be
replaced
Cellulose Damp Spray3.5 - 3.8 per inchGround recycled paper
products, similar to
loose-fill cellulose,
applied with small
quantity of water to
help it bind to wall
cavities to reduce
settling
* Good coverage
* Less settling than
loose-fill cellulose
* Non-flammable (with
added fire retardant)
* Many of same
issues as loose-fill
cellulose (see
above)
* Must allow
insualtion to dry
prior to covering
* Special installation
equipment required -
not DIY friendly
Rockwool Loose-fill

(Also known as mineral wool)
3.0 - 3.3 per inchSpun molten rock or
iron ore blast furnace
slag - made into long
fibers in a similar
process as fiberglass

(One time the most
common type of
insulation - replaced
by fiberglass)
* Similar advantages
as loose-fill fiberglass
(see above)
* Non-flamable - won't
melt or burn
* Produced from post
industrial recycled
waste products
* Tends to settle
* Very dense and
heavy
* Must be installed
with a blowing
machine - Not as
DIY friendly
* Wear eye protection
and air filtration mask
RAY-CORE STRUCTURAL INSULATED PANEL (SIP)
TYPER-VALUEMADE FROM &
CHARACTERISTICS
ADVANTAGESDISADVANTAGES
Polyurethane Foam7 - 8 per inchDow 2-part chemical
(byproduct of
petroleum) mixed and
injected with blowing
agent to form small
air pockets and
molded to form
insulation panel

Closed Cell Foam
* Highest R-value
* Dense - resists
compression, impact or
deformation
* Superior strength
* Provides excellent air
barrier
* Good acoustical
qualities
* Low permeability
* No moisture retention,
causing rot or mold
* Can withstand flooding
* Class-1 fire rated
* More expensive
than fiberglass or
polystyrene but
good investment
with a lifetime of
energy savings
(more R-value
per dollar spent)
* Can somewhat
degrade if long-term
exposure to sunlight
(Construction
practices do not lend
to this being a
problem)

Insulated Panels by RAY-CORE vs Loose-fill Insulation

Structural Insulating Panel (SIP) – Comparing Insulation Options

When making the decision to build with a structural insulating panel, many want to compare insulating materials. This can be a long and tedious process, so we thought we would do the work for you.

6 Categories of Insulation                                   

Structural Insulating Panel SIP - Comparing Insulation - RAYCORE

Structural Insulating Panel (SIP) – Comparing Insulations

Whether building with a structural insulating panel or using other types of construction, insulation pretty much fall into one of 6 categories.

  1. Loose Fill– granular or fluffy material that can be poured or blown into hollow cavities or open attics
    • Advantages – relatively inexpensive; properly installed, it fills the space without cutting or fitting
    • Disadvantages – settles or moves around and allows air infiltration
  2. Batts and Blankets– made mostly from spun materials into a mat.  Batts come precut lengths and blankets come in long rolls
    • Advantages – inexpensive and readily available
    • Disadvantages – limited R-value per inch;  careful installation practices required to effectively install; compression diminishes R-value and gaps or voids allow air and moisture infiltration
  3. Rigid Plastic Foam– available in boards, forms or structural insulated panels made from several types of plastic foam; each has different R-values and characteristics;  the standard for structural insulating panel
    • Advantages – very high R-values per inch; insulation panels are some cases lightweight and easy to install;  consistent R-values; resistant to water penetration at varying degrees; some can be used below grade;
    • Disadvantages – some are flammable and must be protected by a fire-rated covering
  4. Spray Applied– primarily made from plastic foams with different R-values and performance characteristics
    • Advantages – seals cavities and voids, even small spaces; higher R-values per inch
    • Disadvantages – expensive; R-value diminishes with time; can shrink leaving voids; performance based on quality of installation;
  5. Reflective Materials – to be discussed in future post
  6. Other

Our next 6 posts will include charts showing the different types of insulating materials out there, compare insulating R-values per inch, talk about what they are made from and the advantages and disadvantages of each product.

If you are finalizing the decision regarding the use of a structural insulating panel in your next home, take the time to visit our website.  RAY-CORE structural insulating panels (SIPs) are different.  They are the smart structural insulating panel.  Just click the green button to the right of your screen now or call 877.552.2440 to speak with a representative.

Structural Insulation Panels Choices – Foams and R-Values

When purchasing insulation panels of any type the first question should be, “How much R-value do you want or need?”

Just what is R-value?

