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Thread: SIPs for remote cabin project?

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    Default SIPs for remote cabin project?

    Hi Folks,

    Anyone have experience using SIPs (foam panels) on remote cabin projects?

    I see benefits to using the SIPs but moving and handling might be a challenge.

    Spenards offers a foam panel kit that looks interesting...

    Thanks...

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    Member AKDoug's Avatar
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    I think they are unnecessarily expensive for a smaller cabin. A stick framed cabin with R21 insulation and a proper vapor barrier is more than enough for even the coldest weather. Just finding a woodstove small enough to not cook you out is a challenge with modern construction.
    Bunny Boots and Bearcats: Utility Sled Mayhem

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    The Mrs likes the speed with which a cabin can go together. She has seen several cabin projects languish over years... the framing going rather fast but then the insulating and interior lagging.

    My next step is to get an estimate from Premier Panels to see how much more they are than stick...

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    I looked into SIPS for a slightly larger project, small house about 1600 feet above grade
    I was really j***ed when I talked to the rep in WA but the shipping MORE than doubled the price
    I'd echo the recommendation for a tight stick frame construction or if you can get a cement truck to the property maybe ICFs which are what we're looking into

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    Talk with the guys at Alchem in Anchorage they have been doing panelizes buildings in Alaska for 30 plus years . They could fill you in real quick and they make the product there . 907-243-2177

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    How big are we talking? The biggest panels you are going to be able to haul into a truely remote cabin is most likely going to be a 4x8 section. I'm not sure that's going to be any faster, especially considering that the roof is going to have to be stick framed unless you can figure out how to lift big panels. On a 16x20 cabin it's only going to be a difference of a couple days in labor saved by going to panels....maybe.
    Bunny Boots and Bearcats: Utility Sled Mayhem

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    The plan is 20x24. Transport is about 25 miles and mostly over river so not having to thread thru trees. I estimated the roof sections would be largest at about 4'x16'. Hoping to utilize a group of guys and beer muscles to get the larger panels in place...

    The shipping of the panels may be the killer. Am going to start discussing with barge lines.

    The other issue I see with SIPs is that you are locked into window and door placement based on the design sent to the factory (you can do it but it takes time and some tooling for the foam). With stick framing you can move things around as it comes together.

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    Transport would be over frozen river in spring that is...

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    Some years back when I took the state weather program for house building the instructor showed us some slides that completely convinced me that I would NEVER use Sips panels or any other brand like them.
    The reason is they are made square.When you build your foundation and floor you will try to make it level in all ways, but even the best of floors are never perfect. Now when you slide all those panels together you will have a crack where the panels don't all fit right.air will leak in. They may have changed since the early days of them but back then they said you where not to add a vapor berier as it was not needed. Well I saw the photos of the rot to the Osb board. the rot went some 18 ins in each direction from those seems and it was bad. This was on roof panels in Juneau on a large apartment complex and it happen in just a few short years. They may have their place but for me they won't ever be used. Framing a place is so easy and fast I would never consider them in the bush. I could have a 20x24 framed and closed in by myself in a week. As for the time getting it finished to please the Mrs. Sips panels or hand framed it doesn't matter you still need to put the effort forward every day or as was said it turns into years. That could only happen by not working at it.

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    Paot,

    Have you gotten a quote from SBS? I've been curious about SIPS too, just not close enough yet to building a bigger cabin to spend the time chasing down costs. I don't view being locked in to window and door locations as being a negative. You should decide what you want before you buy the materials whatever construction method you use.

    Power Drifter may be quick with the framing and insulating but I'm not. My first cabin was made from panels I built myself at my house in Anchorage and then hauled out to the cabin site. For me, hauling panels by snowmachine is much easier than loose sticks and sheets. Once at the site, the walls went up in a couple of hours but I still had to insulate them and put up something on the interior side. Most of my time was spent building the panels.

    I thought about how to get roof panels on where you can't call in a crane. Figured running a rope/strap/cable over the cabin and ridge beam. Attach 1 end to an ATV, the other to the panel. Use some boards for rails to help slide the panel up the side of the cabin and up to the ridge beam as someone pulls with the ATV.

