Personal tools
log in | join | help

Steel 'SIP-ped' building questions...

by Modren Man last modified Jun 02, 2013 09:27 AM
Editorial Rating: 1 2 3 4 5
Average Rating: 1 2 3 4 5 ( 7 votes)



Steel 'SIP-ped' building questions...

Posted by Modren Man at November 29. 2005

I'm getting ready to start searching for vendors to put up an industrial style building for my home in a few months, but have a few questions I'm hoping some of you might be able to help me with. I plan on having a pretty simple rectangular structure, about 45 x 85 or so in size, with ~16' walls all on a concrete slab. The interior will have about 1000 sqft partitioned off for a living space (probably two level) with the rest being open spanned 'shopspace' (complete with at least one large garage door). The roof will be a sloping shed style.

The main issue I'm wondering about is that I'd like to use steel skinned SIPS all the way around, but so far I can't seem to find any steel building manufacturers that offer them. I know they're available, but nearly all of the SIPS websites I go to specialize in wood SIPS used in normal domestic homes, or open faced steel framed SIPS that are intended to be sheathed with something after install, or are panels skinned with some type of fiberglass or concrete covering. I'd like to find just a simple painted steel encased foam panel system to skin my building with. And all the steel building sites always just show the typical bolted steel sheeting on the outside with the insulation blankets sandwiched in between the structural members, with little or no mention of SIPS availability/use. So all of this raises some basic questions in my mind that I'm hoping to get at least some clarification on. Here's a few for starters:

1. Does anyone know of a reputable steel building manufacturer (in MD area) that could readily handle a building as described above without gouging me or screwing up a SIPS spec'ed job? (I know Butler can do it, but I would imagine their price would far exceed that of the industry norm)

2. How much of a premium should I expect to pay for SIPS over typical insulation?

3. What are the compelling reasons to choose SIPS over the traditional method of construction? (as pertaining to a steel building of this nature)

4. I really want to have the option of cutting large holes in the panels in the future for big windows along many of the wall lengths. Can these panels be cut in that manner without dictating a large amount of structural reinforcement? What should I expect to do (structurally) when I do install extensive windowing? Is there anything I can/should spec ahead of time in anticipation of this future mod?

Thanks in advance, looking forward to the response(s).

Re: Steel 'SIP-ped' building questions...

Posted by Gregory La Vardera at November 29. 2005

1. First, you should work with Northern Steel because this is exactly what we are doing - pre-engineered frame with insulated steel panels. If you want a simple rectangular building rather than one of our house designs, that is fine. They are out of Delaware and our first house is going in MD. They are close by.

Second - you have to stop calling them SIPS because they are not SIPS. SIPs is Structural Insulated Panels, meaning they provide the structural support for the house. With a pre-engineered steel system you are supporting the house on the primary steel frame and the insulated steel panels are what we would call a curtain wall meaning they carry no load but themselves.

2. The insulated panels will cost quite a bit more than an uninsulated pane, but Northern can put a number on it for you.

3. The compelling reason is, no.1 you don't have to add batt insulation, and drywall to cover it so you are eliminating a great deal of interior finish work, and no.2 if you like the industrial nature of this kind of construction then why cover it up with drywall because you need to cover your insulation. It also gets you to a dry insulated shell much faster.

4. You have to plan for wall openings in advance so the openings can be framed. You can wall over them and cut them out later if you wish, but remember you are then throwing out some expensive insulated panels...

We should talk and I can put you in touch with the person to speak to at Northern. I know I have your email from before, but why don't you email me and I'll call you.

Re: Steel 'SIP-ped' building questions...

Posted by Modren Man at November 29. 2005

Thanks for the response Greg, your time is appreciated.

Ok, so they are not SIPs, my bad. But I thought a thick foam core sandwiched between two steel sheets was inherently structural, or at least that it has a meaninful and significant measure of structural rigidity that might lessen dependence on the conventional steel skeleton? If not, no biggee, in a way it makes things easier in the event I do cut holes in them to put additional windows and doors in later.

Also one thing that concerns me are the roof panels. It's not that I don't like the roofing panels, they look sturdy, efficient and easy to install. But what happens after these panels have been used for 20 or more years? I mean all those wide ranging thermal cycles (and expansion and contraction that goes with it), along with normal aging/deteriation of adhesives along with water vapor intrusion (including some oxidation of the steel) is likely to eventually delaminate at least some of the foam from the metal sheath. After this happens, won't a new roof be required? What I mean by this, is since the insulation and roofing material are integrated, won't this mean you will have to pay for the replacement of both insulation and roofing material instead of just the roofing material itself as would be required with a conventional roof?

Thanks again...

Re: Steel 'SIP-ped' building questions...

Posted by Gregory La Vardera at November 29. 2005

I don't think the steel will de-laminate from the foam. The paint will wear down and you eventually will have to paint. If the roof does eventually rust during your ownership you will have to deal with that. It is a sloped roof so you won't have puddling or the kinds of situations where it stays wet and promotes corrosion. Way down the line if it begins to leak, then you can put other roof systems over it.

Re: Steel 'SIP-ped' building questions...

Posted by Scott Mason at November 29. 2005

Have you considered using AAC cladding panels? Cheap, easy installation, 4 hour fire rated with good insulating and soundproofing qualitities, etc.

Re: Steel 'SIP-ped' building questions...

Posted by Modren Man at November 30. 2005

Wow, those AAC's look great. I didn't know about AAC's so thanks for the tip. Looks pretty appealing, especially considering how I love concrete or pretty much anything super durable and low maintenance. But one thing that concerns me is that I don't think walls made of this material would be particularly appealing (aesthetically speaking) without at least a partial sheathing of some type, which would add significantly to the cost (especially for a building of the size I'm considering). Any idea how much a finished 45 x 85 ft building using these AAC's would cost?

Also, does anyone know a rule of thumb or some form of 'guestimation coefficient' when it comes to computing the cost of all (or most of) the various uninstalled and installed insulated wall/roofing materials per sqft? (given same approx insulative performance) I find myself constantly befuddled with value/price/cost benefit assessments when confronted with comparing differing wall systems. Like these cool AAC's vs insulated steel panels, or foam core concrete wall systems vs the conventional steel sheathed/batten insulation/drywall walls typically used on steel buildings like I'm considering.

Re: Steel 'SIP-ped' building questions...

Posted by Kevin Dickson at December 03. 2005

Structall makes a steel SIP
[url href=]Structall[/url]

Re: Steel 'SIP-ped' building questions...

Posted by Chris M. Kavala at December 21. 2007

Previously Gregory La Vardera wrote:

We use true steel SIPs for our construction



Re: Steel 'SIP-ped' building questions...

Posted by Chris M. Kavala at June 08. 2010
Powered by Ploneboard



this website is for sale

This website will undergo significant changes in 2020.  First, the domain name has been sold. Visitors will not be able to find the site at after the new domain owner publishes their new website. In the meantime, we are looking for a buyer for the content, someone who wants to continue the mission of the website. If that is you, contact marshall [at] I will provide details.


Website migration, maintenance and customization provided by Grafware.