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How to Build an Eco-Panels of Tennessee SIP Panel Home
Rob Clutter, VP at Eco-Panels of Tennessee, discusses how to build an Eco-Panels of Tennessee SIP panel home.

    Video Transcript: How to build an Eco-Panels of Tennessee SIP panel home

    Hey, this is Rob with Eco Panels of Tennessee.

    Today we’re on site setting up a Eco panel house, and I want to talk about the sill plates.

    So you need to have your sill plates down before the panels go up, and the instructions on how to properly set those are in our assembly manual.

    But basically, you’re going to use a two by four if you’re using our four and a half inch thick panels or a two by six.

    If you’re using our six and a half inch panels you’re going to want to set that one half inch in from the outside edge.

    So you would chalk a line here at four inches from the inside, set your sail plate, and if you look really closely, this sill plate has been ripped with a tiny bevel on it just to take that edge off.

    And the reason for that is a lot of the lumber that you buy nowadays, from the lumber store, is not true size anymore.

    That’s a quality issue.

    But needless to say, that’s what we find.

    And we want to make sure that this sill plate is three and a half inches or less, because the void in the bottom of the panel is going to be three and a half inches.

    And we want it to sit down properly.

    Now it’s time to set some panels.

    So the panel bundles are grouped together because we set it up in our shop.

    And then when they take it down, they’re grouped relatively in order with the exception of the bundles that have the corners in it.

    It may be mixed up.

    So what you want to do is when you set your panels up here on the subfloor, it’s good to kind of look at your plans and say, “Okay the lower numbers are on this side, the higher numbers are on that side”, so that you’re not stepping over yourself.

    And you kind of got them semi-organized.

    If you have a bundle of Corners, it’s best to put it just right in the middle because you’ll be working from that one.

    So what we’re looking for now is panel C1, which is Corner one.

    That’s where we’re going to start setting panels.

    All right so we’ve started with this plan with C1, you can see right here.

    So C, we’re not super high tech, C stands for corner panel number one.

    So that’s what we’re going to start.

    We’ve got this one set in place.

    We applied foam up underneath to seal it against the sill plate.

    And so what we want to do now is, we want to check to make sure this is level.

    And then we’re going to tack it down and make sure that it doesn’t go anywhere.

    And that’s good.

    So if one of you guys can get a screw gun and a screw, we’re just going to stick a little screw right in there to hold this in place while we set panel number two, so it doesn’t go away on us.

    So after the panels are all up, you’ll come back and nail all around the sill plates, the panels to the sill plates.

    But for right now, we just want to kind of make sure we’re level and just put a little screw here and there to make sure we’re running okay as we set them.

    We really prefer that you nail all your sill plates after all your panels are up, and then make sure everything’s level and true.

    And then come back and nail all that, so we’ll just put some temporary screws in as we go.

    Now we’re getting ready to set panel number two, which is laying right here.

    So panel number two has an electrical plug in it, so a couple of things that we want to note right here;

    One, we’re going to have to drill a hole in this subfloor where that conduit is going to go.

    So what you want to do is measure from the edge of your OSB over right here to see how far the plug is from the edge of that OSB.

    And then how far in it is, so that we can drill that hole in the right place.

    The second thing we’re going to do is we’re going to take a multi-tool, and we’re going to cut this off flush.

    We don’t want this sticking down.

    The guys at the plant leave these sticking down for a reason, and that reason is so that you won’t forget to drill a hole for your electrical.

    It’s happened many times.

    So make sure that this is cut off flush, and we’ll show you how we’re doing that here in just a second.

    What do you all have a multi-tool we can zip that off.

    Now we’ve measured here where this plug is going to be.

    We measured over and in, and we determined that the hole needs to be there.

    Now that conduit is three quarter inches wide, but Joey’s got a spade bit that’s what, inch and 3/8?

    So I suggest to get like an inch, inch and a quarter, inch and 3/8 spade bit, so that your hole is going to be plenty big.

    So that when you’re pulling that wire. you’re going to be able to find that you’ll have a nice easy time feeding that up through.

    We’ll set this panel here in just a second.

    All right so what we want to do now is we want to apply the foam that comes with your Eco Panels kit, to the surface where the panel is going to sit atop the sill plate and to where both of the panels meet.

    So what we want to do is let’s put your foam on the gun.

    One piece of advice on that is be very careful not to cross thread that because it makes a ginormous mess.

    Ask me how I know.

    I’ve done that a few times, so be really careful screwing the foam on there.

