MAKING YOUR OWN INSULATION PANELS
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ChicoUser is Offline
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22 Dec 2007 09:03 AM
Dear sirs,

This is such an interesting website and I'm so glad I found it!!

For many years I've been considering building my second timber frame home. My 1st house which was built over 20 years ago was out of an Alex Wade book called Energy Saving Houses.
Alex Wade went on to write another book, and in it he describes how to build your own Insulating Panels. He had pictures and easy explanations on how to build those panels.

The next house I'd like to build will once again be a post and beam home but this time I'd like to enclose it with some kind of panels which I build myself. The 1st one was simply enclosed by filling in between ths posts and beams with traditional stud and fibreglass. I've been dreaming for a long time now to start a second house which would use some sort of panels rather than the fibreglass infill method.
Since my panels don't have to be structural, I believe I should be able to build them myself onsite.

Can anyone tell me if there's any good literature out there on how to build your own Insulating Panels?

Chico
trigem1User is Offline
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22 Dec 2007 06:07 PM
Chico

Great question. As a long time DIY’er, I always have a tendency to look at something and ask, “Can I do this myself and save a little money?”. Most of the time, I can. But there are times when it’s just better and cheaper to buy it. I think this is one of them. Here are some of the problems.

First, it wouldn’t be difficult to put up a couple of OSB panels, and hold them in place, but find out what it would cost to fill the panel forms with foam. It would have to be done very carefully as to not balloon the walls, and not have any voids.

Second it would be much more difficult to wire as there wouldn’t be any chases formed into the walls, making you cut chases into the walls for outlets and switches.

Third, working with foam is a very sticky proposition. You have to wear protective clothing to work with it.

Fourth, how much time would it take to make your own panels, cutting in electrical chases, and roughing in doors and windows vs. setting up purchased panels yourself with windows and doors roughed in?

I had considered purchasing bags of foam beads and just fill the walls. But if you had to put a hole in the wall, like for an outlet, all the beads would run out. If you are planning on a SIP roof, might as well get the whole package. Maybe somebody has come up with a DIY plan for insulated panels, but I don’t know of one. If you find one, share it and we can take a look at it to see if it might work. Good luck with your project.

Steve Etten
www.GrandCountySIPs.com
SteveEtten@GrandCountySIPs.com
Steve Etten
GeorgiaTomUser is Offline
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22 Dec 2007 06:42 PM
Posted By Chico on 12/22/2007 9:03 AM
Dear sirs,

This is such an interesting website and I'm so glad I found it!!

For many years I've been considering building my second timber frame home. My 1st house which was built over 20 years ago was out of an Alex Wade book called Energy Saving Houses.
Alex Wade went on to write another book, and in it he describes how to build your own Insulating Panels. He had pictures and easy explanations on how to build those panels.

The next house I'd like to build will once again be a post and beam home but this time I'd like to enclose it with some kind of panels which I build myself. The 1st one was simply enclosed by filling in between ths posts and beams with traditional stud and fibreglass. I've been dreaming for a long time now to start a second house which would use some sort of panels rather than the fibreglass infill method.
Since my panels don't have to be structural, I believe I should be able to build them myself onsite.

Can anyone tell me if there's any good literature out there on how to build your own Insulating Panels?

Chico
Chico;

for those people wanting to build their own sips please go to:

LINK
ChicoUser is Offline
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23 Dec 2007 08:47 AM

Steve, thanks for your reply.

I had priced EPS foam board many years ago with the idea to make up the panels using OSB both sides and installing the gyproc on the inside face. Then the panels could be tipped up into place from the outside. I wasn't planning on actually working with the foam.

Once I find a supplier of foam board I'll price it out and compare it to buying them already made. Keep in mind that mine don't need to be structural. I also plan on cutting chases before installation.
The roughing in of doors and windows can easily be done after the walls are up.

I dug out Alex Wade's book called "Guide To Affordable Houses", written in 1984. In one of the chapters he talks about "Insulated Panels". He also priced out the difference between buying the panels from a manufacturer and making them yourself. It was cost effective back then. I've yet to find out if it is nowadays.

I'm retiring from my current job and will have time on my hands to devote to a second post and beam and house. This time I plan on acting as general contractor.

I see you are with Grand County SIPS. Maybe you could give me an idea of the cost of panels from your company although you would be too far for delivery to my area.

