Build Your Dream Home with SIPs

Efficient Design Tips for Building with Structural Insulated Panels

We have compiled this list of design tips to help that should lower the overall cost of your project by using panels efficiently and to help it go smoother, quicker and produce less waste.


Maintain a 2′ grid for the perimeter to reduce cost and waste.

SIPs are built in 4′ and 8′ widths. (24′ 3-3/4″ wall lengths create waste)

Working within 1′ and 2′ length increments to reduce cost and waste.

10′ 7-1/4″ wall heights will quickly put your project over budget.

Standard panel thicknesses (4-5/8″, 6-1/2″, 8-1/4″, 10-1/4″, 12-1/4″) are designed to allow for dimensional inserts to be used.

Custom panel thicknesses are available but increase material and assembly costs.


The outer layer of sheathing cannot protrude past the edge of the foundation deck.

SIPs rely on sheathing for their axial-load-bearing capabilities. Both layers of sheathing need to be fully supported by the foundation/deck.

Leave plenty of solid panels to the sides of windows and some above to help carry loads without a header.

SIPs perform very well in resisting transverse loads. Properly planned windows will help maintain the integrity of the panel’s structure.

Try to keep your structural supports (ridge, purlins, posts, etc.) within the building envelope instead of building them into the panels.

One of the greatest benefits of using SIPs is its solid core insulation. The reduction of thermal bridging increases a structure’s energy efficiency. You can maintain that tight building envelope by reducing the number of structural elements needed between panel skins.

Consider using thicker wall panels.

This works for both walls and roofs.

Minimize or eliminate any protrusions through the panels when working with a timber frame or “hybrid” building.

Protrusions are nearly impossible to seal properly, and if sealed, the seal is likely to break when the beam shrinks or twists. This creates an area for potential moisture problems.