Stick/Block House Vs. SIP's. What should be used in a cost comparison?
Last Post 16 Jan 2010 03:39 PM by nlappos. 90 Replies.
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Greg FreyermuthUser is Offline
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01 Mar 2008 06:26 PM
SIP's will be a viable, cost effective alternative when there is enough of a supply to drive down the price. A decrease in the price will naturally move the demand curve into a more favorable place along the curve. Before we started making our own we were paying 30% mark-up and we were getting a good rate. I bought into the high start up costs, until I did the math and saw and incredibly low ROI, time wise anyway.

If you could build your own, cover your costs and make 10% on the SIP's would that be reason enough to make a move? Of course not. You would have to see an increase in your home building to make it work. Folks in Colorado who use 10 1/2" roofs for insulation should be building these things like so many cups of Starbucks coffee. We in the desert have finally found out that we can compete head to head, both residential and commerical. Our first commercial porject will begin shourtly using 4' x 20' x 6 1/2" panels and we were 20% cheaper than concrete tilt up. The thing is the big manufacturers are protecting the price, happy with their production schedule and not looking to get into a price battle.

I think things like this thread are the key. I am smarter for having found this site. If we began to band together and build into a coop of sorts, shared costs and what not could you imagine getting SIP's for 30% cheaper and what the end result would look like. I don't mean to go Norma Rae her, but that is what the future has to look like to get the SIP's into a real compeitive position against stick, and concrete. It is by far a better product. Imagine being able to buy a Mercedes for the price of a pinto station wagon. That would have seemed far fetched 10 years ago, but we can do it today.

Once SIP's get price point competitive those tract home builders and buyers will come running. We jsut need to get the product out there. Anyone for a trial plant in the Northern New Mexico are to service N. Mexico and Colorado and W. Texas. Small appliance stores buy into coop's all the time to get the price point the big box house already have.

Maybe everybody has already tried this. I doubt it. But man could you imagine carving up the country and making SIP's the most used technology in home building. Well off to SAM's. I wonder where all my great ideas come from?

Greg Freyermuth
915-256-7563, Cell
gregfreyermuth@elp.rr.com, E-Mail


Greg Freyermuth
915-256-7563
GregFreyermuth@energreensips.com
www.energreensips.com
Marc&KemUser is Offline
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03 Mar 2008 05:43 PM

This on the fence cost comparison is probably where it will stay. As long as it costs a little more for SIP's the unique, green, long term countermeasure guy will be the outside the box guy. I kinda like being that guy. Because inside I know its "good".

If SIP's become the standard (which they should) it would have an incredible impact on our dependancy for fuel in this great country of ours. When I got out of the service in 1980, I was geared up to be the green guy of the future. It was the politics that discouraged me from pursueing the passion of my carreer. This is my way of contributing in my litlle way of educating others through "our green" experiences.
There should be more incentives to get green and support the SIP industry. Then guys like us can take it to the next level. Save some trees, save some fuel, save some money. You guys do a lot more for this world by your involvement than you realize. Spread the word and educate each other through real world knowlege.

$6 a sq ft..... I'm gonna try that and compare it to the quote method Thermocore gave me. I'll let you know...



Greg FreyermuthUser is Offline
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03 Mar 2008 06:30 PM
Just one more word of advice; get a few quotes on your panels as well. I was amazed as to the difference in pricing around the country. In some instances the differences were 2 & 3 times the good prices that are out there.

It should not cost any more to build a SIP's house. I refused to buy MAC computers until I did some comparison shoping. I, with the help of a MAC buddy, went to the Dell site, built a computer to my specs, and then looked at a comparable MAC product. I now use MAC exclusively. It was not more expensive. I could have bought a cheaper clone, but one with the power of the MAC at that point the MAC was cheaper.

SIP's are the same way. When compared, "apples to apples", no pun intended, the SIP's home is cheaper to build and cheaper to buy.

Thanks,
Greg



Greg Freyermuth
915-256-7563
GregFreyermuth@energreensips.com
www.energreensips.com
Marc&KemUser is Offline
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03 Mar 2008 06:51 PM
Thanks for the reassurrance Greg.
I have a MS PC. I know Macs are more powerful especially with their true single operating system that utilizes system memory more efficient. It wasn't until I tried one for CAD that I really saw the difference. But..... I don't have enough knowlege of their capatibility issues (especially which other hardware).
Kinda like SIPS. Both stick and SIP's do the same basic job but which is the public more comfortable with. The unknowns like moisture barrier and long term use and support for a huge investment are road blocks.


k_radanovichUser is Offline
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03 Mar 2008 09:53 PM

Hey Mark,  There is a great Sips vs. Stick cost comparison article in the Nov. 07 Fine Home building.  You could probably view it at their website.