I'll scan the pics out of Wade's book and post them to see if I can get some comments.

Chico



 

The PostmanUser is Offline
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23 Dec 2007 12:13 PM
Dear Chico,

The fact of the matter is yes, this can be done by a do-it-yourselfer.  I have been looking into this for several months now because I hope to begin building SIP panels myself.  Now the instructions I am giving you won't result in a SIP panel that would be certifiable but it would certainly work just fine.  If you do it on the cheap, you might get by with an investment of less than $1000.

Order ISOSET adhesive from Ashland Performance Chemicals.  Tell the rep what you want to do with the stuff and he'll help you select the correct ISOSET product.  Though it should be applied with a roll coater, if you are careful, you can measure out how many grams of adhesive you need on your panel and with a floor paint roller that is loaded with adhesive, spread the adhesive on your OSB. 

Do the same thing with the other sheet of OSB and then stack everything together and place it in a vacuum press that can be manufactured pretty easily.  The panel will have to cure in the vacuum press for an hour or two but that's okay.  The ISOSET adhesive system is very forgiving though it takes a long time to cure.  If you want a faster cycle time in your vacuum press, go with one of Ashland's ISOGRIP adhesive systems.  They are moisture-activated and that whole process is a little trickier.

The vacuum press will need to apply about 6 PSI (roughly 12 inches of HG)  in order to spread the adhesive and guarantee that the adhesive has penetrated the pore spaces in the OSB and the EPS. 

People would laugh at you if you tried to sell these panels though I know of at least one manufacturer who applied his adhesive like this.  For your personal dwelling where there are no building codes, this would probably work just fine. 

Achieving accreditation to manufacture SIPS panels is expensive and time consuming.  The minimum equipment required to do it right with repeatable results that would satisfy a third-party quality assurance inspector runs in the neighborhood of $75K.  You can plan on spending $1000 a month on your "third party quality assurance" consultant.  I guess it's a necessary evil -- otherwise, the overall quality of SIP panels might suffer and the folks who make good panels would get a black eye along with the folks who don't invest in the right equipment to produce consistent panels.

By the way, the SIP industry is very hush-hush about how to build panels.  It took many phone calls and letters before I ever got straight answers from anyone.  The people who sell the adhesives -- Ashland Performance Chemicals and Rhom and Haas -- were the ones who were forthcoming with details about how to get this job done. 

Christmas blessings to you and your family!

Eric


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23 Dec 2007 01:32 PM
Posted By The Postman on 12/23/2007 12:13 PM
By the way, the SIP industry is very hush-hush about how to build panels.  It took many phone calls and letters before I ever got straight answers from anyone.  The people who sell the adhesives -- Ashland Performance Chemicals and Rhom and Haas -- were the ones who were forthcoming with details about how to get this job done.

HaHaHa. Well maybe. I've toured 3 manufacturing plants(and trained at 2 of them), and they never asked me to put on a blindfold. The only 'secret', at one plant, was the cure time of the adhesive. They told me, but what they told the employees was a bit less so as to instill a sense of urgency into them.
....jc
If you're not building with OSB SIPS(or ICF's), why are you building?
trigem1User is Offline
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23 Dec 2007 04:48 PM
Chico,

Your idea of purchasing the EPS foam board is much better than what I was thinking about. I might wait until I have all the windows and doors in before I put up any sheetrock. You’ll also need a foam cutter to cut the foam back for your wood framing around doors and windows. I would suggest making an estimate for doing it yourself, including the time spent gluing and assembling the panels and an estimate for purchasing the panels. It might be very time consuming to build the panels and then rough out all the doors and windows. There is an adapter that’s available that attaches to a chainsaw that makes short work out of cutting out the rough openings. I would encourage you to purchase ready made SIP panels for your roof.

Any local dealer should be able to get you a free estimate. Most big SIP manufacturers don’t sell the panels directly to the customers, but rely on reputable dealers to take care of all the details. Go to the manufacturers web site and look for local dealers in your area.

Basically, that’s what I do. To put it simply, I’m the middle man between the manufacturer and the customer. Not knowing your local codes, local taxes and your location makes it very difficult (if not impossible) to give you a panel price. If you are building in the Western USA, email me and I might be able to put you into contact with someone who can help you.

I’m very interested in seeing how your DIY panels turn out. Keep us posted.

