Clients: James & Moira Funk
Project Type: Residential Home Building
Square Footage: 3800 sq ft
SIP Benefits / Energy Savings: Incredibly low energy bills
R-value: Thinner walls to accomplish the same R-value and strength
Thickness of SIP Wall Panels: 4” insulated wall panels withstood 170-mph destructive winds and pounding rain from Category 5 hurricane
In October 2018, Hurricane Michael hit James and Moira Funk’s two-story, 3,800 square-foot home, built with Thermocore structural insulated wall and roof panels in Panama City, Florida.
“We took a direct hit from the eye of the hurricane,” James said. “Our house was struck with debris from all around us, 170-mph destructive winds, and pounding rain. We’re talking about three-and-a-half hours of constant abuse.”
After the hurricane, nearby Tyndall Air Force Base was allotted over $1 billion to rebuild. The town of Mexico Beach, just a 20-minute drive away, is no longer. But the Funk’s home? “It shook a little bit, but not bad,” James said. “We didn’t have any water in the house, even though we lost some of our roof. We definitely had less damage than the homes around us – even the newly built ones.”
The intensity of the storm caught area residents by surprise. “When we went to bed, Hurricane Michael was coming at us as a Category 3,” James said. “When we got up the next morning it was a Category 4, but we decided to stay because we knew our Thermocore SIPs would withstand that.”
Authorities later upgraded the hurricane to Category 5, the highest classification. According to the National Hurricane Center, in a Category 5 storm, “A high percentage of framed homes will be destroyed, with total roof failure and wall collapse.”
On the Funk’s SIPs home, siding on the second floor broke off into thousands of pieces. In addition, “We have a metal roof and found out later it wasn’t installed properly,” James said. “We lost a number of pieces of that. Normally, once the roof is compromised in a hurricane, there’s water in the house – but our six-inch structural insulated roof panels prevented the water from coming in because everything is sealed so tightly. No windows were broken; the SIPs walls didn’t warp or shift to put stress on the window frames.”
Before building this home, James previously served as construction foreman for four other SIPs homes with panels from other manufacturers. “I was hunting around for something better and found that Thermocore’s structural insulated panels are stronger. You use thinner walls to accomplish the same R-value and strength.”
Bay County, Florida, where the Funks live boasts the second-highest hurricane building code in the state. “We had to have a structural engineer look at our plans,” James said. “He determined a structural wind load on this house of 155 mph. That’s really cool with the four-inch insulated wall panels. Stick-built houses here need six-inch walls to meet the 130-mph code.”
As an added advantage, “Our electric bills are incredibly low, and the walls are very quiet,” James said.
As the Funks now look to downsize to a new home, they’re selling their Florida SIPs home. “I think the structural insulated panels will add value and give potential buyers confidence in this house,” James said.
In the new home they’re building in Tennessee, “Absolutely we’ll use Thermocore SIPs; we wouldn’t consider anything else,” James said. “Nobody believes in Thermocore’s technology more than I do. We tend to brag a bit about our Thermocore SIPs home – CAT5 strong!”
“Absolutely we’ll use Thermocore SIPs; we wouldn’t consider anything else. Nobody believes in Thermocore’s technology more than I do. We tend to brag a bit about our Thermocore SIPs home – CAT5 strong!”
-James Funk, Homeowner and former construction foreman