Kevin

GrennWalls-US



President/CEO
Green Walls-US, INc.
SIPs, ICF's & Antique Timber Frame
PaulcfUser is Offline
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03 Mar 2008 11:18 PM

Kevin, I can't find the article...can you, if you have it, email it to me please? I'm always on the lookout for articles comparing SIPs to stick build.

Thanks very much.



Greg FreyermuthUser is Offline
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04 Mar 2008 01:45 PM
Looking back through my HB collection, July '07 was the only article I saw regarding SIP's. Might be others, but it is in that one for sure. Page 60 does a very unflattering cost comparison and ROI. Cannot imagine getting paid that kind of money. The magazine talked about a 1000 sq.ft. home's SIP's package costing $13.5k. Anyway, that's the article I found...

Greg


Greg Freyermuth
915-256-7563
GregFreyermuth@energreensips.com
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Marc&KemUser is Offline
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07 Mar 2008 03:48 AM

Greg,
Was there a difference in the EPS Vs the PU panels? Do you have some quotes you can share? I was going with Urathane because of the door and window jams but  from what I read, you still have to extend them.
What did you decide to do and who did you go with?

Thanks,

Marc



Greg FreyermuthUser is Offline
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07 Mar 2008 11:35 AM
Marc,

The trade off is size against price. If you go with PU you will get a thinner panel providing a comparable R-Value, but you will pay a higher price. In th end, I think it comes down to a choice as to the look you are going for. Out here, in El Paso, if you only used 6 1/2" panels you never want for any more insulation. So if you are looking for something Southwestern and you want the thicker adobe looking structure you can certainly get it with the EPS for a much better price. You embed the doors and windows into 10"-12" thick walls and the look is appropriate. With this we have a tight, well insulated and clean home. The deserts and high winds are an issue as far as keeping your home and occupants clean and healthy.

Where I grew up in the south the look was different. I do not remember any 12" adobe walls in Georgia. So here is my consul to you. Decide on the required R-Value and air conditioning systems to maintain an efficient, clean home and then go with the panels that suits that best. Remember, form follows function.

We build with EPS, we sell EPS and I have no experience with PU panels. I do not see the need for them personally, but I am biased at best, ignorant at worst. I think EPS are easier to build with, but those with expensive PU experience might have an intelligent arguement. Think about weight, size and price. Save on the panels, invest in the systems.

Good luck and let me know if you would like any pricing information so you can competitively shop. I have been told that there are some folks out there who will really try to take you out to the cleaners on price.

E-mail me if you want any more infomation...


Greg Freyermuth
915-256-7563
GregFreyermuth@energreensips.com
www.energreensips.com
KirkleyBurrowsUser is Offline
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16 Jun 2008 11:14 PM
Good evening, would you please send me the spreadsheet for cost comparison. My email address is kirkleyburrows@hotmail.com, thank you.


DonaldsonUser is Offline
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17 Jun 2008 04:29 PM
Hi

After living in my sip home for three years now, I am convinced that building with sips is less expesive than stick for sure and block. ICF's forget about it, no comparison cost wise. I know that my house is strong as it went through four hurricanes in '04 when the only thing up was the shell, no windows and doors, just holes so think what the up lift was, yet no damage. I work for an organization that just built a duplex in our retirement center out of sips. Out of the 35 retirement unites that are built with stick all but one has been tented at least once, some twice and two or three have been tented three times. "Tented" is a Florida term relating to killing termites in the structure. The unites that were built in the 80's have had to have the exterior siding replaced. The 1000 Sq. ft unites average $120 per month during the summer months with the AC going at good clip. Are Sips less expensive, you better believe they are. Not cheaper but less expensive, yet higher quality!

there is no real way to compare sips to anything but sips. they are just a different animal than stick or block. You can compare the advantages of steel sips to OSB or vise verses, but compare sip to stick there is no comparison!!!!!


vbUser is Offline
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07 Oct 2009 09:15 PM
I just finished reading this thread again. I forgot how informative and non- combative this site can be


cmkavalaUser is Offline
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08 Oct 2009 05:24 AM
Posted By vb on 10/07/2009 9:15 PM
I just finished reading this thread again. I forgot how informative and non- combative this site can be

after all that I wonder what Mark & Kem decided?


Chris Kavala
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FL. Lic # CBC036455, GA Lic. RLCO000624, LA Lic. # CL33845
stonecavemanUser is Offline
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15 Oct 2009 06:27 PM
Jumping in waaay late.

We've just completed the structure for our second storey addition to an existing house.  It's 8.25" OSB SIPs.  ~200ft of 8ft walls with a standard truss roof.