Steve Etten
www.GrandCountySIPS.com
SteveEtten@GrandCountySIPs.com
Steve Etten
ChicoUser is Offline
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23 Dec 2007 04:51 PM

Eric.

I take it you will buy EPS foam board rather than manufacture it.

I wonder if anyone has any experience using the 3M type Mastic Adhesives for this purpose.

Since my panels will not be structural do I really need to use a vacuum press and if so are there plans available for these.

Chico

ChicoUser is Offline
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23 Dec 2007 05:15 PM

Steve,

Ok and thanks again.

Actually I plan on installing the sheetrock on the panels before installation. I will cut the openings for doors and windows letting the sheetrock project into the openings. The window casement then goes behind the sheetrock. The panels can easily be taped and painted with primer this way.

I live in Southern Ontario, too far from you but will look for the nearest supplier of foam board. Like I said I did contact one many years ago and the plans got dropped for various reasons.

I hope someone can provide some comment on the above method as I've never used it myself.

Chico

The PostmanUser is Offline
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25 Dec 2007 03:54 AM
Hi Chico,

I am planning on buying EPS foam blocks from a local manufacturer.   Over the next couple of months, I hope to experiment with different designs for vacuum tents/tarps -- I can't find any designs myself but I have heard that this is becoming more popular with small-scale manufacturers.   It seems like most of the large-scale manufacturers use air-pod presses or hydraulic presses but the capital expense is huge!

Chico, I think it's great that you are exploring this process; hopefully, if enough people get interested in manufacturing SIPs panels on a small scale, affordable equipment will become available that will consistently produce high-quality panels!

By the way, the recent revision in the IRC states that if SIP wall panels are manufactured according to certain guidelines and used in certain ways, and if you have a proper quality assurance program in place, your wall panels don't need to be tested in order to be considered "certified" so this should make it easier for "independents" to begin manufacturing SIPs panels for residential walls.  I don't know where you live but maybe there is a need you could fill as a manfacturer of these panels in your area. 

Merry Christmas!

Eric
ChicoUser is Offline
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25 Dec 2007 08:51 AM

Eric,

Merry Christmas.

I'm in Southern Ontario, this is mentioned in the e-mail you replied to.
I'm just getting back into this and haven't explored what's available in this area. Although I'm sure I'm going to find out soon.

I'm actullay not in need of building a SIP but rather an IP (Insulating Panel) to enclose a post and beam home. I'll be approaching the building inspector very soon in the area where I want to build the home.

As this is kind of a way to have a second income on top of my pension because I'm retiring soon, I'm always interested in developing an idea and have been dreaming about SIPS and post and beam homes for the last 20 years.

From your prespective, is it cost effective to build your own panels and do you have any info you can share on home built presses.

Chico

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08 Jan 2008 08:19 PM
I think Alex's process is described in Design and Construction Handbook for Energy Saving Houses, and Guide to Affordable Houses. If you do not need any structural rating his technique of simply using construction adhesive to laminate OSB, EPS and drywall seems perfect.

The one post and beam house I have built with SIPS used manufactured panels also with only DW on the inside, and with two chases cut into the EPS. Here in So Calif the building codes are very strict, (seismic loading) and our jurisdiction (LA county) gave us no sheer rating for the post and beam frame. We had to infill the panel's edges with 2x6s and install Simpson clips to the frame, as well as adding a few sections of stud framed sheer wall and a bit of sheer membrane in the decking

Making retrofit changes to the wiring and plumbing is indeed a problem as compared with stud framed houses. EPS foam can be easily sliced to any thickness and chases cut with a hot wire, whcih most foam supliers should do for a minimal fee.

My largest concern with Alex's system is the use of gutter nails to install the panels. I found this thread looking for some other techniques as I am planning on making some small portable site built sips structures and was looking for ideas. I'll post if I find any good solutions.

Nesdon
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08 Jan 2008 08:35 PM
Posted By nesdon on 01/08/2008 8:19 PM
I found this thread looking for some other techniques as I am planning on making some small portable site built sips structures and was looking for ideas. I'll post if I find any good solutions.

