Insul-Wall Benefits

A modern building method that incorporates the insulation within the framing creating a superior exterior wall that eliminates the need for sheathing.

At the heart of the system is a core of rigid Expanded Polystyrene (EPS). EPS material is known for its exceptional insulating properties. This familiar material has proven itself in safety, strength and insulating qualities for the past 45 years in the construction business.

The feature that gives EPS the characteristics of high insulating value, permeability and great strength to weight ratio is its composition of millions of tiny, connected balloon-like cells. Polystyrene is an inert substance that cannot rot, mildew or become waterlogged.

The combination of all the EPS characteristics are used by Insul-Wall® to produce competitively priced walls that go up fast, provide super insulation and avoid the problem of condensation within the walls for the life of the building.

Insul-Wall® is available in pre-assembled wal sections custom made to your house plans or in easy-to-assemble components. This allows flexibility for do-it-yourself home construction.

Structural Strength

Structurally, a SIP can be compared to an I-beam: the foam core acts as the web, while the facings are analogous to the I-beam’s flanges. All of the elements of a SIP are stressed, the skins are in tension and compression, while the core resists shear and buckling. Under load, the facings of a SIP act as slender columns, and the core stabilizes the facings and resists forces trying to deflect the columns. The thicker the core, the better the panel resists buckling, so larger-core SIPs offer more insulation and are stronger as well.

A tornedo crumpled the concrete foundation of this Sumner County, Tennessee SIP house and swept the porch away, but the SIP walls and roof were still there. The contents of the house were only slightly damaged. Photo Courtesy Team Industries

Repeated engineering tests show that SIP construction is stronger than conventional wall and roof framing. A typical SIP wall panel will withstand vertical compression of over 2000 lbs. per linear foot before structural damage occurs. This means that an 8′ section of SIP wall would support about 4 Cadillacs or one Mack truck. No conventionally framed wall could survive this much weight.

Resistance to horizontal loads is called shear resistance — the ability of an object to withstand horizontal forces without damage. Racking resistance is the ability to stand this force without deforming.

This Clermont, Georgia SIP house survived a 1998 tornado with superficial damage while 27 conventional houses around it were destroyed. Photo Courtesy Michael Morley and AFM Team Industries

Using the standard ICBO and BOCA approved test (ASTM E-72-80, “Conducting Strength Tests of Panels for Building Construction, Section 14), testers found that a standard 4′x8′x4-1/2″ SIP panel wall had over three times as much resistance shear stress as a traditional wall assembly. At a load level that would destroy a conventional wall a SIP wall will deflect about 1/8″. This difference is clearly evident in a SIP structure that is exposed to high winds. The absence of creaks and groans is very noticeable. This is also why a SIP building has fewer or no drywall callbacks due to cracking or fastener back-out.

Such high shear strength translates to real safety when mother nature starts to act up. The 1993 Kobe, Japan earthquake devastated much of the city, but SIP houses in the destruction zone escaped virtually unscathed. Similarly, in a 1998 tornado in Clermont, Georgia, a SIP house in the path of the storm lost its 25 mature trees and half of its roof shingles, but the house suffered no structural damage. Twenty-seven other, conventionally framed houses were destroyed. SIP panels are increasingly the material of choice for walls and roofs in hurricane and earthquake-prone areas. SIP houses in the recent Florida hurricanes lost singles and windows, but the structures survived where conventional houses all but disappeared. In 2002 a tornado in Sumner County, TN crumbled the concrete foundation under a SIP home and completely obliterated its porch, but the SIP shell survived without significant damage, continuing to protect the home’s contents from wind and rain.

Energy Conservation

All insulation has properties and characteristics that are common to each other. Is is the performance of these properties that will determine how much or how little energy is required to heat your home.

The following properties are critical in measuring the effectiveness of the insulation you use.

  1. The rate which heat transfers through insulation is measurable in heat loss per hour. Obtaining this calculation gives the R-value of the insulation. INSUL-WALL® HAS A SIGNIFICANTLY HIGHER “R” FACTOR PER INCH OF THICKNESS THAN INSULATION BATTS OR LOOSE FILL.
  2. The air movement that insulation allows within itselt plays a critical role on the effect of its “R”-value. Active air movement within insulations reduces R-value and can create condensation. INSUL-WALL® IS A SOLID MATERIAL THAT ELIMINATES AIR MOVEMENT AND MAINTAINS ITS R-VALUE.

As one can see, the value of insulating properties plays a significant role on the effect of heating cost. Two insulations may have the same R-value yet differ greatly when heating costs are calculated.

The bitter Canadian cold combined with extreme wind chill factors have no effect on the high performance of Insul-Wall®.

Lower Building Costs

Pre-assembled exterior walls of Insul-Wall® built with doors and windows framed to your specifications are deliverd to your construction site ready to stand up. Cut-outs for electrical outlets, conduit, and plumbing are made quickly and easily with keyhole saw or knife. On site labour is reduced to a minimum.

Using strong, rigid Insul-Wall® means you have no need for exterior sheathing. And where other insulation material required 2″ x 6″ studs to attain minimum R-value requirements, the unique Insul-Wall® system requires 2″ x 4″ studs to meet and surpass minimum R-value requirements. This alone will reduce framing cost by 20-25%.

Combining the savings in sheathing and framing costs, one easily recognizes the significant savings in material and labour costs using Insul-Wall. Smart builders now realize that SIP Panels cost less than traditional building materials and increasingly making use of them in construction.

Additional saving apply if you plan to use a carpenter or contractor to purchase and install Insul-Wall® components to fit your framing. The ease of installation makes Insul-Wall® perfect for the do-it-yourself projects.

Thermal Bridging

Traditional frame-house construction, even using the best insulation materials available, suffers considerable heat loss through the phenomenon known as Thermal Bridging.

Thermal bridging means interior heat escapes quickly through the wood framing. Most framing in walls is in direct contact with the inside heat and the outside cold. Because wood is a poor insulator, heat is easily lost through this channel. This can amount to heat losses of 15-20% in a traditional home.

Insul-Wall® overcomes the heat loss due to thermal bridging by separating the wood framing from the exterior wall face with super insulating EPS. This break insures that heat on the inside has no direct passage to transfer through to the outside wall. This is a very innovative feature of the Insul-Wall® system.

As the illustrations shows, 2″ x 4″ studs on the interior are separated from the exterior 1″ x 3″ strapping by Insul-Wall®’s unique design which features tight fitting “no draft” joints.

Breathability

Super insulation in today’s homes can create major condensation problems. And that, as more and more home-builders and home-owners are discovering, may lead to early incidence of rot in wooden members of the house frame and unsightly mildew on the inside walls.

Air movement in fiberous batt insulated walls can result in moisture build-up and seriously diminishes its actual R-value.

Insul-Wall® offers a simple and immediate solution to both problems: it allows water vapor to migrate through its cavity while maintaining 100% of its R-value. Eliminating condensation removes the constant threat of decay and mildew with your walls.

Because Insul-Wall® utilizes EPS which is a rigid insulation, it will never sag, decay or lose it’s high R-value even under the highly volatile climate and temperature changes of the Canadian climate.