August 15, 2013
Why Does Amerisips Design & Build with SIP Panels? A Structured Insulated Panel (SIP) functions like an I-Beam. The SIPs sheathing or facing acts like the steel flanges and the SIPs foam core acts like the continual steel web.
Extensive research has shown that the structural integrity of a SIPs building is significantly superior to a conventional stick framed house in terms of compressive resistance, flexural strength, shear resistance, and uplift resistance. Since their introduction and use in the 1930s (including homes built by Frank Lloyd Wright), SIPs have undergone exhaustive testing by many third party agencies. SIPs panels have proven themselves to be a powerful alternative to standard stick frame; 2×4 or 2×6 construction, and even ICF construction, regardless of the type of insulation; fiberglass, cellulose or blown foam insulation used in the walls or roof.
If the laboratory research wasn’t evidence enough, there are many SIPs homes that can be found in the real world, many of which are decades old without sustaining any structural damage or weakening. Furthermore, many SIPs homes have survived earthquakes and hurricanes in ares where their stick-built counterparts were destroyed.
The ability of a SIPs panel to withstand the recent forces of nature is perhaps the turest testament to their superior structural performance.
Natural Disasters – Hurricanes and SIPs Panels
Charleston, S.C.: 1989 Hugo. A category-4 hurricane. Hugo struck Charleston in 1989 with a vengeance, causing over a billion dollars worth of damage to buildings, roads and other infrastructure. Three cottages built with floor, wall and ceiling panels from SIPs withstood the hurricane with no structural damage, while adjacent homes suffered serious structural damage, including the loss of roofs and walls. The cottages had been completed just a few months earlier througth the Mayor’s Council on the Homeless project for low-income residents. The fact that they suffered nothing more than minor shingle loss led to an order for seven additional cottages.
Hampstead, N.C.: In August 1998, for 24 straight hours, Hurricane Bonnie delivered sustained winds over 100 mph along the N.C. coast. A home being built with SIPs panels was assembled, sided, shingled and dry walled, but not yet finished. Through it all, the only loss the house experienced was a broken bathroom window and minor water damage. The 1,300 s.f. ranch home made with SIPs floors, walls and cathedral ceiling did not suffer any drywall cracking. The home next door lost siding, facia and 80% of its shingles.
Homestead, Fl. 1992:. Hurricane Andrew – the most destructive hurricane in U.S. history – tore into Homestead, a suburb and Air Force base southwest o fMiami. It flattened thousands of structures. Yet on 125th Street, a chruch and residence built with SIPs panels survived without structural damage. Because t was one of the few large buildings in the area to come through virtually unscathed, it was used as a distribution center for food and other supplies for storm victims. A ranger station in Homestead – another structure built with SIPs panels also suffered no structural damage.
Franklin, La. 1992 After Hurricane Andrew ravaged south Florida, it moved back out over the Gulf of Mexico, regained its category-5 wind speeds, moved northwest, and slammed into the Missisippi Delta on August 26, 1992. The town of Franklin was hit by 160+ mph winds for five hours. The storm destroyed the wind gauge before comments about 200-mph gusts could be verified. A home built with SIPs panels survived with minor damage to the ceiling of the attached porch but no structural damage. The owner reported that several garages and one house on his block were destroyed, and within half mile of his home, numerous houses were destroyed.
Turks & Caicos; Texas, La: 2008: A home constructed with SIPs floor, walls and
roof was positioned directly in the path of the third most destructive hurricane in U.S. history, Hurricane Ike. After Ike devastated the beach front community, the SIPs home interior was found completely dry and no structural damage was found. The stick built homes throughout the community were completely destroyed.
Kobe, Japan, 1995: A severe earthquake hitting 7.2 on the Richter scale, devasted Kobe, a city of 1.5 million people. The so-called ‘quake-proof’ elevated highways toppled, railways were destroyed, and entire blocks of houses leveled. It was found that during the 1990s, a rowing number of Japanese purchased homes with SIPs built by U.S. manufacturers. It was documented that six, three-story homes, all built with SIPs panels were located between 10-20 miles from the quake’s epicenter. All six homes survived with no structural damage.
Sumner County, Tennessee 2002: One example of how well SIPs have taken on tornadoes is related to a couple living in Tennessee. They built their two story home out of SIPs because the material promised more durability, energy efficiency, and a quieter environment than found in stick built homes. They did not expect to be woken by the horrendous noise of a tornado barreling down on their new home. Imagine their relief when their SIP home withstood the 200 mph winds and the only damage to their house was two broken windows and a few loose roof shingles.
Note: Amerisips uses SIP panels on the roof as well as the floor and walls, unlike traditional stick built or even ICF constructed homes. More than likely, the results would have been far different on structural integrity and water/wind damage without this superior construction.