SIP Builder's Blog | Foard Panel Blog – Foard Panel

Award Winning Observatory

The Gemma Observatory is a private observatory in Danbury, NH and has earned a 2016 Design Award from the Boston Society of Architects and the 2017 AIA Small Projects Award. Located in an area with no light pollution it is perfect for night time observations.

This innovative design, forgoes the traditional dome and instead imitates the angular look of the surrounding granite. The steel core and ring allows the telescope slit to be easily turned by hand. The design has few square corners or plumb walls. The complexity of the design required our designers to put our 3D modelling to the test to cut all the angles accurately. The design time and precision required to make all the pieces fit with the steel and the concrete was significant, but the end product is striking.

Finished Photos From Anmahian Winton Architects

Foard Panel Install

Here is a time-lapse camera view of our team installing a classic cape cod style home. It was built in 16 days at the end of December and early January 2017.

Cold weather didn’t stop this install from being done quickly and efficiently. Even with just the building wrap over the windows it is already significantly warmer inside than outside. The crews that follow will much appreciate the nice inside work all winter.

HERS Score of 1!

This is one of our high performance homes, located in Carrol, NH with a design day temperature of -90 degrees Farenheit and about 8500 HDDs annually. This 3,205 square foot home is heated with an air to air heat pump and stays toasty warm all winter. The heating energy required is 24,000btu/hr peak load and less than 3,000 kwh or 10,000 kbtu annually, working out to about $500 per year. That is a very impressive number for a house on the north side of the White Mountains! This house Just won the 2015 SIPA Excellence Awards. It is First place in the under 3000 sqft residential category and Runner-Up in overall residential. To see the award page click Here

This timber frame has 10.25″ EPS SIPs (R-38) wall, 12.25″ NEO SIPs (R-52), top of the line windows, and full under slab insulation to achieve a complete high performance envelope. Foard Panel crew panel install, combined with Garland Mill construction created a building that scored a 1 on the HERS scale (or 32 before the PV was added to the equation). With a 0.37 ACH50 and 199 CFM50 (0.035 CFM50/sqft of envelope) this home is about as air tight as is possible, well below even the Passive House Institute’s rigorous standard of 0.68 ACH50 or 0.05 CFM50/square foot of envelope. Five Star Energy Star Certified, this is one more example of how Foard Panel can help achieve an incredibly high performance building. If you want it done right, ask Foard Panel.

Below is a simple timeline of our construction process.

SIP Studio Install

These are the Finished photos of a local artist studio designed, manufactured, and installed by Foard Panel Inc.

Below is an amusing demonstration of how air tight a SIP building is. The air tightness of a SIP buildings is one of the major benefits for its energy efficiency. The amount of air that leaks in is minuscule, allowing the homeowner complete control of where the air comes in from and at what temperature it enters the room. The air tightness also contributes the the quietness of the building, as sound mostly is transmitted through air movement. Therefore, with very little air movement through your envelope, there is very little sound that leaks in or out.

Foundation Specifications for Pre-Cut Panels

As with most pre-cut and pre-assembled building systems, Foard Panel makes basic tolerance assumptions for the foundation. If the foundation is too far from the drawings, panels will need to be re-cut in the field, and, possibly, some will need to be re-made. These tolerances should be within the capabilities of most concrete contractors, but discussing expectations never hurts. These requirements apply to typical residential scale foundations. Foundations that are very deep, complicated, or have very high loads may have different specifications and must come from the foundation structural engineer.

Match the plans: straight, level, and square:
Straightness of each wall: ±¼”, Concrete edge varies no more than a ¼” from a straight line pulled from outside corner to outside corner of wall (this should be true of either edge of wall).
Levelness of each wall: +0 / -½”, Wall cannot be any higher than specified and no more than ½” lower than height specified on plans.
Squareness of Building: diagonal ±½”, The diagonal from corner to opposite corner can be off by no more than ½” from the plans and/or the opposite diagonal.
All walls must be plumb. This is not a requirement for SIPs but a general structural requirement for all foundations.

