A Cut Above

What makes Thermocore structural insulated wall and roof panels “a cut above”?  Figuratively, we could give you many reasons. But quite literally, it’s the CNC cutting process used in the manufacturing of our SIPs. CNC stands for “Computer Numeric Controlled,” and it’s simply the most accurate way to cut materials. Thermocore began utilizing CNC cutting 14 years ago. Prior to that we hand-measured and hand-cut panels, as many SIPs manufacturers still do. But our CNC machine is always accurate to 1/32nd of an inch across an entire 24-foot insulated panel. We even double-check accuracy by reviewing CNC files. For each project, we customize the CNC settings to meet the specifications of your building plans. That precision makes Thermocore SIPs installation faster, easier, and less expensive, with no extra time or labor trying to get the pieces to fit right at the jobsite.

Our CNC machine doesn’t just cut the outline of structural insulated panels. Thermocore also incorporates electrical boxes and conduits standard with every insulated panel system, and our CNC machine precisely cuts the location of each electrical box and draws with a marking pen all the conduit runs. Your electrician will have an easier job and the envelope of your home will remain true to your exact requirements.

Not all structural insulated panel companies utilize CNC cutting, so it pays to ask. For better home construction, hand-cut your stakes; CNC cut your SIPs.

“Framesulate”

“Framesulate”- that is what you get when you use Thermocore Panel Systems to frame and insulate your exterior walls and roof all in one quick step. Simply put, Thermocore Structural Insulated panels frame and insulate in one step rather than the two step process of conventional building methods. One quick step vs. two. Why is one step better than the old two step method? A couple of reasons. First and perhaps most obvious is time is money in the building process. Literally. The majority of construction projects are financed through a construction loan. You are paying interest on this loan during your building process and the faster you can get a certificate of occupancy, the faster your construction loan becomes a traditional mortgage. Thermocore panels not only is the fastest method to frame exterior walls and roofs but it also turns your framer into your insulator eliminating your insulation sub and all of the time associated with scheduling and completing the work. The fact is traditional framing/insulating methods are the slowest and “oldest” method to use in new construction. Old and slow equals a modern built house? Old and slow equals wasted time and wasted money. Move your next construction project to the fast lane by choosing Thermocore Panel Systems. Save the time and put the money in your pocket.

Continuous SIPs Improvement

Continuous improvement requires many steps, always moving forward. Over the 16 years that Thermocore Panel Systems has manufactured structural insulated panels, we covered a lot of ground with our steps. Before I tell you about our latest development, let me share a recap of what’s made Thermocore the SIPs innovation leader.

Years ago, we were the first company to introduce pre-cut/pre-bucked structural insulated panels that speed construction. Thermocore also was the first to integrate electrical boxes and conduit in SIPs based on your custom building plan, making the electrician’s job faster and easier. In 2010, Thermocore patented four-inch R-24 insulated wall panels, the highest R-value to work seamlessly with standard 4 9/16-inch window jambs. Thermocore then pushed the insulation envelope further in introducing 8 1/4-inch R-50 insulated roof panels that maximize energy efficiency without adding bulk to roof structures.

But there’s always more ground to cover with SIPs improvements. Thermocore recently incorporated second-generation polyurethane foam from BASF that’s even more environmentally friendly. This innovative insulating foam allows for flatter, more stable wall and roof panels that make construction easier, quicker, and sturdier. Sure, the new foam is a little more expensive in our custom manufacturing process—but you won’t see any price increases. It’s our investment in customer satisfaction, the environment, and continuous SIPs improvement.

We’ll continue working hard to be good stewards of the environment while bringing the best innovations to the building community.

How to Get Meaningful SIPs Cost Information

Every day we get calls from folks asking how much it costs to build with Thermocore SIPs. The answer: Much less than what you save on heating and cooling costs over the lifetime of your home or building project.

