Innovative Structural Systems for Home Construction: Wood Structural Insulated Panels and Insulating Concrete Forms
For two alternatives to wood framing -- wood structural insulated panels and insulating concrete forms -- this report discusses advantages, disadvantages, and actions that would accelerate their use by the residential building industry. Wood structural insulated panels, also known as foam core panels, are a practical material for exterior wall construction because they are structurally stronger and insulate better than wood. However, these panels are vulnerable to termite or carpenter ant infestation, and there remain unresolved questions of fire resistance and long-term performance. Insulating concrete forms can be quickly installed and worked with in cold weather, unlike conventional concrete forms. However, insulating concrete forms and finish surfaces for them may cost more than wood frame walls, and also may be vulnerable to insect infestation and questions about fire stops. The report suggests that the construction industry support field evaluations on practical construction requirements and cost- benefit analyses of both technologies. The report concludes that in light of recent lumber prices increases, these alternatives may be rendered more cost competitive and readily available. Includes seven photographs and five figures.