Cost Comparisons


SIPs vs. Traditional Construction

Most people have heard from others that SIPs "cost more" or that they are "too expense". But is there any basis to support those conclusions?
 

So how does a SIP structure cost in comparison to a traditional stick framed building?

If you compare the cost of a skid of 2x6 lumber to a stack of SIPs, the costs are typically, but not always, higher. In fact, material cost of SIPs over traditional stick framed 2x6 lumber is between 0 and 20 percent higher, depending on region.

However, because of the construction efficiencies that can be realized when using SIPs, overall project costs associated with building with SIPs in comparison to traditional stick framing approaches (ie 2x6 lumber framing) can be up to 30 percent less.

So what are these efficiencies that you can expect if you build using SIPs rather than traditional stick framing approachs?

  • SIPs are an integrated structural product that includes the structure, the insulation, the vapour barrier and the sheathing. Therefore, you do not need to purchase all of these components separately. If you are going to compare costs, keep this important difference in mind. 
  • SIPs are pre-fabricated & precut and are ready to be assembled when they are delivered to the jobsite, saving you time and up to 30 percent on your framing labour costs. Because SIPs arrive pre-fabricated, you can get a closed-in building in a matter of days rather than weeks and you will have far less job site waste to manage, both saving you time and money.
  • SIPs arrive pre-fabricated and are simple to assemble; as a result you can get a closed-in building to the lock-up stage in a matter of days rather than weeks. This eases your stress about “bad weather” delays, reduces your risk of theft and vandalism, creates a warm working environment for your sub-trades and decreases the time to occupancy. Buildings that are finished faster cost less to build. And less to finance.
  • SIPs come with pre-configured electrical chases, made according to your blue prints; this can save you up to 20-30 percent on electrical wiring costs. 
  • Building constructed from SIPs are well insulated and its easier to achieve the rigorous air infiltration standards required for energy efficient building and modern building codes. This means you will have a lower heating load and therefore you can install small HVAC systems, saving you up to 40 percent in comparison to a stick framed building. It also means that little to no duct work is required, saving you money and giving you more flexibility on interior design.
  • SIPs are an engineered product manufactured to rigorous standards and specifications. They are straight, flat and square and this means faster installs for finishing work, faster door and window installs and level floors and walls.
  • A SIP roof does not require roof venting and is an elegant and cost effective solution to many of the moisture related problems associated with traditional truss roofs such as ice damming. No roof venting required in low slope roofing. 
  • Because SIPs reduce air infiltration and are manufactured with VOC resins and adhesives, indoor air quality is exceptional with smaller or no air purification systems required in many situations. Warranty!! Does your lumber manufacturer offer any warranty? No. Net-Zero SIPs do.

From a performance standpoint...

For more than 30 years SIPs have the proven performance over stick framing. As the nation's largest and one of the oldest manufacturers we have the track record and experience to manufacture you a superior product, backed by the largest parent company in the industry (Carlisle Construction Materials).

Breaking it down

With all of these project factors considered, SIPs are regularly less expensive than other building systems.

Benefit

2x6 R19

SIPs

Energy Efficiency

Baseline

48% More Energy Efficient

Fire Resistance

Sticks require one layer of 5/8" drywall to meet an hourly wall.

A one hour fire wall is achieved with a minimum 2 layers of 5/8" drywall each side of the wall. 4 layers on each side will achieve a 2 hour wall.

R-Value

The Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory has studied and tested the performance of entire wall assemblies in large sections. The resulting whole-wall R-value data reveals that a 4.5" SIP wall rated at R-14 outperformed a 2"x6" wall with R-19 fiberglass insulation.

We have a 20 year R-Value warranty.

Net-Zero SIPs R-Value:
4" wall 15.0 – 16.0 R-Value
6" wall 23.0 – 24.0 R-Value
8" wall 30.0 – 31.0 R-Value
10" wall 38.0 – 39.0 R-Value
12" wall 46.0 – 47.0 R-Value

Strength

Baseline

20-30% Stronger – The structural characteristics of SIPs are similar to that of a steel I-Beam. The OSB skins act as the flange of the I-beam, while the rigid foam core provides the web. This design gives SIPs an advantage at handling in plane compressive loads. View PBS Load Charts. SIPs can be engineered for most applications.

Seismic

Yes, tie downs and additional material/ labor costs required

Yes, additional tie downs may be required depending on design methods

Waste Created

Baseline

30% less salvageable structural lumber sent to landfills over stick. The EPA estimates that every year we send to landfills a BILLION board feet of "salvageable, structural" lumber. Enough to build more than 62,000 average size new American homes. PBS SIPs are also recyclable and made with a significant amount of recycled content.

Labor Costs

Baseline

Up to 55% labor savings. Proven! Read SIPA release

IAQ – Indoor Air Quality

Baseline

The tightness of the SIP building envelope prevents air from gaining access to the interior of the home except in controlled amounts. A controlled indoor environment is both healthy and comfortable. Humidity can be controlled more easily in a SIP home resulting in a home that is more comfortable for occupants and less prone to mold growth and dust mites.

The EPA says that 19% of all American households have at least one member with asthma. They go on to say that four out of ten (40%) of children born in America today will develop some type of respiratory ailment. SIPs build healthier homes and buildings.

So what does all this mean to you? It means that using a proven, engineered high energy efficiency product like Net-Zero SIPs may cost more a little more at the front end but using SIPs will reduce the overall project costs in most cases. A superior project for the same cost… Why wouldn't you give it a try?

Featured Project



Net-Zero Moricetown Housing Project

 
Net-Zero completed four homes for the Moricetown Band earlier this year, built with Structurally Insulated Panels and screw pile foundations. 

The 833 square foot houses come with two bedrooms and one bath as well as high efficiency wood stoves, the smallest houses Net-zero has built so far.

Read more...

Did You Know?

sips meets canadian national building codeThe Canadian National Building Code, and therefore the provincial building codes, set minimum energy efficiency standards for new building construction for both insulation and air tightness.

Read more...

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