R-value is a rating used to measure a material’s thermal resistance, better understood as the ability for heat to travel through it. The higher the R-value, the greater the materials insulating effectiveness.  This varies, depending on the type of insulating material, its thickness and how dense it is.  Simply stated, the harder it is for heat to flow through your walls or roof, the lower your heating and cooling costs.

Most structural insulated panels use various types of foams as insulation, each with its own corresponding R-value.  Let’s take a closer look at these different insulation panel foams.

insulation panels foams RAY-CORE
Insulation Panels Foam Choices

Expanded Polystyrene (EPS)

This is the most common form of foam insulation used in structural insulation panels.  We all are familiar with the white foam coffee cups and packaging made up of a thousand tiny beads of foam compressed together.  EPS is the most readily available and least expensive foam on the market but it also is one of the lowest in R-value at around 4 per inch, based on the foams density.  Because of its low R-value, walls need to be thicker to achieve required insulation values.  With a high perm rating, moisture and associated rot and molds can be a real problem.  And EPS’s low melting point allows for builders to carve the product with heated cutting tools, but also reduces the product’s resistance to fire.

Extruded Polystyrene (XPS)

Extruded polystyrene foam insulation panels are similar in appearance to EPS insulation panels with the manufacturing process the being the most significant difference.  At one time XPS claimed to have a higher R-value than EPS, but with recent environmental changes in materials used for manufacturing, XPS R-values fall slightly below the R-4 of EPS.  XPS is stronger than EPS foam, has a lower perm rating and higher melting point which makes it harder to work with but more resistant to fire than EPS.  With the availability low, structural insulated panels made with XPS are generally more expensive than EPS SIPs.

Polyurethane (PUR) / Polyisocyanurate (PIR)

Structural insulation panels made with polyurethane and polyisocyanurate are so similar in composition that in the case of manufactured insulation panels, they can be considered the same.  Polyurethane panels have the highest insulating R-value of any foam at around 7 per inch. Dense  with superior strength and with a much greater R-value per inch, thin walls and roofs are possible while still maintaining an optimum insulation performance.  Low perm rates make it highly resistant to moisture and molds.  With a high melting point that offers a class-1 fire rating, the foam is easy to work with using standard construction tools.  More expensive than the styrene products, polyurethane is a far superior product offering a much greater return for your investment.

RAY-CORE superior insulating structural insulation panels are made with high density closed cell polyurethane foam.  Watch for our next post where we will see how structural insulation panel foams compare to other insulation products and methods.

You can learn more now about RAY-CORE’s structural insulated panels SIPs by clicking on the green button on the right of your screen.

SIPs Insulation Panels Choices – Making the Decision

If the decision is to build with a structural insulation panels, the next choice to make is what kind of panel and what type of insulation.

It All Adds Up

With heating and cooling costs accounting for 50 – 70% of the energy used in your home, a well-insulated building envelope adds directly to “money savings”.  Furthermore, keeping the temperatures relatively equal throughout your house adds to your personal comfort. And, in the end, less heating and cooling means less demands on our energy resources and reduced carbon emissions, adding up to a better future.

How it Works    

Insulation Panels Choices RAYCORE

Insulation Panels Choices

What do we talk about nothing more than the weather? Comfort. Stating the obvious, it’s hot outside in the summer and cold outside in the winter.  Funny thing is, we don’t really like that.  We prefer the temperature to stay pretty steady, varying only a few degrees either way, especially in our homes.Heat, on the other hand, is always trying to warm things up.  If it is warm outside, heat tries to work its way into our cooler living spaces.  And if it is cold outside, all that heat we pay for that our furnace works so hard to produce is trying to get outside and warm things up.  Insulation is the barrier we use to try to keep heat where we really want it.Whether we insulate with fiberglass batts, loose fill cellulose, foams that are sprayed or in an insulation panels, straw bales or even compacted dirt (did you know dirt can insulate?), they all work by limiting the movement of heat.  Each has different characteristics and the amount of material required to achieve the same results is based on the insulating material’s R-value, or ability to resist the movement of heat.  The higher the R-value, the better the insulating effectiveness.So Which Kind Is Best?The most correct answer to that question is, “It depends”.  There are a lot of questions that factor into the answer.  How much insulation do you want?  How much space do you have or do you want to give up?  Is availability of the product a factor?  Is price a factor?  Is there anything else that is a factor?Structural Insulation Panel Choices

When it comes to structural insulation panels or SIPs, in most cases foams are the insulation of choice.  In our next post, we will discuss in depth the different types of insulations commonly available in structural insulation panels.  We will point out varying characteristics, the associated pros and cons and compare them to other forms of insulation generally used in construction.  All this hoping to assist you in choosing the best type of insulation for you.

