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A Better Wall with Exterior Foam

Why a longtime SIP builder turned to rigid polyiso for insulation

Builder Jonathan Orpin was a diehard fan of SIPs and used them in countless projects. Over the years, though, he started to realize that manipulating SIPs for sidewalls required a lot of work when cutting openings and routing mechanicals. To get around this problem, Orpin developed what he calls the matrix wall, which consists of conventionally framed 2x6 walls with either wet-sprayed or netted dense-pack cellulose in the cavities and polyisocyanurate foam in the exterior. Housewrap and a rain screen of 1x strapping serve as a weather-resistant barrier. Orpin says the assembly yields an R-30 wall with negligible thermal bridging and a managed dew point. This article includes sidebars on controlling moisture in walls and describing a better way to install windows.

A Better Wall with Exterior Foam

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