There are hundreds of SIP (Structural Insulated Panels) manufacturers worldwide.
To reduce shipping costs choose a supplier near to your area. That may also facilitate the collaboration between your designers and the manufacturer.
Choosing a SIP Manufacturer
SIP - or Structural Insulated Panels - are large engineered building panels with a thick core of insulation foam.
With so many manufacturers out there, it may not be easy to choose.
Take into account:
- the type of insulation material. Most SIPs are made up with EPS cores, which are a lot more environmentally-friendly than XPS. So, prefer manufacturers using EPS cores, or using recycled content foam or polyisocyanurate.
- the thickness of the panels; a 6 inches core panel can provide a 20% more energy savings than a 4 inches panel. That thickness determines most of the energy efficiency of your home, and is critical (see: SIPs Energy Efficiency).
- the success of you project will depend largely on the collaboration between your building team and the manufacturer. So, make sure that the manufacturer is ready to work closely with your architects.
- though common SIP boards are OSB, you may want to consider manufacturers with greener alternatives. See: Insulated Panels (SIPs): Quality and Types.
- prefer manufacturers using soy-based or other low-toxic adhesives, that is, formaldehyde-free products.
- support: most SIP manufacturers provide technical design services; also make sure that the manufacturer will help you in your relationship with your building partners.
- warranties: most Structural Insulated Panel manufacturers provide a typical structural warranty. Prefer manufacturers offering longer warranties (the whole expected life of the building).
SIP construction requires background and know-how. Professional associations like the SIPA and UKSIPS provide training workshops and partnerships with contractors. If your builder hasn't the know-how, he should look for it; or you should consider another builder...