But in order to provide an accurate number for Thermocore’s customized structural insulated panels, we need to see some sort of building plan with dimensions. Without that, we can give the often-requested “rough ballpark price” for Thermocore SIPs, but it won’t supply the meaningful information you need.

Every journey begins with a map, and the map for your project is the building plan. Once we see your working drawing, we get a clear understanding of what’s involved and can identify any areas of concern. Your price quote will show dollar amounts broken out for structural insulated wall panels, structural insulated roof panels, delivery, and installation, then you choose the options that work best for your design goals and budget.

We never charge for quotes and usually get back to you within a day. All you need to provide is:

  • Footprint
  • Wall heights
  • Roof plan

We don’t need window and door sizes or other interior details. Even the roughest sketch with dimensions marked will save you time and provide the specific information you need for an accurate SIPs cost analysis.

SIPs on Video

Seeing is believing, so click on the links below to explore the Thermocore difference:

  • Click here to watch Thermocore’s manufacturing process, including the electronic equipment and human care that prepares the SIPs to your specifications, and the infrared testing that ensures each insulated panel performs as promised.
  • Click here to see a time-lapse video of Thermocore SIPs installed on a net-zero project in Indiana.

A Story of SIPs and Construction Efficiency

There’s so much to consider when you design a building. So many opportunities to be efficient–or not.

Here’s what one customer shared about using structural insulated panels: “Thermocore gives us the best thermal resistance values for the square footage and thicknesses we use, which in construction means other efficiencies–the wall thicknesses translate into foundation thicknesses and jam extensions for windows,” said Marty Serena, AIA, principal with Chicago-based Serena Sturm Architects. “The bigger and thicker you get, the more parts and pieces you need from the other trades to compensate. With Thermocore SIPS, we can build a better box quicker and more efficiently.”

Read more about Marty’s experience with Thermocore structural insulated panels here.

Why My Winter Coat Reminds Me of SIPs

As summer swiftly fades into the rearview mirror and fall begins the pre-game to winter, we all start what I call “closet turnover.” What was once our staple of short-sleeve shirts and shorts moves to the holding pen until the warmth of summer returns.

As I go through my winter wardrobe, it occurs to me how high-tech clothing has made the winter months so much easier and more enjoyable. Gone is cotton and wool outerwear, replaced by Gor-Tex® and Polar Fleece. High-tech fibers allow for much thinner fabrics that resist cold and moisture. Winter clothes feel warmer and more lightweight. Once fringe names like North Face® are now the staple in winter clothing. They’re not the cheapest, but we prefer them because they achieve the one thing we all desire more than anything in winter–warmth–and they do it without the bulk of clothing of the past.

In essence, that’s what structural insulated panels and Thermocore do. SIPs provide the high-tech Polar Fleece and Gor-Tex® wrap for your house–and more importantly, for you. You can settle for 1950s construction technology. But would you settle for outdated technology in a new coat? Will the gear that kept you warm in 1950 provide the same level of comfort as today’s fabrics? Think about it. Ask your builder as he stands in front of you in a high-tech fabric coat: How are you going to keep my family warm? 1950s or 2012?

When Is a SIP Not a SIP?

“Often imitated but never duplicated” is a phrase that has been muttered for years. When it applies to building panels, with products like eSIPs, in a way I’m glad.

Why am I glad about half-hearted imitations of true SIPs?  Well, for one, it shows that SIPs are worth trying to emulate. It’s proof that they’re finally gaining recognition for their superior thermal performance and for being a true advancement over stick framing.

Unfortunately, imitators are usually nothing more than that…never reaching the performance level of the original. (Think tribute band.) While there’s a certain novelty in product imitations, the phrase “you get what you pay for” generally applies. According to the Structural Insulated Panel Association, SIPs consist of an insulating foam core sandwiched between two structural facings, typically oriented strand board (OSB). No studs, so no air leaks. Any variation is just that: an alteration of the original.

If you want the best energy-saving performance, only true SIP panels deliver. Anything else is just seconds.