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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Western Montana

    Default SIPS (Structural Insulated Panels) inspection tips?

    Have seen a few homes with SIP foundations, but very few. Does anyone have any experience with inspecting this system, and any thoughts on what types of problems or defects that I should look for? Know of a house with a walkout basement that had a frozen/busted water supply pipe for an exterior faucet that allowed water to run through the 1st floor sub floor structure then into the basement. Didn't see the house then, but supposedly they had to replace quite a bit of the basement foundation walls due to water damage.

    Inspection tips?

    I have seen 2 before, and have docs from the SIPS org, APA, and other places for construction details. Just wondering what experiences others may have had with this system.

    Last edited by Terry Beck; 10-18-2014 at 01:01 PM. Reason: adding info
    Inspection Referral

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Western Montana

    Default Re: SIPS (Structural Insulated Panels) inspection tips?

    Here some stuff I found when I dug through my files, and some I found in the last day or so.

    Short info sheet at BSC at

    APA has a detailed product guide at: (you have to log in to download the PDF)
    Search - APA ? The Engineered Wood Association has a detailed document at:

    Other tips I have run into: - never use can lights in a SIPs ceiling. Avoid running plumbing through exterior walls (I have seen disastrous result of piping to an exterior faucet). The manufactures don't require it, but recommend drainage planes behind most exterior cladding.

    A bit like EIFS and cultured stone veneers. I've become paranoid about moisture seepage with these too. Kickout flashing, window and door flashing. Drainage planes. Seen a couple of 2-story homes built foundation-to-top plate with ICS construction, and those NEED to have a vanEE whole house air exchange system or something similar.

    Condensation failures due to poorly calculated dew points inside wall insulation. Different conversation, but I once found problems in a house where someone tried combining spray foam and fiberglass insulation, "Flash & Dash". In some wall and ceilings the cold leached through and caused condensation between the layers of insulation. The point is, vapor barriers can cause problems when improperly used.

    I get the newsletter from | Designing, Building and Remodeling Green Homes - they always have great articles about a variety of construction do's and don'ts, pros and cons of various building materials. They talk a lot about moisture issues, HVAC, etc.

    - How to Protect Structural Insulated Panels from Decay
    - good article, Structural Insulated Panels
    - an interesting conversation at Green Building Talk

    Somewhere I read a SIPs manufacturer admit that using panel in ceiling construction can lead to reduced lifespan of composition shingles due to a higher roof temperature.


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