Watch for our next post, and you can learn more about RAY-CORE’s structural insulation panels by clicking the green button on the right of your screen.

SIP Panel Construction vs Stick Framing – Part 2 – Pros and Cons

SIP Panel Construction or Stick Framing?  Making the Decision.  Let’s discuss some of the advantages and disadvantages of each of the options. 

Stick Framing

Pros:  Stick framing, a century old form of construction, any experienced contractor knows the basics of stick framing.  Materials are readily available and relatively inexpensive. An adaptable form of construction changes are easily made once the project has started. Readily accommodates almost any size or placement of windows or doors and is flexible to specific design details. No out of the ordinary engineering or code approvals are required.

Cons:  The process. made up of many steps – measuring, cutting, fitting and nailing each stick is time consuming, with mistakes and materials waste common costing money.  Stick framing is difficult to seal and effectively insulate.  Air infiltration leads to condensation and moisture problems.  Wall thickness limits insulation values.  Fiberglass batts and cellulose insulation are only marginally good insulators and have drawbacks.  They do little to seal and their performance depends wholly on the quality of the installation. Air infiltration leads to condensation and moisture problems, leaving the wood susceptible to insect infestation and rot.   Adding spray foam helps to seal and boosts R-value but doesn’t guarantee an airtight envelope and insulation value decreases with time and the substantially higher cost doesn’t provide a good return for the added investment.  Wood burns easily.

SIP Panel Construction

Pros:  Conventional SIP Panel or “Sandwich Panels” have been around since the 1950’s, the invention of Alden B. Dow, a student of Frank Lloyd Wright.   Material costs may be more, but speed and efficiency of installation saves time and money.  Weather delays are limited and a home can be under roof in half the time or less.  SIP panel construction produces a structure with superior strength and racking resistance.  The polystyrene insulation core has a much higher R-value per inch compared to fiberglass and cellulose insulations.   Increased R-values and reduced infiltration produce energy savings costs over the lifetime of your home.

Cons:  New to many builders, they find SIPs to be unfamiliar and intimidating refusing to work with them.  Special tools and often cranes are required for installation.  Careful project planning and sufficient lead time is required to accommodate special engineering, code approvals, manufacturing and shipping of the product.

SIP Panel Rot - RAY-CORE Panels - NO OSB to Rot!

Conventional “Sandwich” SIP Panel Rely on thier OSB Skins for Structural Support – Moisture is thier Enemy!

Custom made and cut to order, on-site changes or panel damage will result in substantial time and money costs for replacement.  Relying solely on OSB skins for their strength, glue failure can cause delamination and structural failure.   OSB is highly susceptible to moisture and exposure will cause rot requiring the total replacement of your wall or roof system.  Styrofoam is flammable and melts at high temperatures.

RAY-CORE SIP Panels – ALL THE PROS, WITHOUT THE CONS

In the mid 80’s, Harry Raymond, a general contractor for over 50 years, believed that the construction industry needed a better alternative to building strong, energy efficient homes.  Considering the advantages of both stick framing and SIP panel construction, and eliminating the associated problems, Harry developed RAY-CORE.  RAY-CORE Structural Insulated Panels offer the strongest, most unique, highly insulating, airtight SIPs on the market.  Believing your home should be held up with something more reliable than OSB and glue, studs are molded in place with superiorly insulating fire resistant polyurethane foam and the panels are wrapped in a radiant foil vapor barrier.  Builder-friendly RAY-CORE SIP panels utilize conventional framing practices and are lightweight, fast and easy to use. Fully modular and adaptable, there are no rights or lefts, ups or downs.  If you can build it with sticks you can build it with RAY-CORE.  Resistant to moisture, mold and rot, RAY-CORE SIP panels are affordable, labor- saving construction that offers a lifetime of up to 40% energy savings to boot.  All Pros without the Cons, building with RAY-CORE SIP panels is a win-win situation!    

SIP Panels vs Stick Framing – Part 1 – The Basics

The first big decision – SIP Panels or Stick Framing?  Why will I choose Structural Insulating Panels over the alternative?  Why not?  Which is the best framing choice for you?  Let’s start with the basics.

