After taking the informative SIP background class from Green Builder College, called “Builders Education with SIPs,” I learned very few projects include SIP floors. I decided months ago, if I was going to try building a SIP structure, it might as well include the entire structure from the ground up, so it would include SIP floors, SIP walls, and a SIP roof.
The floor panels at around 13′ x 4′ in dimension weigh in around 200 lbs each. I can easily slide them around the jobsite on my oversized sill plates or cart them around using a handy Telpro The Troll cart. Were it’s been particularly challenging is placing the panels around the seismic concerns of holdown hardware and shear walls bolts. These foundation anchors go down between 24″ and 40″ into the concrete foundation, and define the structural footprint. I’ve had to lift the panel over the bolts instead of moving them into place like the other panels.
Another problem I’ve had is the panels are designed for dimensional lumber for support, mostly 2 x 10, which actually measure 1-1/2″ x 9-1/4″ in size. A lot of locations require the use of engineered lumber like LVL, which my local vendors do not make! I’ve had to buy larger material and cut off the excess that takes a lot of time and effort. It has been like the old timber frame homes using hand shavers and block planes to reduce the 9-1/2″ engineered material to fit into the floor panel.
I also had no idea how tough some of these engineered woods are, and boring a hole for the anchor bolts took a high torque 1/2″ drill and 17″ long auger bit to get the job done. My 12V tools and standard 1/2″ drill got about 3″ down before binding and stopping. Good thing I have a 500 RPM drill that can handle those agressive augur bits.
I initially tried to attach all connection using common nails and a titanium head hammer, but after 100 nails, I am now using a palm nailer, and what a difference! no more hand fatigue. The titanium hammer is great for a lightweight tool to reduce elbow and forearm injury, but my hand was hurting after nailing. The palm nailer works great so far.