One of the many things that make timber frame homes appealing to the modern homeowner is the sustainability and energy efficiency that timber framing affords. If homeowners partner with the right timber framer, timber frame homes can be built with sustainable practices and the timbers can come from well-managed forests. Add to these green building practices the use of structural insulated panels (SIPs).
Structural insulated panels consist of three to six inches of polyurethane foam insulation sandwiched between a half inch of oriented strand board (OSB) on either side. This creates a rigid wall panel that is as strong as — or stronger than — a conventionally framed wall, as well as one that acts as an insulating blanket of protection around the frame of the home. Conventionally framed walls generally have two-by-six studs positioned at 16-inch intervals, and each stud creates a thermal break in the consistency of the insulation. SIPs offer maximum energy efficiency and added strength by providing a tight building envelope that works well with timber frame materials, allowing for the flow of air and heat to be more easily controlled.
SIPs materials and construction cost per square foot are typically more expensive than conventional materials and methods, depending upon the complexity of the timber frame home design. But don’t let the initial cost scare you away. There are real savings in the labor and construction waste volume, which makes the building process more cost-effective, along with savings for reduced energy costs and better filtration of allergens. Timber frame builders who use SIPs pass on savings to homeowners through reduced installation time, less waste, flexible design, and faster timber frame construction.
The team at Mid-Atlantic Timberfames understands the initial investment in SIPs adds to the overall cost of timber frame homes, but that investment is worth it in the long run. When you’re ready to start work on your timber frame home plans, make sure the timber frame construction partner you select understands the importance of recommending SIPs in the initial plans.