Oh, they sound so boring: structural insulated panels, or SIPs, the computer-designed-and-cut building material for walls, floors and roofs that can both structurally support and insulate your timber home.
Devise a pretty facade for your home by adding visual interest, depth and texture to its exterior walls. One way of doing this is to combine panel length and thickness for a pilaster effect. (That’s a shallow, rectangular form that imitates the look of a column, by the way.)
When you use SIPs for your roof, you can cut and shape overhangs so they not only have visual interest, they’ll also cast shadows on your home’s facade as the sun rises and sets. While you’re gussying up your overhangs though, be respectful of solar angles and sight lines, cautions Marty.
Often, we think of SIPs for walls (and roofs), but you can use them underfoot, too. Play with length to cantilever a main-level floor (much like alternating thickness to cantilever an upper-level floor.) Since all of the pieces are precision cut with computers, it’s easier to create interesting corners and lines in your home’s footprint.
You could cut down the excess length of a SIP wall to make your home’s footprint a box shape. But that’s boring. Instead of lopping off the extra length of a wall, leave it. “With the wall plane extended, you create an exterior landscape and backdrop that invites the eye toward your front door,” Marty explains. “It becomes a part of the entry that you walk along as it welcomes you inside.”
Read the full story in the March/April 2007 issue of Timber Home Living.
Photo by James Ray Spahn