Anchor Spacing and Specifications:
Our recommendations for anchor bolt spacing are based on typical residential scale buildings in an inland wind zone. These recommendations are our suggestions, the structural engineer’s recommendations always supersede ours.
Anchor Specification: 5/8” diameter x 12” Hot Dipped Galvanized anchor bolts.
Embedment Specifications: Anchor bolts embedded at least 8” into concrete, with 4” sticking out of concrete.
Anchor Bolt Edge Distance: Anchors are preferably at least 2-½” from the edge of concrete. Exact edge distances are dependent on job specific wall to foundation details including thickness of panel, but center of the anchor bolts must not be within 1” of the panel skins.
Anchor Bolt Spacing: No more than 3 feet apart along length of wall. There must always be an anchor bolt within 12” of a corner or wall height change, in both directions from the corner or height change.

Hold-Downs, Straps, and Other Anchors:
When Foard Panel is hired to install the wall panels, it’s most common that our crews hammer-drill and epoxy all of the threaded anchors into the foundation for all specified hold downs. Threaded anchors or tension straps can be cast into the foundation, but they must be done so in close coordination with Foard.

16″ Polyiso SIPs

16" thick PIR R-90 Roof and 12.25" EPS R-45 Walls

16″ thick PIR R-90 Roof and 12.25″ EPS R-45 Walls

The Highest R-value Panel we have sold to date shipped recently an R-90 16″ thick Polyisocyanurate SIP roof. Installed along with 12.25″ EPS R-45 walls, these massive roof panels will keep this Timber Frame home in Manistique, MI toasty warm all winter long. Pre-cut in our shop and shipped to the timber framing crew for install these panels allow for continuous insulation at the very highest levels of performance.

Redbrook YMCA

The Redbrook Massachusetts, YMCA is a recent commercial project. Foard Panel is installing 8.25″ EPS SIPs R-30 as a roof on the steel frame building. The combination of SIPs and steel can give great structural flexibility for longer spans. The continuous insulation with no metal thermal bridges and air tight construction makes SIPs an energy efficient option.
SIPs can also help commercial projects meet tight construction schedules by installing the sheathing and insulation in one step. Pre-cut SIPs further minimize construction time and also make for a clean construction site, with very little wasted panel. In this job Foard Panel is also working to minimize crane time by building up large sections on the ground for a couple days then using the crane for a day to fly all the larger sections on at once.

Foard Panel History

We recently found some old photographs of Bo Foard’s earliest projects. Bo Foard started as a Panel installer, back in the 1985. In the early 1993 he began manufacturing his own panels, while continuing to install panels. Foard Panel Inc. is built on the years of experience of Bo Foard and his workers. Foard has learned many important lessons from years of building experience.

1.) It is the People that Make the Difference. Bo Foard knows that if you take care of your people then they stay with you and share their experience with new people, making the whole company wiser. Foard Panel has several employees who have been here over 20 years and at least a third of the company has been here for more than 10 years.

2.) Measure Twice Cut Once. The time to figure out all the details is in the drafting department and pre-cut shop, is invaluable. The buildings go up much smoother with a little extra time and effort before the panels get to the site.

3.) A Bird in the Hand is Worth Two in the Field. Our Success is largely due to our reputation for doing the job right. Our satisfied customers are our best advertising.

Air Sealing SIPs

Durability & Energy Savings

Air sealing SIPs properly provides huge reductions in energy consumption through reduced air infiltration. This is not the only purpose of air sealing, the other is building durability. Air infiltration and exfiltration carry large volumes of water vapor through the envelope’s thickness. In northern climates, air exfiltration allows condensation within the envelope, particularly near the exterior sheathing. Long term water accumulation often leads to expensive and recurring repairs.
Air sealing done properly eliminates both the energy consumption and the durability problems. To meet these needs, the air sealing system must remain robust for decades, be easy to assemble on the job site (under New England’s weather conditions), and be cost-effective. Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be one material or solution that meets these needs for all the different types of panel joinery. The following list illustrates the best sealing system for different types of connections