    So what I like to do is put a bead here at the edge bottom edge, and I’ll put a bead at the top edge.

    And then some nice zigzags. You can Zig or zag it’s up to you.

    Then what we want to do is we want to apply foam to, we’ve got a tongue and groove where these panels are going to go.

    I like to put a good bead on this side, and then I want to put a nice bead on this side.

    And then you’re going to say, “Well Rob you missed that top part because I’m not quite tall enough”.

    So what I do is I come around to this top edge of this panel, and I’ll put me a little here to make up for the part that I couldn’t reach from the top.

    All right we’re going to set this panel now.

    So the panel when you’re setting it, you want to catch the edge of the panel with the sail plate push it up where they’re a couple inches apart, so we’re not damaging the tongues.

    Once you get it in place, slide them over together.

    Then we’re going to find our cam lock wrench.

    Oh it’s right here.

    And I like to start from the bottom one, and you can see the cam locks actuating here.

    See that panel pull right together, and then we’re going to work our way up.

    The cam locks will typically be about two feet apart.

    These these particular panels we’re setting today are nine foot tall walls, so they’ve got four sets of camps.

    Ten foot walls would have five.

    There we go!

    We’ve got C1, w2.

    W stands for wall panel, C is corner panel.

    Now we’ve got to find panel number three.

    All right so one of the things we want to do as we go along is brace things off.

    You’ll notice when you’re putting the panels together as you get more panels, and especially a corner they’re really sturdy.

    But it’s kind of a windy day out here, could storm tomorrow.

    We don’t know.

    We want to make sure we brace things off.

    So here we’ve braced down this corner down to the ground.

    When we get to a winter door hole we’ll run another brace from a window hole or a door hole down to the subfloor.

    So important to brace everything off as you go.

    Okay so as we continue setting panels, you will find that all subfloors and foundations are not perfect.

    In fact they’re all, something something’s wrong with all of them.

    And so there’ll be some waves in the subfloor.

    It might go up and down a little bit.

    So what we want to do is as we’re setting the panels, we want to make sure that we’re staying even at the tops of the panel.

    So if this subfloor had a little dip in it right here, what we did is we used this flat pry bar.

    We got right up under the edge of this panel, just kind of pushed it up just a little like an eighth of an inch before we set these cam locks, so that we’re staying true at the top.

    It’s okay if we waver a little bit over this little dip in the subfloors, no problem.

    Also we had corner, wall, wall, wall, wall.

    Now we have a new kind of panel.

    This is F.

    F stands for footer panel.

    So a footer panel is a panel that goes below a window opening.

    So there’s a pocket built into the end of this panel that the footer panel slides into, and then we’re going to set the next wall panel over here on the end, see how it’s got a tongue.

    Then we’re going to set the header panel, which will be labeled as H.

    It will set in this pocket, and then it will set in the corresponding pocket on this side.

    So we have four, five, so it’d be F5 and H5, foot or five head or five.

    Then we’ll have wall six that will hold up the other side of the header.

    So we’re going to let the guys set this in place, and we’ll get some film of that happening.

    Okay so we’re setting a header panel.

    We’ve got four, five is a footer header combination, so we’re creating a window hole.

    So the guys are applying some foam inside of the header pocket on either side.

    This is the header panel that’s sitting down here on the floor.

    And that’s going to go up, and these tongue ends are going to go inside the pocket on the panel on either side of the window opening.

    And there it is!

    Header in place.

    Now we’re going to screw that off on either side where the tongue goes in, to make sure it doesn’t go anywhere

    Alright so what we’re doing out here today is.

    This is actually Christy’s house, who works with us.

    When you get your set panel plans drawn.

    KP does the drawing.

    And these are actually all of our guys from the Eco Panel shop, who build the panels.

    We all came out here today for a field trip to set Christie’s house up.

    Y’all everybody wave, everybody wave, everybody wave.

    They’re excited to be here.

    But Christy did make us lunch, so we’re excited about that in a little while.

    So we’re out here as employees putting together Christy’s house for her, and so you’ve been inside her house already.

    Okay so we’ve got panel seven, eight is a door hole.

    So now we have a header panel with no footer panel because there’s going to be a door right here going out on the front porch eventually, because here’s the light switches when you come in the door.

    We’ve got the panel box right here.

    So what we want to do is we need to know where to set panel nine, so we can set this header in place.

    So what you want to do is you want to measure the width of the OSB.


    Which is 38 inches.

    Then we’re going to come over here, and we’re going to measure over.