We priced the walls as SIPs and as pre-built 2x6 walls.  I wish I could remember the exact pricing.  The stick-built walls were just under $3/foot + the lumber and came out about $3K delivered.  The cheapest  insulation(spray cellulose) added about $1200 or so.  That was without sheathing.  The SIPs delivered were a couple of hundred dollars more and then there's about $200-$300 of 2x8 lumber.  So the cost for an R33 SIP wall is somewhere less than 20% more than a 2x6 R19+thermal bridging wall.  7 1/2 SIPs would have been a little cheaper, probably a 10% difference.

I think it would be reasonable to assume that the labor cost for construction would about the same.  In both cases you're standing up pre-fabricated structures.  We didn't price the labor since we did the work ourselves.

To me, the major problem with SIP adoption is that stick-framing is a profit center for the builder.  That is, builder make money when the folks with circular saws are building the walls.  SIPs don't have the profit in them because they were built offsite and assemble quickly.  The experience on this list is that the builders then pad the cost of SIP assembly to realize the same profit as if they were stick-framing.


Roe ColeUser is Offline
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16 Oct 2009 11:08 AM
I see some great feedback, but I'm not sure how extensive the XL spreadsheet is. From an homeowner's perspective, i's easy to save $50,000 and more in energy bills over a 30 year period. HVAC systems are usually half the size for SIPs and thus lower in cost to install. Site installation is quicker, so construction loan interest is reduced, SIP homes have air-tight interiors so using an ERV or HRV with ionization filters or other quality media filters can greatly control dust and even spore particals from entering. Just the beginning! Remember that a homeowner should consider the long haul of maintance and operation costs. A builder does not factor this in. As a homeowner, you have a one-time opportunity to build for energy conservation. Roe Cole, Sun Styles Timber Framing, Inc. 804-378-0501


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24 Oct 2009 08:40 PM
I’ve been following this thread hoping to see if someone could come up with a provable, definitive, perfectly obvious answer, because I’ve been asked this a number of times, and I’ve found it to be a very slippery question.

After giving this a great deal of thought and consideration, I think I have an answer. If you compare the cost of a stick built house to a SIP house, the winner, hands down, the lowest cost, is a SIP house. OK, here’s my reasoning. To make a level playing field, go to your stick build contractor with this list of requirements, which is usually not difficult with an average SIP home. 1. The first floor wall framing, with insulation, sheathing on both sides must be complete with-in 2 days. 2. The roof must be complete, sheeted top and bottom and insulated in 2 days, ready for ice and water shield and shingles. 3. The walls must have an average R-value of at least 24 and the roof must have an average R-value of no less than 39. 4. 53% less raw wood material must be used than a standard stick built home. 5. The house must save at least 60% on heating and cooling costs as compared to a standard stick built home and the HVAC system must be around 50% smaller. 6. Using a blower door test, it must have less than 0.1 air changes per hour. 7. The house must be 2-1/2 times stronger than a comparable stick built home. 8. The house must qualify to be an Energy Star Certified Structure. I can imagine the look of horror on the contractors face ( and the $$$$ thoughts in the back of his head).

Now we’re comparing apples to apples. So the simple answer is, if you want an energy efficient, easy to heat and cool home, slightly more expensive, go with SIP’s. If you want a cheap, drafty, expensive to heat and cool home, go stick. It’s really like that pay me now, or pay me later deal.

Steve
www.GrandCountySIPs.com


Steve Etten
Marc&KemUser is Offline
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25 Oct 2009 07:16 AM
First I want to totally agree with trigem1. SIP's Rule!
Now I want to interject some thought. We are talking best bang for the buck. In other words, where do you stop.
It appears your saying the standard is based on SIP's. Consider, what makes the SIP the STANDARD (comment at end)?

Let's level the playing field further. Then add the fact that stick built interior is still needed. What happens if you don't want the standard of having floor ventilation or how your going to get the duct upstairs. Installing lights or adding something in the future. How about the ERV system.
Adapting the windows and doors to the thicker panels.

Back to the STANDARD. Let's change it. If you combine a stick home with spray foam insulation and make it with radiant barrier. Then add a Geothermal unit and Radiant floor heating and Solar water with tube collectors, lots of storage....would the long term utility savings make up for the cost difference for materials and labor of an SIP home?

It's kinda like the argument I pose on Geothermal units. This argument supports SIP's more than others for long term value. If your home is super efficient, Geothermal is not worth the investment. The payback is so low because the home is very efficient, it would take longer than the life of the unit to pay for the system. So the best home for a geothermal application is an unefficient one.

I get aggravated because the cost for all energy efficient items are inflated to the point that ROI is not the reason we purchase these items. It's about feeling good and bragging rights. We want to do good, the industry want to make money.