SIP vs Stick Framing RAY-CORE

SIP Panel vs Stick Framing – Making the Decision

Traditional stick framing as we know it has been around since the 1800’s.  Also known as “light-frame construction”, this form of construction consists of vertical structural members called “studs” providing the framework of a building. Headers support the weight of the structure above wall penetrations, such as doors and windows.   Rigid panels attached such as OSB or plywood and diagonal wood or metal bracing provide much of the strength to resist the forces of wind and seismic movement.  Wall sections usually include a bottom plate that is secured to the floor of the structure and two top plates that tie the walls together and carry the weight of the structure above.

SIP PANEL BASICS

Conventional structural insulated panels, as we know them, have been around since the 1950’s.  The most common structural insulated panel or SIP panel consists of a foam core insulation material, commonly polystyrene, sandwiched between two sheets of OSB and adhered with a glue.  Strength of the SIPs come from the combination of these materials.   These “sandwich panels” are joined one to another with a spline and attached at the floor with a dimensional lumber bottom plate and supported at the top with top plates as in conventional framing.

A DIFFERENT KIND OF SIP!

Different from conventional SIP panels, RAY-CORE structural insulated panels are an even better insulation panel.  RAY-CORE utilizes the centuries-old tried-and-true benefits of conventional stick-framing while putting into practice state-of-the-art advanced framing techniques.  Producing a lightweight modular panel consisting of integrated studs, super insulating polyurethane foam injected between the studs and wrapped in a foil radiant vapor barrier, RAY-CORE offers something different for those looking for the strongest, most dependable, best insulating and airtight high-tech product on the market.

Watch for our next post where we will discuss the advantages and disadvantages associated with stick framing, SIP Panel construction and RAY-CORE Structural Insulated Panels.  For more information now, click on the green button found on the right side of your screen!

Structural Insulated Panels – Making the Decision

With all the different Structural Insulated Panels to choose from, what really makes the difference?  Our next few posts will discuss some of the differences in SIP products and materials.  We hope this will help you in the decision making process and why they might be the right choice for you and your next home.

Basics – What Are Structural Insulated Panels?

Structural Insulated Panels Decisions RAY-CORE

Structural Insulated Panels – Decisions & Choices

If you are new to this topic, a simple definition of Structural Insulated Panels SIPs is prefabricated panels used to frame generally the exterior walls, roof or the floor of your home. With structural insulated panels you get both the framing and insulation in one package.  The result is strong, highly insulating and airtight panelized form of construction.

Different Types of Structural Insulated Panels

When we speak of structural insulated panels or SIPs, we actually refer to a variety of products and materials.  The most common type of SIP panel is the “sandwich panel” also sometimes called a “stressed-skin panel”.  These SIPs panels consist of an insulating material “sandwiched” between two outer “skins”, most commonly sheets of oriented strand board or OSB.  Some manufacturers offer other types of “skins” such as plywood, fiber-cement board, and metal in place of the OSB.  The two materials are laminated together with an adhesive to form a combination panel.

The OSB or outer skin material primarily makes up the “structural” part of the insulated panels.  The insulating material, along with other elements that join the sandwich panels and affix them to the floor and roof of the structure may also provide some structural support.

Most structural insulated panels insulating material is of the “foam type” with polystyrene the most commonly used.  Polystyrene comes in two forms, expanded polystyrene (EPS) and extruded polystyrene (XPS) with varying features and qualities that will be discussed in an upcoming post.  Less commonly offered, but superiorly performing “foam” insulations of polyurethane and polyisocyanurate are available if you want to get the best insulation value for your money.  A few soy-based foam products are out there for the super environmentally conscious.  And if you don’t want foams at all, you can purchase panels that have compressed wheat straw as their insulating core!  Choices.

If Not a Sandwich Panel, Than What Else Is There?

A completely different type of structural insulated panel is offered by RAY-CORE.  In an attempt to overcome the common problems associated with conventional SIPs, RAY-CORE created a unique patented SIP panel product.  Not a “sandwich panel”, RAY-CORE panels consist of studs, the highest R-value polyurethane foam and a radiant vapor barrier.

In future posts we will discuss differences, pros and cons of stick framing vs. structural insulated panels, other framing systems, various insulating materials options, and look at the real cost of SIPs and why you wouldn’t want to build with anything else!  Decisions.

While you are waiting, if you would like find out more now about RAY-CORE SIPs, just click on the green button on the right side of your screen!