Siding Problems With Structural Insulated Panels

Structural insulated panels can be damaged by insects.
Structural insulated panels can be damaged by insects. (Image: Jupiterimages/ Images)

Structural insulated panels are often placed on the walls of residential homes. These products provide a shell of insulation that keeps homes at a comfortable temperature. Structural insulated panels are placed underneath vinyl siding or stucco, but there are a few problems associated with their use such as insect damage, water leaks and damage from sunlight coming through gaps in siding.

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Structural insulated panels are made from insulating foam, which is sandwiched between layers of wood. These insulating panels are typically made from polyurethane, polystyrene or polyisocyanurate. In addition to having a high R-value, these panels add strength to the structure of the home. Structural insulated panels must be installed correctly to avoid certain problems that can occur over time.


Insects do no feed on the foam inside structural insulated panels, but they can tunnel through it reducing the effectiveness of the insulation. Vinyl siding can give insects a protected place to live. Lady beetles and boxelder bugs are often found gathering underneath vinyl siding and can bore through insulated panels. Many manufacturers treat their structural insulated panels with insecticide as a preventive measure.


Moisture seeping in through gaps in your siding can damage both your structural insulated panels and cause your vinyl siding to warp or become stained. Insulated panels must be installed properly to keep moisture from becoming a problem. Certain types of structural insulated panels, such as beadboard, absorb moisture which can be a problem if your siding has gaps or cracks where moisture can seep inside. Panels must be fitted tightly together and sealed with caulk to keep moisture from causing condensation and seeping inside your home causing damage and mold growth.


Structural insulated panels can become damaged from direct sunlight. If your vinyl siding is improperly fitted or has gaps where light can filter through, your insulated panels may begin to deteriorate and degrade. Damaged insulation does not work effectively to keep your home energy efficient.


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