If you aren't going to use manufactured SIPS, why use SIPS at all? You can achieve very good results with double wall construction:


....jc
If you're not building with OSB SIPS(or ICF's), why are you building?
nesdonUser is Offline
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08 Jan 2008 09:34 PM
I am intriqued by the material economy, ease and speed of construction and modularization all inherent in this sort of design. The insulation value, especially here in so cal, is less important. I've been looking for some more efficient techniques for small sheds and cabins. The use of standard balloon framing seems excessive for such small structures. laminated insulated panels seem ideal.

BTW Chico, we just used circular saws and sawzalls to cut door and window openings in the panels after they were installed. It was very easy.
ChicoUser is Offline
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09 Jan 2008 05:53 PM

Good point but I will use an IP rather than a SIP. I would still like to build a post and beam frame because I think they look awesome on the inside. Panels to enclose the post and beam frame are easily put together using unskilled labour and go up fast.
That double wall you're proposing can that be built in the form of a panel. That would be really interesting!! Might save me looking for foam.

Chico

ChicoUser is Offline
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09 Jan 2008 05:56 PM

Nesdon,

Finally I'm getting the feedback I hoped for. Thanks for the info. Yeah I knew you could just use a circular saw to cut out the openings. Did you build a frame into the opening or did you just simply insert the windows into the openings. What size circular saw did you use?

Chico

 

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09 Jan 2008 10:09 PM

Hi Chico,

I did frame the openings. Dug out a bit of foam and flushed and leveled 2x6 inserts, then flashed them with reinforced building paper. This gave us backing on the inside for our finish, and a solid atachment for the jambs. With OSB on both sides, you might get away with using the finish and foam sealant to hold the jambs, but especially with all the working you get with doors, I'd think most panels would spec inserts.

We have 5.5" foam, rated at R32 overall if memory serves (it often doesn't) so we made cuts half way with a 7.25 skilsaw on the OSB side and then finished the rest of the foam and DW with the sawzall. Could have been done with a beam saw, a chain saw, or sawzall all the way, but the circ saw makes nice straight cuts and is easy to handle. With OSB on both sides, it migh be harder to get the two cuts to line up well, although it hardly matters with the 2x6 inserts.

BTW the stud sheer walls have  been used numerous times since we put the house up to add power and comm wiring.
 
Nesdon

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10 Jan 2008 06:39 PM

Nesdon,

I believe I'll also frame the window and door openings like you did.
Were you using maunfactured panels?
I know you would like to build your own panels. Did you do any research on where to buy the foam? Could you explain what a stud sheer wall is. I presume that's a wall you build on the inside.

Chico

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10 Jan 2008 09:02 PM
I am also located in Southern Ontario, (Flamborough area). I have a 1,200 sq.ft. old timber frame structure on the property. I was thinking of insulating it with insulated panels. I got a quote from Thermapan (Fort Erie) at $6.30 / sq.ft. for 6.5”, plus transportation. It is very expensive for a structure that will be for shop only so I am looking for another way to insulate it. I am also considering making the panels myself considering they don’t have to be structural. I have just started of investigating so I don’t know where I can purchase the foam in the area. I will let you know what I find in our area.
Dan



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10 Jan 2008 09:36 PM
Okay, guys, here's the unvarnished truth. Even in Alaska, I can build a 4' X 8' X 6.5" panel for $80. The OSB is $10/sheet, the glue provided by Ashland Chemical is $10 and the foam is $45. Down South, your costs should be WAY below $2.50 per square foot if you build them yourself because your foam and your OSB is half of what we pay for it. For about $2500, you can build a vacuum press that you could use to make panels all day long. You could apply the IsoSet adhesive with a roller if you weren't intending to sell them to the public. You can do about as good of a job with the adhesive application with that as you can do with a roll coater. In fact, the vacuum press ought to work better than many of the hokey hydraulic presses that the big boys use because the pressure is totally uniform. on

I guess I'm on a crusade to "bring SIPs to the masses!" :>) I realize that certification costs are very high for manufacturers but they are making a TON of money on these panels! I'm looking forward to the day when there will be a vast network of small SIPs producers who put out excellent quality panels. Alaska, for one, desperately needs that and I intend to stand in the gap. I'm in the process of starting my own fab right now. Everything is going to be done the hard way at first -- lots of manual labor and not a lot of automation. But hopefully, someday, we'll be able to automate and produce panels that will help my neighbors save a lot of money that's currently going to the local gas utility. And we'll sell them for Lower 48 prices.


So there! I'm off my soap box!

Eric

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