In Christ,
Marc and Kemella


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25 Oct 2009 09:26 AM
trigem1,

The problem is who is making the comparison?

The homeowner?  First you have to educate them on all the different systems you've described, and I'm thinking that most will roll their eyes and shut down at "thermal bridging".  And who's going to do this anyway?  The homeowner usually hires a GC and tells them about what they want as far as square footage and bathrooms.  Then you need to counter the "no one around here is familiar with SIPs" argument, which is either followed or proceed by "the local builder quoted much higher construction costs for SIPs".  Then you factor in that the average person moves house quite often - at least when the housing market is good and they can "trade-up".

You gonna ask the builder?  Anyone making their money stick framing has to hate SIPs.  These things come in on a truck and go up so fast the builder's out of there too quickly.

If the homeowner hires an architect who is unconnected to the builders, then you have some chance of making progress - if the architect has been educated to the benefits.  However, there's no particular advantage to them to learn about SIPs.  In order to convince the potential home owner of the benefits they would have to be advocating for the product, and it's much easier to just give the customer what the know (and so think they want) than convince them of something new.  The architect would have to identify the benefits of SIPs as you did above, saving on heating, increased comfort, etc. etc. and you're back into eye-rolling, distrust new technology territory.  I don't know what percentage of homeowners hire independant architects, I suspect not many.

So change will be slow.  Here in New Mexico there are tax credits for building energy efficient homes.  You don't need to use SIPs to do this, but it doesn hurt.  The major side effects of the tax credit, apart from the increased adoption of energy efficient technologies,  is that some very efficient homes are built (usually with SIPs) and these make the news and so promote the technology.  If the public awareness becomes high enough that the homeowner asks for these technologies, then the adoption should continue long after the tax credits expire. 

There's a cost saving for states to improve energy efficiency of homes in that they should be able to save long term on infrastructure, power plants, gas/oil distribution, etc.  Whether these saving will make the tax credit will be revenue neutral probably depends on the state, but savings of green technology do go beyond the individual home and this should be understood by governement entities that can help, or hinder, the adoption.


trigem1User is Offline
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25 Oct 2009 12:32 PM
In a round-about way, I was trying to make several points. Today, the standard is a 2 X 6 stud exterior wall with R-19 bat insulation, and people are asking for a cost comparison between stick and SIP. So, just how do you compare a known (stick, forced air HVAC) to an unknown (OSB SIP’s, steel SIP’s, polyurethane SIP’s, various thicknesses)? I think it’s pretty obvious to all that a super insulated home will be more expensive than a “standard “ built home. But how much more? The only reasonable answer to this is to go to a stick build contractor and a SIP builder, and ask for quotes.

I believe that as home heating expenses escalate and state and local codes call for tighter buildings and higher R factors, a new building standard will emerge. I think it may be something like 10” walls and 12” roof with solar heat. I also think that SIP’s will be the low cost alternative to achieve these goals. I know there has been talk of spray-in insulation between the studs, but the problems with thermal bridging and high expense for the resulting whole wall R-values still exist, particularly if you go to thicker walls.

I remember when cars went from carburetors to electronic fuel injection and computer controlled engines, and there was an uproar from many people that this was a huge mistake, and there would be many problems. Today, no one gives it a thought. The vast majority of the time you just put in gas and have the oil changed regularly. We are now in a transitional period where we have to rethink what is the current standard and what the standard should be. I believe that someone who is planning on building a home and has the financial ability to do so, is an educated, intelligent individual who will take the time to investigate his options.

Steve
GrandCountySIPs.com


Steve Etten
Greg FreyermuthUser is Offline
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25 Oct 2009 07:09 PM
Now I am really confused. Is it the concensus that a home built with SIPs in going to be more expensive to build than a stick built comparison?

It is not and I am the worst paying city on the planet in terms of labor costs and other such things. If you have a 2 x 6 wall with bat insul, why are you not putting a 4 1/2" panel up in its place? We match pricing all day and I'm talking about tract homes for the influx of soldiers coming to Fort Bliss.

I am not bragging here, I just do not get how we cannot compete. Our labor costs are less, there is no cost for insulation and the home takes less A/C. And if you are having problems getting the homeowners to buy into the benefits, give his neighbor a rate and teach the first guy a lesson. Guy #2 becomes your commercial.

We use an Architect in Las Cruces who is SIPs friendly. But he is only SIP friendly because we pay him to. He would be paper mache friendly if we told him to be, he works for us. I do not mean to lecture, but we give the misconception too often that we are more expensive. We simply are not!


Greg Freyermuth
915-256-7563
GregFreyermuth@energreensips.com
www.energreensips.com
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