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A 7-Step Guide In Choosing And Installing Insulated Panels

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Insulated panels are high-quality building systems for commercial and residential construction. They’re sometimes referred to as structural insulated panels and they have an insulating structure that’s located beneath two structured facings. Insulated panels are made from durable materials, and an excellent feature of these panels is one can fabricate them to suit almost all building designs. The panels aren’t only affordable but they’re also energy-friendly and they usually yield a very strong building. Precisely, building your structures using insulated panels saves you labor, money, and time.

Structural Insulated Panels (SIPs)  are employed in several businesses such as construction, aerospace, and automotive. When the panels are brought to you right from the factory, they’re ready for use instantly. The good news is one can use them for roof, ceiling, or wall. One can fit them as a supportive structure and use them as a covering at the same time. When this is done, be sure that the insulation properties are being maximized.   

Due to the aforementioned properties, insulated panels are popular today for their use as roofs in residential houses, construction of lightweight halls, and soundproof materials in drywall buildings. Read on to know more about choosing and installing insulated panels.

Factors To Consider When Choosing Insulated Panels

Insulated panels aren’t hard to be found. Initially, these panels were limited to be used in the industrial sector. However, their use today is diverse as they’re now employed in gyms, schools, churches, homes, transport terminals, and sports centers. 

Still, deciding which insulated panel to use can be a technical task. The most affordable panel like polystyrene may not be your best choice at times. Worse, it can compromise productivity, interfering with the efficiency of the building or even risking the life of the users. With this, several factors should be considered before choosing an insulating panel. Here are the following:

1. Purpose Of The Building

Considering the use of the structure, a panel for both wall and ceiling will differ. For instance, office buildings require smoother panels in comparison to product warehouses. Thus, it’s important to identify the purpose of the building before choosing an insulated panel as this will help determine the best material to choose. No one wants to risk their lives or have a structure that won’t last because of using poor materials.

2. Technical Considerations

This refers to the factors affecting the safety of the construction. One of these is the features of the panel regarding load resistance on the roof. This is a crucial parameter for those living in areas with harsh winters. Another factor is wind resistance. For all buildings with a huge height or those on the coast, this too should be considered. 

For locations with hurricanes or other related phenomena, the panel to be used should be wind-resistant as well. Again, water tightness and major and secondary structures of the construction should be taken into account too.  

3. Climate

The climate is a key determinant in choosing the panel to install in your building. For example, the coast has considerably salty air, so this aspect is vital to determine the type of paint to be used. If your residence is in a hot area, an insulating panel that’s reflective is the best option. In addition, rain, snow, humidity, and wind need to be assessed to choose the best panel. 

4. Insulation Features

The thermal feature is important and determined by the form core used, the material, and the thickness. For example, one can’t use a similar panel for a cold warehouse and a furniture store. With this said, before picking a panel for one’s building, it’s crucial to consider the R-value. R-value refers to a rating that’s used in defining the thermal resistance of a material per square inch. 

There are usually minimum fixed R-values for all new residences, and they vary among different jurisdictions. To lower energy bills, one is advised to set the R-value above the lowest specified value. To determine one’s R-value, get a professional to provide it, which is usually after considering one’s specification in mind.

5. Aesthetics

Aesthetics is a principal factor in architecture. The appealing effect of a building covers the combined aspects of a building’s size, texture, shape, unity, color, balance, contrast, emphasis, space, symmetry, proportion, decoration, pattern, alignment, context, and culture. A building shouldn’t only satisfy durability, safety, serviceability, but also aesthetics. Though peoples’ needs vary, it’s important to pick insulated panels that’ll give your building a stylish and modern appearance. 

6. Ecological Aspects

The insulating panel to be used should have recycling properties, reduced energy use, and a low effect on the environment. Consumers and businesses are opting for green choices. Thus, pick a panel with reduced carbon footprints. Rest assured that this doesn’t mean the panel will be low in efficiency and productivity. 

7. Materials Used To Build Your Home

The materials used in constructing your residence pose a big impact on the thermal mass you’ll be tackling. Materials like concrete and brick have the potential to store heat and release it slowly. Thus, the building material is a key factor to consider before picking an insulated panel. Again, one should also examine windows and doors. This is because double-glazed windows will result in saving huge amounts of heat in one’s home. 

Insulating panels aren’t similar. They come in different materials, among other differences. The most expensive panel may not always be the best one for your building, so it’s advisable to go through the characteristics of the insulated panels to choose one that fully fits your project. The above-discussed factors will greatly help one in picking ideal panels. 

Installing Insulated Panels

A crew of 3-4 people is needed in the installation process of these panels. A few types of equipment are required other than construction tools, including sealant guns, circular saws, band saws, and other materials. One can install the panels from a lift or the ground. Materials may be staged on the ground level or interior floors. Typically, panel installation results when the steel framing is put in place before the interior fitting. 

