What's In a Word? Glossary of Common SIP Terminology

Posted by Roberta Bartel on July 16, 2019

As you begin the process of building, it may seem like contractors, building supply outlets, and others are speaking a foreign language.  Now throw SIPs into the mix - and wowzers! What are they talking about?

This SIP glossary will help you to be able to talk the talk and avoid possible misunderstandings:

definition of the word definition

  • Acoustical Sealant:

    non-skinning, non-hardening synthetic rubber sealant

     compatible with expanded polystyrene (EPS) that retains flexibility for a long period.  It is used to seal the panel connections and minimize air leakage.

Basement Panels:  SIP panels constructed with a treated plywood exterior and treated 2x dimensional lumber on 12" or 16" centers. It is used in below-grade applications.

Beam Bracket: A T-shaped steel strap which fastens the king post to the center beam. (photo of log king post)

Beam Hangar:  Welded steel bracket typically used to attach beams to other beams.

Beam Pocket:  A factory-cut opening that holds the support beam in place.

Center Support Beam:  A factory-constructed beam that supports the upper end of the roof panels over long, open spans.

Center Wall:  Site-built wall used to support the upper end of the roof panels.

Insulated Connecting Post:  Originally patented by Enercept, the post is made by laminating dimensional lumber to a dense insulating core. This method virtually eliminates thermal bridging. The posts are factory-installed to one panel and received into the adjoining panel on the job site.

Corner Adjustment Panel: A SIP panel that is designed to be more easily trimmed to compensate for any growth that may have occurred during the erection of the panels. Also called a fly-by corner.

Electrical Channels or Chases: Factory-installed passageways found at 16" above the lower edge of the main floor SIP panels for electrical and other wiring. These can be located wherever needed, such as counter-height in kitchens and baths. They are also installed vertically for switches and to connect wiring to roof or ceiling.

EPS: Expanded polystyrene, the solid foam insulating core of Enercept and other SIPs.

Growth: Joint spacing and variance of humidity levels can slightly effect the exact measurements of panels. Therefore, finished lengths of SIP walls and roofs can vary slightly. 

Lintel:  Header material, a narrow panel positioned above a window or door opening. 

LVL: Laminated Veneered Lumber, 2x-type material manufactured in a process as plywood. Stronger than traditional 2x's. Sometimes used to support the upper end of roof panels.

OSB: Oriented Strand Board, a composite wood-based panel made from new-shredded, new-growth timber. Strands are oriented, or arranged, so maximum strength is achieved in any given direction and combined with adhesives to produce greater tension and compression performance. A common exterior skin on SIPs.

Seam Tape: An adhesive tape designed to be applied over the interior seams of SIP walls and roofs to minimize moist interior air from escaping through the panel seams.  

Sill Plate: Dimensional lumber installed on the foundation to provide support for the SIP walls.

SIPs:  Structural Insulated Panels.  A manufactured, high performance building system for all types of construction. Used to form the exterior shell of a building. Usually comprised of two OSB skins laminated to a solid EPS insulating core.

Top Plate: Dimensional lumber used to tie the top end of SIPs together.

Now, you are ready to talk SIPs!  


SIPS 101


Topics: SIP Home, building systems, Structural Insulated Panels