Sealing Details
Connection Materials Sealant
Panel Core Foam-to-Panel Core Foam Spray Foam
Panel Core Foam-to Wood Panel Mastic
Other Foam-to-Wood Panel Mastic
Wood-to-Wood Panel Mastic

Sealing Locations
Location Seal Type
Surface Spline Joints Spray Foam Drill & Fill
Shoe-Plate-Roof edge & RO-Blocking-to-Panel Core Foam Panel Mastic
Structural Splines & I-Joist Splines Panel Mastic +Tape
Structural Corners Panel Mastic + Tape
Timber-Frame Style Corners Spray Foam Gap
Structural Eave and Rake Connections Panel Mastic + Tape
Timber-Frame Style Eave & Rake Connections Spray Foam Gap
Ridge-Hip & Valley Joints with Embedded Lumber Panel Mastic + Tape
Mechanical Penetrations Spray Foam Gap
Chimney & Flue Penetrations Empty Gap

Spray Foam Drill & Fill

Drill & Fill Sequence

Drill & Fill Sequence

The goal with the Drill & Fill method is to create a continuous seal between the two foam panel cores. For best results, ensure that all splines are fastened before air sealing begins.
Drill 1/2” dia. holes into the panel joint, through the spline, and to the foam channel. Drilling beyond the foam channel is not harmful.
A Properly Drill & Filled Roof

A Properly Drill & Filled Roof

Insert the foam gun nozzle into the hole down to the depth drilled. Inject foam into the joint with a 2 to 4 second blast. As the spray foam is being injected, withdraw the foam gun, pausing at the foam channel. The ideal duration of the foam blast depends on temperature and humidity. The goal is to fill the joint with enough foam so, as it finishes expanding, foam backs up out of the hole to form golf ball sized “plugs” on top of each hole.
The best gauge of foam blast duration is to experiment on scrap panel. It is critical that the foam chemistry be kept above 60 degrees F. The panels don’t have to be that warm, but the cans of foam must be. The foam plugs should be left in place for at least 24 hours because the foam in the middle of the panel can take hours to cure.

Spray Foam Gap

For some ridges, hips, valleys, and timber-frame corners, intentional gaps are left between panels to be filled with spray foam. Fill the full depth of the gap with spray foam. Once filled, leave the foam 24 hours to harden before breaking off any protruding foam.

Section View of Spray Foam Gap at Timber-Frame Corner

Section View of Spray Foam Gap at Timber-Frame Corner

Finished Spray Foam Gap at Corner

Finished Spray Foam Gap at Corner

Panel Mastic

Panel mastic is applied in a single, straight bead on the mating surface of one component, often wood, and then the opposing component is installed so that the bead is compressed in between over the whole length of the joint.
Bringing both mating materials into firm contact with the bead of mastic is critical. In cases where conditions prevent this, see the Spray Foam Alternate To Panel Mastic.

Panel Mastic Seal

Panel Mastic Seal

Panel Mastic + Tape

In panel joints that contain full-thickness lumber, we take the belt-&-suspenders approach of using panel mastic and an air sealing tape. Tape should be applied to joints that contain sawn lumber, SCL, and I-joists. The tape should be applied on the warm-side of the joint (the interior side in New England).

I-Joist Spline

I-Joist Spline

Eave Connection

Eave Connection

Structural Spline

Structural Spline

Spray Foam Alternate to Panel Mastic

In cases where panel mastic is called for, but the joint will not fit tightly enough for panel mastic to be practical, spray foam can be used.
Fully assemble and fasten and fasten the connection. Drill 1/2” dia. holes at an angle to access the void space and inject foam using the same basic method as the Spray Foam Drill & Fill method described above. Use enough spray foam to completely fill the void in the connection. Use the size of the foam balls created at the injection Sites as a guide.

Spray Foam Alternate Drill & Fill

Spray Foam Alternate Drill & Fill

Structural SIP Residence

This is a project finished this week (December 22 2014). Foard Panel did the structural design and construction documents for the Walls, Floors, and Concrete. This is an interesting project combining a walk out basement with a green roof, an interior courtyard, and a giant upstairs balcony with full wing walls. A complicated project that went together very well.

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