8 JUN 17 | up in a SIP!

a lickety-SIP building experience

We had the opportunity to work on a unique small project for some pretty cool clients. They wanted both a garage / storage space to organize all of the gear that comes with being an active Coloradan, and a studio / home office. We stacked the spaces and put on our Tiny House design hats.


East Elevation

South SIPs Render Plan

From the beginning, we knew this project would be a great opportunity to use SIPs (for a quick rundown on the basics of Structural Insulated Panels, check out this past blog post of ours). However, due to the tight project budget–SIP construction tends to be about 10% higher than conventional framing–we had to run the numbers by the GC and owner and keep our fingers crossed.

South SIPs render

Our GC, Jim with Pearl Construction, estimated that for a project of this size, the cost difference would just about be equal, as the added cost of the SIPs would be offset by saved labor time.

Building with SIPs was a breeze, even though this was the first time Jim had worked with them. The building went vertical with no problems, and only in a few days. I took a time-lapse video, so you can see for yourself!

South SIPs video still

During one of my site visits after the second level exterior walls were installed, I had the opportunity to talk with one of the framers while he was conventionally framing the interior bathroom walls. After asking me a few questions about the advantages of SIP construction and why we had advocated for using them over traditional framing, he said to me, “I wasn’t too sure about this type of construction at first, but I am very surprised how strong this structure ended up being!”

In case you want to geek out a little more on some SIP data, our friends at Sustainably Built filled us in with these numbers. SIPs are great because you actually get the R-value you are paying for. (R-value measures the insulating properties, the higher the R-value the more it insulates.) For example, a traditionally-framed wall with R-26 fiberglass insulation will result in more than a 25% loss in R-value due to thermal bridging of the framing members, which brings the actual insulating properties of the wall assembly closer to an R-19.


Ivan Patino, Architectural Designer
8 June 2017