Friday, December 12, 2008

Finishing touch

The lake house in Ellington CT was the first chance I was able to see the methods for using SIPS (Structural insulated panels) as an enclosure system for a timber frame. A crew came in from Panel Pro in New Hampshire and hung most of the panels, which were pre-cut at their shop, with a lull and four guys. Before they did a wall section, we hung the drywall on the outside of the frame. This was amazingly fast; afterwards we could go back from the inside and screw it off easily and cut out the openings.

Here is a cross section on a corner post- the wall panels are 4" OSB and expanded polystyrene foam- you can see the 1/2' drywall between them. You here a lot of debate about the 'green' quality of this method in the industry- though it is pretty much the standard for most home enclosures. The advantages are the super insulative qaulities- much better R-value with thinner walls than studs and batt insulation as well as the fact that all the processing is done in a shop where you can control waste much more efficiently than trying to build on-site. 
The cons- its still petroleum based insulation sandwiched between two barfboard panels. It's recyclable to a degree but it is certainly not a closed-loop solution like hay bales. 

Before we cut out the openings-

Interior post panels and drywall-

Detail on the overhang that will cover a conventional balcony off the MBedroom-