One of the biggest questions we receive from our prospects is how do you run electrical in a timber frame and SIPS home? It is a good question, as the construction and mechanics of a timber frame home differ from conventional 2x construction. Usually, in a stick-built home, electrical can be easily planned in the 2x wall and many times left bare allowing the electrician to easily place the electrical boxes and outlet locations. Running electrical in a SIPS wall and/or roof does require some thought and planning. Due to the nature of a SIP panel, you are dealing with a rigid foam core sandwiched between OSB. This type of exterior wall and insulation system offers continuous foam and a tight envelope, but where does the electrical come into play? One option is to work your timber frame company who will be supplying the SIPS to have the electrical chases pre-routed. Many SIPS companies for example offer routing based on standard specifications (example 12”, 14” or 16” off the floor).
If you would rather have your electrician run the electrical on site once you can go through your home and locate where you want switches and outlets, that can easily be done as well. It may take a special routing tool or hot knife, but your electrician can easily route into the panel without compromising the R-value. The wiring along the exterior walls can happen in a few different ways; one option we like is to hold the drywall up off the sub-floor about 3 inches so wires can be run behind the baseboard. The same idea can be used and a built-out baseboard or modular baseboard that is removable can be used to run wires and install outlets in. Additional wiring can be run in the first-floor framing (in the basement) and brought up into the walls only at needed locations. All other areas of the timber frame home are wired the same as a conventionally framed home, usually in interior partition walls. This is also something we can work with you and your contractors both in the design phase and later on when construction is happening.
Another thing to keep in mind is how you plan to run wiring for your ceiling fan or chandelier it is essential that the electrician be available while the timber frame is being erected so that any wiring can be accomplished at the opportune times. Once the frame and panels are assembled, it is tougher to go back and install those fixtures.
There is no need to be intimidated about wiring a timber frame and SIPS home, it can be done in a few different ways and usually once and an electrician has wired one of these types of homes once, it’s smooth sailing from there. Interested in learning more about our timber frame and SIPS packages? Have any additional technical questions you would like to ask? Call us today at 800.636.0993!