Hello Panel Man readers, I hope you had a great Memorial Day Weekend! I just got back last week from a trip to Denver where I attended an open house for Rocky Mountain MagBoard. I’m more excited than ever about magnesium oxide SIPs’ potential in the U.S. market. My enthusiasm only increased after talking to Shane Vigil, of Phoenix Framing in Colorado, as he explained the advantages of MgO SIPs from a residential framer’s perspective….
The Panel Man Asks: Before discovering the benefits of MgO SIPs, what materials were you using in residential construction?
Shane Vigil: I’ve used SIPs in residential construction for years, usually an OSB exterior with a polyurethane interior. But six weeks ago, I just completed the foundation on a 2600 sq. ft. residence using MagWall SIPs from Rocky Mountain MagBoard. I can tell you, I am completely sold on the benefits, not just for framers but for the homeowner.
The Panel Man: Since this was your first time installing MagWall, did it prolong the foundation build out?
Shane Vigil: Not at all, in fact, it took less time! To construct a typical concrete foundation, it would take about a week. That 2,600 sq. ft. house? It took two days, and that was our first time doing it. I can see it taking a day and a half in the near future. As you can imagine, homeowners appreciate the time savings, too, as they’re anxious to get into their new house! Not to mention, it takes time off expensive construction loans!
The Panel Man: What are some of the key benefits of MagWall from a homeowner’s perspective?
Shane Vigil: Well, MagWall is a non-combustible material which would appeal to any homeowner. However, it’s especially important here in the Denver area as we’re prone to wild fires. MagWall is also water, mold, mildew, and insect resistant. It’s also really durable and the interior can be finished with virtually anything. You can cover it with sheet rock or treat the seams and finish it similar drywall. Or, on the exterior, you can do a direct stone veneer or stucco application. One of the primary benefits is the energy savings!
The Panel Man: What if the MagWall is just used in the foundation, will that still provide energy savings?
Shane Vigil: In the residential foundation we just built out, we were happy to report to the homeowner that she could easily downsize her HVAC system by 30%! People forget, concrete isn’t like insulation. In fact, unfinished concrete basements steal heat from the home, which requires increased energy consumption. MagWall is a fully insulated system, with R Values ranging above 20 – it was actually R-36 for this foundation – so instead of sucking warm air, it contributes to even distribution of heat throughout the home.
The Panel Man: In comparison to working with other materials, how does MagWall measure up?
Shane Vigil: As I mentioned earlier, unlike OSB or stick frame sheathing, you can apply virtually any finish directly to the MagWall. For example, in a typical concrete foundation basement finish, you have to built out the wall about a total of 5 inches, then add in insulation, vapor barrier and cover with drywall which takes away interior space from the basement. With MagWall, you don’t lose any space. Or, let’s say a homeowner wants a stucco finish on the exterior of the home. With conventional framing, you’d need to apply tar paper, then lathe and then apply the stucco. In a MagWall frame, the lathing process is eliminated so you’re saving time, labor and an inspection, which means, you’re saving money. Also, with OSB, you need a house wrap and usually a vapor barrier depending on the climate. MagWall doesn’t require ether. Again, this results in saving time, labor, and money. By eradicating these extra layers, you’re also reducing opportunities for problems to occur. MagWall just makes it a streamlined, simplified process.
The Panel Man:
How did the manufacturer, Rocky Mountain MagBoard, assist with your first MagWall installation?
Shane Vigil: The owners of Rocky Mountain MagBoard are builders themselves. Not only do they have a deep understanding of the MagWall product, but they have the expertise to ensure its proper application. In addition to the comprehensive installation manuals and instruction they provided, they were on site with me and my team the entire time. They wanted to ensure I was really educated on how to work with MagWall, explaining everything from installation of the trusses to connection details.
The Panel Man: Any final thoughts you want to share as a framer?
Shane Vigil: Just as you are, I’m excited about MagBoard and MagWall. It gives me a new product to offer customers and as you can tell from my experience using it for the first time, it really benefits both the framer and the homeowner.