Insulation is a major issue in home and building construction. Some methods of providing insulation can be costly. Some insulation techniques may seem like a good deal, but won’t provide the proper protection you need for the climate in which the home or building is located. Educating yourself on the different options you have obtainable can help you make the right decision when choosing the right insulation for your home or custom building.
Structural Insulating panels, or SIPs, are multi-functional Orient Strand Boards that are made from two layers of wafer chipped wood, or particleboard. The center of these boards are firmly webbed to provide the insulation needed and can be used in walls, flooring and ceilings. In comparison to traditional insulation, SIPs are about 40% more efficient in controlling heating and cooling costs – a savings that homeowners will notice. SIPs are made from recycled wood products, making them environmentally friendly and are treated with an anti-fungal coating. They are lasting, strong and extremely long lasting. Most SIPs are also termite resistant, so homeowners won’t have to worry about damaging infestations.
Insulated Concrete Forms, however, are blocks of foam made from extruded polystyrene. Insulated Concrete Forms, or ICFs, are strengthened with steel bars and are used to shape the walls of the structure. The hollow centers are filled with industrial grade concrete, combining quality insulation with the strength of concrete that is strengthened with steel. This combination provides unmatched energy efficiency and strength.
You’ll notice a decline in noise from the outside, as ICFs are a great way to reduce excess noise pollution. Heating and cooling bills will be considerably decreased and the concrete is a fire resistant material for up to three hours. Vertical ICF panels are wind resistant up to continued wind speeds of 200 miles per hour. Because of this, ICF panels are a popular choice amongst homeowners who live in hurricane or tornado inclined areas.
Insulated Concrete Forms and Structural Insulating Panels both use extruded polystyrene as an insulating material. While the technology has been around for many years, it is now seeing a growth in popularity due to its comparatively low cost and ease of installation. SIPs and ICFs used to be competitive construction materials, but now many architects and contractors prefer to use both within the same structure. ICFs for the wall structures and SIPs for the flooring and ceiling boards are shared in a lot of new construction.
The thermal performance and the unmatched strength, longevity and durability of these insulating technologies allow for both vertical and horizontal weight bearing of heavy loads. Because of this, the use of Insulated Concrete Forms and Structural Insulating Panels are seeing an upswing in usage across the country in homes, commercial buildings, foundations and basements.