To install insulated panels, you must incorporate the services of experienced and qualified professionals. For best results, the installer ought to study and comprehend the installation guide and drawing of the project before the actual procedures. Panels should be installed as per the installation drawings for efficiency. Here are some other considerations:

  • Structural Framing

To avoid aesthetics and structural issues with the end product, framing should be done within the manufacturer’s specifications. The structure attached should be kept at a closer distance as compared to other systems. Extreme difference from the manufacturer’s specifications subjects the insulated panels to stress, leading to diminished load volume and aesthetic changes. 

Again, structural framing needs proper designing to accommodate design loads and erection imposed in the wall panels. Always ensure the location of the perimeter seals and interior or exterior panel joints is effectively specified for vapor and moisture control requirements. Lastly, compare the panel and structural shop drawings to confirm whether the wall supports are correctly positioned. Correct any variations before beginning the installation.

  • Cutting Panels

Before cutting insulated panels, put on safety glasses, long-sleeved shirts, and gloves. To cut them into desired pieces and shapes, use a band saw or circular saw with a metal cutting blade. A reciprocating saw shouldn’t be used to cut these panels as this can result in delaminating. Use screw guns that have an adjustable torque to fix self-drilling fasteners while simultaneously ensuring they aren’t over-torque.

If smaller penetrations are needed, cut the panel surface with a portable router but use a serrated knife to cut the foam. To avoid surface rusting, remove metal shavings from field cut installation panels. Over time, dirt may accumulate on the panels. To solve this, clean all exposed sealants according to the manufacturer’s guidelines. 

  • Panel Caulking And Sealants

Before you lift insulated metal panels, apply panel sealants on the panel joints. To achieve the water infiltration and air levels that are indicated, always ensure you employ the best sealing system. One can apply a sealant known as non-skinning butyl on the panel ends and connect them to a field-applied seal positioned on the side joint of the panel.

This will produce panels with a full perimeter of butyl sealant on liner sides, producing an outstanding vapor barrier. At transition positions like corners, use effective liner trim to maintain continuity of the liner seal. When the panels are brought with a sealant, ensure the installers inspect them for compatible bead size. They can add specified sealants as recommended too. 

  • Installing And Lifting Panels

When lifting insulated panels, use a suction lifting device or other factory standard methods. If you want to keep the longer insulated panels in an upright position and you don’t have a suction lifter, turn them on edge and then lift from the heaps. This is vital to avoid over-flexing and to prevent potential damages. 

Place the panel’s bottom end on the base and tilt it. Slide the panel into the groove of the prefacing insulated panel with the use of a firm and gradual pressure to move the panels together. Don’t bind the panels into place. To maintain consistent joint modulation, use plastic spacers on the exterior side. Confirm that every panel is square and plumb before the installation of fasteners.

  • Fasteners

Generally, insulated panels are installed with clips that are usually hidden and Trek-style fasteners that are self-tapping. To realize the load values published, it’s important to use the clips and fasteners the panel manufacturer has recommended. The two should be fixed regarding the manufacturer’s regulations as approved by structural calculations. Still, don’t underdrive or overdrive the fasteners since this may lead to leakage.

  • Cleaning Panels

Once installed, wipe the panel surfaces with a wet cloth. This will increase the productivity of the coatings while simultaneously eradicating all oil, grease, dirt, and other unwanted contaminants. To remove tough stains or superficial oxidation, a general household cleaner and thorough rinsing can greatly help. Also, when touch paint is necessary, the panel manufacturer can be contacted to provide the best paint chip or touch-up paint to maintain color matching. 

After completion, check whether all fixings are tightened and fitted correctly. Again, confirm that the fixings don’t distort panels. And if any minor scratches are evident, they should be rectified. Finally, keep the panel free from debris or sward. Insulated panels provide an exceptional level of value in comparison to local multi-component wall structures. 

As always, be cautious in installing and observe proper safety procedures such as wearing protective equipment. It’s also crucial to seek help from a professional to ensure proper installation. Don’t try to put the panels on your own if you aren’t sure how to do so.

Why You Should Use Insulated Panels In Your Construction

There are many reasons why you should opt for insulated panels instead of traditional construction methods. Some key benefits of using these panels include:

  • Design Flexibility

Insulated panels can be fabricated and engineered to fit different designs. This gives clients and architects creative freedom and flexibility to build aesthetically appealing designs.

  • Excellent Sound Absorption

These panels have good sound absorption features. For those who need quiet residences, this is the perfect option. Again, if you’re residing in a highly-populated area and noise pollution bothers you, these panels will assure you a quiet environment. 

  • Environmentally Friendly

Insulated panels consume less energy and are considered friendly to the environment. This is in comparison to other traditional building materials like concrete, steel, and masonry. 

  • Cost-Efficient

These materials are simple to work with. If you need quality guaranteed building materials for a limited budget, then consider purchasing insulated panels.


Takeaway

Insulated panels are high-quality building materials. They’re perfect for new buildings, whether commercial, residential, or industrial. These panels feature a strong, durable, and energy-friendly building choice that achieves and exceeds stringent building rules. They’re also gradually replacing local construction methods like timber framing. Consider the ideas mentioned here as you choose the suitable insulated panel for your establishment.

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Latest Issue

BDC 318 : Jul 2024