WallPanel™System (WPS) are high performance building panels used in floors, walls, and roofs for residential and light commercial buildings. The panels are made of highly dense EPS and structural steel studs. WPS are manufactured under factory controlled conditions and can be used to build any design without the need for entire wall sections to be pre-built by the factory, thus reducing cost of manufacturing further. The result is a building system that is extremely strong, energy efficient and cost effective. Building with WPS will save you time, money and labor.
WPS homes go up much faster than traditionally framed buildings. Even without training WPS installation can cut framing time in half compared to conventional wood framing, and the total built up by a greater amount. Panels are manufactured in different sizes and density to suit different needs. Walls and roof sections can be built quickly.
WPS are ready to install when they arrive at the jobsite, eliminating the time needed to perform the individual jobsite operations of framing, insulating and sheathing stick-framed walls. Electrical channels are preinstalled in the core of panels, so there is no need to drill through studs for wiring.
Builders can save money through decreased construction and labor costs. A high performance building envelope often allows HVAC equipment to be downsized and ductwork to be minimized. Builders can all but eliminate jobsite waste disposal. Homeowners that incorporate other energy-efficient features into a WPS home can see utility savings of 70 percent or more.
WPS are one of the most environmentally responsible building systems available. A WPS building envelope provides continuous insulation, and allows for better control of indoor air quality, reduces construction waste, and helps save natural resources. Life cycle analysis has shown that WPS homes have a tremendous positive environmental impact by reducing energy use and greenhouse gas emissions throughout the home’s life cycle.
The structural characteristics of WPS are significantly stronger than standard SIPs, wood frame or brick and mortar construction. Rack and sheer testing has shown the WPS structural strength better than 13,000 lbs/in, enough to survive Mother Nature’s worst storms and hurricanes.
A high performance WPS building enclosure often allows smaller HVAC equipment to be specified. It is important to work with a qualified HVAC professional that can accurately estimate the low levels of air infiltration in a WPS home or commercial building. Proper HVAC sizing is crucial because an oversized HVAC system will fail to reach the steady operating rate the equipment was designed for. Short cycling HVAC equipment will be less energy efficient and require more maintenance than properly sized HVAC equipment.
WPS does not require ventilation systems to bring fresh air into the to exhaust moisture laden and stale air to the outside, which is one of the downsides of other systems.
A controlled indoor environment is both healthy and comfortable. Humidity can be controlled more easily in a WPS home, resulting in a home that is more comfortable for occupants and less prone to mold growth and dust mites.
WPS present a very minimal fire risk when their construction meets the fire precautions listed in the building code. Residential codes typically require the application of a 15-minute fire-resistant thermal barrier on the interior for all residential structures, accomplished by applying 1/2-in. thick gypsum board or a material of equivalent thermal performance.
Light commercial or multi-use buildings of Type V Fire Rated construction often require a one-hour fire rating and/or sprinkler systems. Many WPS manufacturers can provide tested assemblies for both walls and roofs that meet the one-hour fire resistance tests outlined in ASTM E 119.
Yes, WPS are compatible with all building systems. Wallpanels can sit on a variety of foundation materials, including poured concrete, blocks, or insulated concrete forms. WPS are sized to accept dimensional lumber and are seamlessly compatible with stick framing. Builders may choose to build with WPS walls and a conventional truss roof, or stick walls and a WPS roof with little difficulty. WPS are also popular as a method of providing a well-insulated building enclosure for timber frame structures.
The WPS is much easier and faster than conventional framing. WPS accepts dimensional lumber and are fastened together using self tapping screws, unlike SIPs WPS panels do not require the use of equipment to unload and set.
On-site modification can easily be done at any time and no special tools are needed.
Electrical wires are pulled through precut channels inside the core of the panels called “chasers.” Chasers are added during the manufacturing process according to the electrical design of the home. Electricians can feed wires through panel chases without compressing the insulation or drilling through studs.
Termites and other pests do not feed on the foam panel cores.
If panels are damaged, a structural engineer needs to assess the damage to determine what is cosmetic and what is structural. If the damage is only cosmetic, then the source must be determined and fixed, whether it is from inside or outside. If the damage is structural, then a structural solution to the problem must be found. That can be done by either a site modification of the panels or replacement of the panels, depending on the extent of the damage. In the event that panels are damaged, the manufacturer and installer of the panels should be notified.
