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Kingspan SIP


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By Arne in Houston, TX on 7/31/2010


In the planning stages and after a lot of thinking, going to go with a light-gauge steel frame for my home project. I also have been doing a bit of research into Architectural Insulated Panels kingspanpanels.us, which are a metal-skinned SIP with polyurethane core insulation.


Looking at installation guides, these are applied directly to the frame with no sheathing or house wrap. The panels are painted at the factory, and the skin is 22- to 26-gauge steel, depending on model. If I go with a 6-inch-thick panel, I will have R-49 walls, and based on conversations with the manufacturer, installation would take one day. 

If anyone has worked with these panels, common in commercial construction:

1. Would it be advisable to spray in 1-2 inches of spray-in polyurethane foam for added insulation and an air sealant, or is it unnecessary (frame walls will be 6 inches)?

2. Working under a what-if assumption, what can be done to protect the interior if moisture gets behind the panel?  

The cost of these panels in R-49 configuration is $7-$8 per sq ft and about $1 per sq ft for installation.

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By Torben in Sanford, FL on 8/8/2010


Are you ordering your panels out of Deland, FL? I've seen that there is another manufacturer of Polyiso SIPs in Texas metlspan.com/products.  You may want to at least get a quote from them. Are you buying your panels direct or is your installer? I will be building with Kingspan SIPs later this year, but the supplier/installer I initially worked with was a disaster I wouldn't wish on anyone. The only silver lining is that I've been saved from him doing the installation.

I'm curious how you are planning on adapting these to residential. The commercial application is just to use the panels as cladding, whereas most residential SIPs provide the structural support as well. I will be using them as structural and cladding, but most of the Kingspan details and building guides only show them being used for cladding. 

For clarification, are you planning on having a 6-inch frame wall behind a 6" panel? I'm planning on 6-inch panels with interior 1.5" metal 'furring strips' for attachment of drywall. Wall will be a total of 8" plus exterior wall finish (stucco).

1. If you've seen their full details, you will notice they always have a butyl-caulk sealing between panels. The insulation value is so high that there is no significant energy savings in adding spray-on foam; however you do want to make sure you don't have leaks. You will also want to make sure you have mechanical ventilation (for enough fresh air).

2.  If your panels are properly sealed, you should not get moisture past the panels. I would expect some moisture from the exterior skin undergoing outdoor temperature fluctuations. Another detail shows small holes drilled in the bottom receiver channel ('base plate') corresponding to each panel-to-panel connection.

You may want to work on your cost.


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By Arne in Houston, TX on 8/8/2010


Torben,


I am planing on installing the AIPs over a 6-inch light-gauge steel frame that would serve as the building structure. The AIPs would serve only as the insulation envelope and exterior finish like in a commercial structure.   The 6-inch light-gauge steel frame would be finished with drywall on the interior, while frame floor and roof decking would be USG 3/4" Fortocrete panels. 

I had looked at conventional SIPs (OSB over a foam core) as a building solution, but don't feel comfortable using them given the high moisture humidity environment and wind loads that can occur during tropical storms. I spoke to Kingspan, and they said their panels are designed to be attached to a frame and meet Miami Dade code provided the supporting structure is 48 OIC or less and has a 22-gauge steel face on both sides. 

The Kingspan contact gave me the pricing, which is for their commercial panels. They have a design series (Benchmark), which is more expensive.  When I spoke to them today, they confirmed that a 6-inch-thick wall panel will run about $8 per square foot with another $1-$2 per sq ft for installation. The 6-inch-thick panel has an R-49 value.

The Kingspan contact phone number in north Texas is 940-321-4159 if anyone else is thinking of considering this type of exterior.

There is a company about 20 minutes from me called Insulated Panel Systems, which is a part of NCI Building Systems... will be calling them and getting a price comparison. Shipping costs would definitely be better, given they are made locally and I would not be paying $1,500 per truckload from Florida to Houston. 

In speaking with Kingspan, I found they use a butyl sealant on the panel joints and on all framing surfaces where the panel is attached. I did check your planned use of Kingspan panels without a supporting frame, and they said the panels must be attached to a load-bearing frame, so you may want to contact Kingspan before proceeding. 

As far as being proactive dealing with water possibly getting behind the panel, the solution options would be to either use sheathing attached to the frame with a drainage wrap or possibly spray in two to three inches of closed-cell polyurethane foam to act as another sealing system. 

On the HVAC system, I already have a fresh-air-ventilation heat exchanger in the plans.

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By Torben in Sanford, FL on 3/27/2011


Arne,


I don't know if you have done any additional looking into insulated metal panels or Kingspan specifically. I have started building my home out of Kingspan panels. I'm using 6-inch panels (R-49) on my roof and east/west walls. I'm using 4-inch panels (R-33) on my north/south walls, which are well shaded (8-foot roof overhangs with balconies). I ended up paying $2.50-$3 per square foot for the panels (~$200 for delivery) and installation right now is costing around 25-50 cents per square foot.  

All my walls are up, and I will be installing the roof next weekend. The panels are largely load bearing, however I have structural steel posts and light gauge steel framing forming some load frames and for framing out my floors. Just the walls alone are incredibly stiff once completed. The way I will be balloon framing the floors will only stiffen them more. Overall, the structure well exceeds the 120 mph wind load requirement in our area.

I am running butyl caulk between each panel and sill/top plates and foundation. I should have very little leakage, as long as I detail my windows and doors well. I did a detailed annual energy simulation and my HVAC sizing for central Florida works out to be about one ton per 1,500 sf. My preliminary HERS (Home Energy Rating System) number is 60. I have enough south-facing roof that I could add solar and reduce the number to 0 (Zero Energy home).

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By Arne in Houston, TX on 3/28/2011


Torben,


I still have the Kingspan system in my plans and have spoken to Kingspan multiple times regarding my goals. I appreciate you posting photos. and if you have more, please post them on this application of a commercial technology to residential construction. If you have photos of the structure today with all walls up and as you get the structure closed in, that would be appreciated.

I have been taking the next leap with my project by getting a graduate education in construction management since being an owner-builder is very much a construction management operation with estimating, scheduling, contracts, and project management being key responsibilities. 

For those with an interest, there are multiple universities offering online programs (I am taking my program at University of Houston) that can earn a person a professional certificate in construction management or you can go all the way and get a Masters in Engineering Technology in Construction Management. I will have completed the professional certificate in May, 2011 and have decided to get the master's degree, which I will complete by the end of 2012. My master's thesis will be related to the topic of using systems like Kingspan panels for residential construction.

Arne

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