    I have a pencil somewhere in one of my pockets, there it is.

    We’re going to measure over 38 inches.

    And we’re going to put a mark, so that we know where the edge of panel 9 is going to end, right here.

    Carl, mark us a straight line.

    This is funny hat Carl.

    He’s here helping today.

    You can call and talk to Carl if you call the 800 number.

    So our header piece is going to go here to create a door hole.

    Panel number nine, which we’ll find we’ll start right here.

    And then we’re going to set that header in place, so that we can.

    So that Christy will have a front door.

    All right so we’ve got our door hole now.

    So what we did is we measured the bottom opening and the top opening, and it’s a 16th difference.

    So here’s what’s important, is to check and make sure that we’re level and true here where we’re running.

    As long as we’re level and true here, and this is a 16th off which is probably caused by a little hump or something in the subfloor, that’s not a big deal.

    This is a rough Framing, and a 16 is not going to matter as long as this rough opening is big enough for the door, which it’s plenty big for the door.

    So it’s you just, want to see what Joey’s doing here.

    You just want to make sure that we’re level on the end of our panels, and we’re level in and out as we go and tack that and keep it level as we brace things off.

    Okay so we’ve got another electric plug here.

    So what Joey’s going to do is we’re going to measure from the edge, over to where the conduit is.

    And then we’re going to come from the edge of this panel, over to make sure that we’re at the same place.

    Then we’re going to check the depth, how far the plug is away from the inside, so that we can make a mark.

    And then we’re going to find Joey’s drill, laying over there.

    And we’re going to drill this hole for the conduit.

    That way we’ll be able to access the end of this through the basement ceiling downstairs.

    Now we’re ready to set a panel.

    Okay so we’ve come to our first corner in our wall, and in our system every wall will have what’s called a cheater panel.

    Now the end of this panel does not have the cam locks, it has a void on the end of the panel.

    And then the corresponding corner over here also has a void.

    So what we’re going to do is because every subfloor is off a little bit, it happens it’s normal, what we want to do is we want to measure right here from the inside over to our OSB.

    And see that we are at 21 and a quarter, and then if we come over here and we measure the inside on our panel we have 22 and a quarter.

    So we want to take one inch off here.

    So the guys have measured, chalked a line.

    We’re going to cut this side off, and we’re going to cut this side off.

    And then we’re going to remove some foam.

    Alright so now that we’ve removed the OSB back to the correct depth, we’ve got to remove foam.

    So we need an inch and a half depth.

    So we set the saw to inch and a half deep, and we’re going to score the foam in several stripes, so that we can remove it, so that we can get this cheater spline piece in.

    These splines come with your package, and they’re designed to fit within the void on that wall and within the void in the corner, so that we can complete our adjustment.

    This so instead of having a cam lock, this piece will go inside.

    Oh so now we’re going to remove this foam out of here to create a void to adjust for our foundation that was off a little bit.

    So we want to remove an inch and a half.

    Once you score it it’ll pop right out pretty easy, and all we got to do is get that out of the way.

    So now that we’ve scored the foam, it’ll come right out with like a little pry bar, so that we can create our inch and a half void right here to fit our spline piece in.

    Once we get this out of the way, we’ll apply some of our spray foams to seal all this up real nice.

    And we’ll put this piece will go inside this this cavity.

    Alright so now that we have our void created to put our spline in, we’re going to put some foam in here to seal it up real nice.

    I’m gonna need a hammer, and then we’re going to tap this bad boy right in there.

    When somebody, when I get a hammer.

    Tap it down there.

    There it goes.

    I think you popped up down there, and then we want to put a couple screws in it.

    So we’re down here in the basement, that’s why it’s kind of dark, to kind of show you how the electric ends up.

    So if you remember earlier, we had drilled the hole in the plate for the conduit to line up with the panel, and I got my flashlight on it there.

    And we ran a piece of strap through it to show you know that that’s connected up to our plug box, so your wire would get through there.

    So what we recommend and require in our assembly manual is that you add a secondary top plate at the top of your panels, before you set your roof system on or your second floor system, depending on the design of your house.

    So the the initial plate remember is built into the top of the panel.

    So what you do on the secondary plate is if you’re using our four and a half inch thick walls, take a two by six rip it down to four and a half inches total.

    That way it’s covering from outside edge of OSB to outside edge of OSB and covering that whole panel.

    Now I’m behind me here, the guys have ripped that down.

    You want to apply an adhesive sealer and some more of the foam to seal that, because we don’t want any air leaking coming through that gap.

