Yesterday Patrick Sughrue of Artisan Tiny House and I drove up to Puyallup, WA to the Insulfoam factory to pick up the stack of Premier SIPs for T42, the tiny house I'm building with The Guy Next Door. At the Insulfoam loading area we spotted the T42 SIPs package right away because it was the tiniest stack around!
It was also easy to pick our tiny house out from the rest because ours is made with the new graphite polystyrene (GPS) foam insulation that we learned about when we were Ordering Our T42 SIPs Kit. The foam is dark gray in color and it has an R-value of about 5 per inch, compared to the EPS foam we used for The Lucky Penny which has an R-value of about 4 per inch. Premier has dubbed this foam "platinum" and they figure it will become their standard before long.
Mike Karnes gave me a quick tour of the Insulfoam factory. (He and his daughter are building a tiny house this spring - using SIPs, of course - so he was a great tour guide!) I got to see how the master panels are created by placing an 8'x24' piece of OSB down on a set of rollers, covering it with adhesive, placing a giant piece of foam on top, adding more glue, lining up a second OSB skin on top, and rolling the giant sandwich into the press to make the super strong, relatively light SIP. These panels are then fabricated into wall and roof panels for houses like mine.
I love seeing how things are made so it was especially fun to see the details of how they do things like cut electrical chases inside the foam panels with a hot wire and a stencil. They have a router station where they can cut out all the window openings, but I was amazed at how much of the cutting is actually done by super talented cutters wielding chain saws! They do the bevel cuts for the tops of walls and recess the foam in areas where splines or blocking need to be inserted. At the cutting station I asked Mike about the recycled content and recyclability of the SIPs and he said that they don't have recycled content because they need to use virgin foam to get the structural properties of the product. However, there are other foam products that aren't structural so they're able to use recycled foam. Mike estimates that about 95% of the scrap cut away when the panels are manufactured at Premier ends up getting recycled. Pretty cool!
By the time we got back outside, Samuel and Rich had the panels all loaded up on Our T42 Trailer. They were appreciative we'd already installed our T42 Undercarriage & Floor Insulation as well as our T42 Subfloor & Bottom Plates. This made it easier to stack the panels on the trailer and get them strapped down so they'd be road-worthy.
I was grateful to Patrick for doing the driving on this trip and even more grateful for his company. Patrick helped me pull together the tiny house SIPs kit for The Lucky Penny and we've worked together on a couple other projects, too, so it was nice to have the long drive to talk about big ideas for tiny houses. Patrick and I stopped for lunch at the Yelm food co-op and then hit the road again. A few hours later we situated the trailer in the covered area at Green Anchors where we'll be doing our T42 Wall Raising next week. If you're interested in joining us, please sign up for the T42 Build Blitz! We're got a great crew of Tiny House Sidekicks and Tiny House Helpers, but we love a few extra hands if you're interested and able!