The area inside a WPS building envelope is considered conditioned space and will be ventilated by the building’s HVAC system. There is no need to provide a vented attic beneath a WPS roof, and doing so would compromise the conditioned space of the building.
Research conducted by Building Science Corporation on test homes in hot climates demonstrates that including the attic in the conditioned space allowed for more energy-efficient space conditioning and less probability of moisture related issues.
Some building science experts recommend venting the roof by providing an air space between the WPS roof panels and the roofing material (known as a “cold roof”). This practice is not a requirement for WPS buildings, but an extra measure to improve the durability and moisture resistance of the building.
Pricing information can be obtained by contacting our office. Material price does not reflect the labor savings capable with WPS construction. A study conducted by the REScheck shows that building with WPS reduce framing labor over conventional wood framing. Builders can also expect decreased jobsite waste disposal costs and savings on HVAC equipment. When all these factors are considered, building with WPS is far less expensive than other building systems.
WPS construction is recognized by the International Code Council body of building codes, which are used by most jurisdictions in the U.S.
For residential buildings, specific construction practices for WPS wall systems are included in Section R614 of the 2009 International Residential Code. For applications beyond the scope of Section R614, the building inspector will typically require a licensed engineer or architect to approve the building plans prior to construction. An engineer’s approval is always required in high wind areas, high seismic zones and commercial buildings.
Builders should consult the siding manufacturer’s installation instructions for how to attach their product to WPS. Because WPS uses no lumber, an increased fastening schedule is often required when attaching exterior cladding.
If the siding manufacturer does not offer recommendations for attaching their product to WPS, a licensed architect or engineer can calculate the appropriate fastener frequency by obtaining fastener pullout capacities from the WPS manufacturer.
It is also important that proper moisture management procedures be followed when applying any type of cladding to WPS. With the exception of metal and vinyl siding, it is recommended that all claddings be installed with a drainage gap between the cladding and the weather resistant barrier in climates that average more than 20 inches of annual rainfall.
R-values for WPS depend on the thickness and density of the WPS. WPS R-values range from R16-R30.
WPS are structurally supported by steel beam studs placed at 16” intervals on center. The unique, patented design of the studs is the primary characteristic that gives the WPS their super strength.
Yes, Recessed lights can be installed by utilizing an interior lighting soffit.
The WPS are especially effective at blocking high frequency noise and most homeowners notice the quiet comfort of a WPS home.
Air barriers or vapor barriers are not required in WPS buildings because properly sealed WPS create a code compliant air barrier with a permeability rating of less than 1.0 perm. In addition, the foam core of WPS is solid and continuous throughout the wall, eliminating the convection and condensation issues that can occur in cavity walls.
Plumbing should not be located in exterior WPS walls because of the possibility of condensation or supply lines freezing in cold climates. During the design phase of the project, all plumbing should be relocated to interior walls.
Plumbing penetrations such as DWV can be placed through WPS if they are thoroughly sealed to prevent air infiltration.
Yes, when self tapping screws are used with the 18 gauge steel studs, it will offer a much stronger pull out resistance than the OSB used in conventional SIPs. A licensed architect or engineer can calculate the appropriate fastener frequency by obtaining fastener pullout capacities from WPS.
WPS building envelope forms the basis of a successful mold control strategy. The extremely low levels of air infiltration in WPS buildings allow for incoming air to be provided in controlled amounts by air handling equipment. Proper dehumidification of incoming air following ASHRAE standards will create an environment where mold physically cannot grow. In addition to creating a comfortable structure, WPS are solid and free of any cavities in the wall where moisture can condense and cause unseen mold growth.
The construction of a WPS home or commercial building begins with the construction documents. Once the construction documents are in the hands of a WPS manufacturer, dealer/distributor, or design professional, then the number of panels needed for the construction are calculated by our engineering department and a formal quote for all necessary components is given.
For construction professionals competent in standard wood framing techniques, the task of learning WPS is not difficult. WPS offers technical assistance for builders that are new to WPS construction.
For homeowners, the first step is to identify a quality builder. An experienced WPS builder will manage the plan conversion and review process. If your builder is unfamiliar with WPS, they can contact us with any questions they may have.