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Thread: anyone used SIPS for cabin?

  1. #1
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    Default anyone used SIPS for cabin?

    I was wondering if anyone on the forums has used the SIPS (structurally insulated panels) for building a cabin. If so, any recommendations and drawbacks? I see that SBS is a distributor for them and the idea is appealing.
    Thanks in advance for any input.

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    Member Akheloce's Avatar
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    I was just reading about them. The thing that jumps out at me is that they're airtight, and require a modern hvac system. I would think that wood stoves would not be ideal in an airtight structure.

    http://www.acmepanel.com/dos-and-donts.asp
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    I hadn't realized that...I was thinking that standard venting would be sufficient. Thanks for the link!

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    A SIP house well built will hurt you without ventilation. I run a 1.5 inch makeup air vent under wood stove in my 1000sq.ft. on grid SIP house. A air heat exchanger provides cyclic fresh air. The primary heat is 1/2 inch PEX in a 1.5 inch slab poured on top of floor SIPs and easily driven by gas water heater. Alternatively the wood stove uses 50-60 pounds of birch at 0F outside in 24 hours. Lack of stud wall thermal bridging really ups the relative performance of a SIP structure. Someone was looking into a bathroom fan as basis for cheap air exchange for tight on grid Western Alaska homes. Perhaps a battery backed marine solar vent might be start of a off grid air exchange? SIPs with cement board face are sometimes available. That route lowers fire and moisture issues but is much heavier. Quite a few SIP structures exist in Alaska, some built by Hoot Haddock many years ago, and still going strong.

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    Go to www.alaskainsulatedpanels.com in Wasilla you will find a comparison chart that will give you a idea about SIPs.907-357-2769

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    Thank y'all for the comments..Will look into it further.

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    I built one for my aunt and uncle a few years ago. They went with Enercept out of South Dakota for the Kit. There's a air exchanger and a fresh air intake for the wood stove.

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    Perhaps not on point, but we're designing the retirement house for Los Anchorage and are leaning towards the SIPS option. FWIW, as analyzed by our architect, the SIPS option requires (ballpark) provisions for about 25% - 40% more air movement (fresh air makeup, internal movement, etc) than other options. Quite a few of these "provisions" are simply more vents at various places, but given the greater degree of fresh air intake, this option also requires additional heat supply....for code requirements in Los Anchorage, prolly not a factor in a cabin.

    Lots of plus-es for the SIPS, but don't underestimate the venting needs, even outside of regulatory requirements.
    Back in AK

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    Member fshgde's Avatar
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    Passive air vents could be used to help vent in a off grid cabin

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    Member Akheloce's Avatar
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    How much do they weigh?

    My place is 9 miles off the road. I stick framed mine mainly due to the ability to haul behind wheelers and sleds.
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    I will address these comments with the SBS rep to find out more. I was planning to do frame as the same reasons Akheloce mentions for ease of transporting materials...the SIPS are intriguing as far continuity and quick building. Thank you all for sharing.

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    Yes SIPS have a good resistance to airflow but conventional framing with proper air sealing techniques and vapor barrier use has a good resistance to air flow too. As far as the wood stove, purchase one with the option to run a combustion air duct (sealed) from the exterior. The air coming into, and leaving the wood stove don't actually enter the actual living area of the home. If your home is sealed to tight and you use a more traditional wood stove, you will have to leave a window cracked open for combustion air...
    . Quite a few things to consider when dealing with a well sealed home, but with some research, it can be rewarding.

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