Structural Insulated Panels Vs. Conventional Panels

Discover the difference between Structural Insulated Panels Vs. Conventional Panels. Here at Davis Timber Frame, we craft beautiful timber frames and also offer structural panel homes as a stand-alone product or to wrap our frames. We offer two different panels: Structural Insulated Panels (SIPS) and Conventional 2x Panels. Most of our timber frame projects use Structural Insulated Panels (SIPs), however, occasionally a 2x wall and roof panel is requested, and sometimes, both can be used together. Each offers its own benefits and why one might choose one over the other is a matter of preference and sometimes led by the design of the home.


Conventional Panel Construction (Panelized)

At Davis Frame, we not only offer timber frame construction but also build our own conventional wall panels.  We assemble our wall and roof panels in a factory using 2x Premium SPF lumber and structural insulated panels vs. conventional panelssheathing. 

Many enjoy the familiarity of panelized construction because it’s closely related to traditional stick frame construction. Panelized enables a fabricator to shelter the framing at the factory from the weather elements and everything is cut on a machine with precision in mind. Panelized reduces the chance of weather delays on-site, miscuts and cuts down the on-site waste factor dramatically (plus, the minimal waste created here, gets reused by heating our facilities). Panelized is best used as a stand-alone system or in a hybrid constructed home. What is an example of a hybrid? A hybrid home may feature a timber frame center section wrapped in SIPs, while the wings of the home may be built using panelized construction. In fact, here at Davis Frame, this type of hybrid home is becoming a popular option. While you can use panelized construction with a full timber frame home, it’s not structurally necessary and the SIPs may make more sense.

This type of prefabrication is more traditional and familiar to builders. It’s a great alternative to stick building your home on-site!

Structural Insulated Panels (SIPS)

Structural Insulated Panels (SIPS) features some of the highest R values on the market today. SIPs have minimal thermal bridging, decreasing air leaks and creating a very tight structure.  What are 
structural insulated panels vs. conventional panelsSIPs made out of? Basically, a SIP is like an ice cream sandwich. There is a foam core that is sandwiched between two orient strand boards. R values range anywhere from R16-R52+. SIPs are most commonly used with timber frame and post and beam construction. The wooden frame acts as the structural integrity and SIPs is a perfect complement and installed right over the exterior of the frame. While you can build a SIPs home without the support of timber framing, they need additional structural framing to go with the panels and may include, glulam, steel, LVL and floor framing for additional support. SIPs offer the same factory-built benefits as panelized homes, minimizes waste, offers factory controlled quality and helps cut down the time on-site. 

So how do you choose between the two options? If you are building a conventional style home, but want it built quicker on-site, then panelized is a great option! If you would like to feature full timber framing or would like optimal energy performance, SIPs are a great choice. Last, a hybrid home can be built using a timber frame, SIPs, and panelized construction.

To learn more about your building options, call us today by calling 800.636.0993. We can help determine what the best type of construction will work with your design ideas. We can offer a one-stop-shop for your new home’s weather-tight shell!