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    Don't forget Builder's Choice for a quote..http://www.bcialaska.com/

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    I have used the sips panels for a 40 X 60 addition to my shop and they went together well and were the right choice for that particular project. However they were expensive and could be unwieldy in a remote setting. I would frame it, you could precut all your framing members ahead of time and there are many good ways to get a high R-value in a framed wall. Especially for a ocasional use building......
    “Nothing worth doing is easy”
    TR

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    I believe that Builders Choice only does panelized construction, not SIPs. SBS is a dealer for Premier out of Tacoma. Bend over, the shipping is steep and not worth it in my opinion. I got nowhere with Premier when designing my shop. They only wanted to use panels for the roof and I refuse to use a hotroof. Regardless of their sales pitch, a SIPS roof is a hotroof and I won't build a roof without ventilation ever again...been there done that. They weren't interested in working with me on putting together a truss roof to go with their panels. When I finally priced it out, I could frame a wall and cover it in EPS foam at half the price the SIPS were going to cost me and the trusses were way cheaper than panels for the roof. The biggest issue with the roof (besides the hotroof) was the multitude of glulams it was going to take to hold it up.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Big Bend View Post
    Talk with the guys at Alchem in Anchorage they have been doing panelizes buildings in Alaska for 30 plus years . They could fill you in real quick and they make the product there . 907-243-2177
    Like Big Bend said, the brothers at Alchem will make whatever you want for panels, roofs, etc. They have been doing this kind of construction in remote alaska for decades.

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    Thats interesting........as I used a Premier panel and a truss roof for my addition, sent the plans back & forth several times working out the details. I was not interested in using the sips for the roof either, much easier with trusses, but there are ways to use sips and still have ventilation.
    The addition walls are tall and I would have had to use 2 X 10's for the wall framing and I wasnt too excited about that at the time, so the panels made sense, but every project is diffrent.
    “Nothing worth doing is easy”
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    Quote Originally Posted by AKDoug View Post
    I believe that Builders Choice only does panelized construction, not SIPs. SBS is a dealer for Premier out of Tacoma. Bend over, the shipping is steep and not worth it in my opinion. I got nowhere with Premier when designing my shop. They only wanted to use panels for the roof and I refuse to use a hotroof. Regardless of their sales pitch, a SIPS roof is a hotroof and I won't build a roof without ventilation ever again...been there done that. They weren't interested in working with me on putting together a truss roof to go with their panels. When I finally priced it out, I could frame a wall and cover it in EPS foam at half the price the SIPS were going to cost me and the trusses were way cheaper than panels for the roof. The biggest issue with the roof (besides the hotroof) was the multitude of glulams it was going to take to hold it up.
    Guess I was wrong about BC..Could have sworn I saw some SIP mods in their yard.

    Don't know AKDoug personally but do trust his knowledge..funny thing the internet

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    Don't trust me totally I've just never seen anything other than panelized units in their yards.

    Gramps, it sounds like any other busines (including mine, as hard as we try) it seems to depend on who you get on the phone.
    Bunny Boots and Bearcats: Utility Sled Mayhem

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    So true, mine as well...............!

    Quote Originally Posted by AKDoug View Post
    Don't trust me totally I've just never seen anything other than panelized units in their yards.

    Gramps, it sounds like any other busines (including mine, as hard as we try) it seems to depend on who you get on the phone.
    “Nothing worth doing is easy”
    TR

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    The only SIPS building I've done is the mushers hotel in Ididarod.
    All material came from SBS and was flown in with 185's (small stuff) and a turbo box car.
    We landed on the ox-bow ice out front (18" for the box car).
    There were plenty of hands (when the weather lifted so planes could move) to assemble.
    If the memory is correct the building was 24 x 28.
    With correct assembly and an experienced lead the building ended up very tight and easy to heat.
    This building only gets used a few weeks every other year so it is not like a cabin.
    I like stick frame personally and professionally, though it takes longer.
    Not a fan of the 'pannel' system options available locally. WAY too many errors!

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    With SIPS being close to double the cost of mat. Just pay a contractor to frame and finish, and your still in the same price range. And, your wife is just as happy.

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