    So seal it down good, and then apply that to the top.

    Then you can either screw that in or apply nails.

    That will help to straighten out the walls across the top and make sure that it’s ready for your rafters or your second floor system to go up next.

    One note is always use plenty of foam in all the joints.

    We send way too much foam.

    You will have plenty.

    You will not run out of foam, so never spare the foam is our motto at Eco Panels of Tennessee.

    So a lot of the panels that we make probably 70 percent of our customers choose to have us put the zip sheathing on the outside.

    It’s a Huber zip product, and you can Google that and find out more information.

    The zip basically replaces having to put a tyvek or a house wrap on your house.

    It’s a water permeable, non-permeable membrane that’s applied on the outside.

    And we can pre-make the panels with this on it.

    A couple things I wanted to point out is the seams where this meets, so when we put your panels together if this is not super tight, that’s fine, that’s normal, that’s how it should be.

    The piece of the zip is actually not four feet wide.

    It’s made specifically to have somewhat of an expansion gap in it.

    So that’s completely normal, and that’s how it’ll look.

    Then you apply the zip tape.

    So we do not send that with our package because you can buy it cheaper locally.

    You can get it at Lowe’s or Home Depot or some or even Amazon has it.

    And so that tape is applied over this seam you see, this roll the tape.

    So important note, it says roll the tape.

    Zip tape has a special roller that they recommend.

    They don’t just recommend, they demand that you use.

    A lot of people I’ve seen them just put it on with their hand, that’s fine.

    Here’s the deal, that little roller actually imprints a little Z on that seam, and should you ever have a warranty claim, the first thing they’re going to check is if they see that little Z on that tape.

    So get the roller, put it on like you’re supposed to.

    This ZIP is a really good product.

    A lot of our customers choose to use it, and we’re proud to install it on our panels at Eco Panels of Tennessee.

    Okay so a lot of a lot of our customers, a lot of Home Designs, will have a large opening.

    This right here is going to be a big, a big patio door.

    And so in order to accomplish that big opening with panels, that header piece that’s across the top that goes over the top.

    Sometimes we will install if it’s if it’s a larger opening like that, it may have LVL material, which is a structural laminated wood product that’s actually embedded inside the panel.

    So it’s already done by us.

    We took care of it, and we checked it out, but inside that panel is some structure.

    That’s going to carry that roof load and pass it down the side of each panel.

    There’s a supports inside that panel, so that’s transferring that load back down to the foundation.

    So if you’ve got a big, big patio door, big giant window, one of those nice slider doors, we can make that happen.

    Even if you choose to use Eco Panels of Tennessee.

    So here we are outside the panels, and you can see here that the.

    Remember when we put the sail plates down, we set them back a half an inch.

    So that the edge of the panel, here’s the edge of the subfloor, this all lines up.

    That way when the customer is putting their siding on, whether that’s a hardy siding or board and batten or brick, this is all one plane right here, so that the siding comes out right.

    But sometimes if we’re building in a place that has high wind load.

    We had a recent project that was on the coast, right on the ocean where we had to do this.

    Sometimes it’s a seismic load issue.

    We can make the panels where the outside skin of the panel is one foot longer, so that when you set the seal plate on that type situation it would be flush.

    Then this outside OSB would come all the way down to here.

    What that does is that greatly enhances the wind load capacity.

    Now ninety percent of the country, this is way sufficient.

    This is still way stronger than stick building, but there are certain areas, coastal regions especially, right on the water hurricane low hurricane wind force where we do this other called a high wind situation.

    And we can send you more information on how that looks, and how that might be something that you might need to do.

    So in our assembly manual, we talk about bracing everything off.

    So once you start putting your panels up, and you can tell today it’s a pretty windy day it’s a nice day but it’s a little windy.

    When you’re putting up your walls, they feel really strong, and they are.

    But we just made a sale right here, and this sail is catching wind.

    So you can see here where we’ve braced this wall off from the outside, we’ve got some braces on the inside.

    That standard practice you would do that in stick frame construction as well.

    You want to make sure that you when you get everything level, it’s braced off correctly and strongly.

    Unfortunately we’ve had at least two customers who had an unexpected big thunderstorm or wind.

    They did not brace things off, and a portion of their walls ended up over in the yard.

    Now luckily the panels are pretty tough, and it worked out.

    But you don’t want to do it again.

    Put it up once, brace it off correctly, and and you’re going to be just fine.

    We hope that helped!

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