How to choose the thickness of your Sandwich Panel?
In recent years, the Sandwich Panel has revolutionized the construction industry thanks to its unique features: great thermal and acoustic insulation, its low weight, and its self-supporting capacity for large spans. All this, without forgetting the easy installation and low cost, means that many professionals and end consumers use this kind of material.
As a general rule, Sandwich Panels are composed of two steel sheets and an insulating core with different thicknesses depending on each situation and consumer. Below, you can find the most commonly used materials and the most suitable thickness for each project.
Table of Contents
Types of foam insulation in the Sandwich Panel
The most efficient and common materials on the market that define the composition of sandwich panels are the following:
Polyurethane (PUR) and Polyisocyanurate (PIR)
The rigid foams most frequently used in the production of sandwich panels are polyurethane/polyisocyanurate (PUR/PIR). These materials have a closed-cell composition, their structure is more homogeneous, with lower thermal conductivity and less capacity to absorb water, vapor, or humidity, unlike open-cell structures. In addition, these materials have a very interesting characteristic: they do not change their shape once they have been forged.
On the one hand, polyurethane is a thermosetting polymer, which means it cannot be reconfigured once heated. At Panel Sandwich Group, we use PUR foam in various types of panels due to the great insulating properties it provides. This thermal and acoustic insulating capacity is possible thanks to a density of 40 kg/m³ above the market average, which gives it a low coefficient of thermal conductivity. A relevant fact for the public that is overlooked is the lower density of this foam, the lower the stiffness, and the poorer the insulation.
On the other hand, polyisocyanurate, also known as PIR, is a variant of polyurethane but with greater fire resistance (capable of withstanding temperatures of up to 350ºC before decomposing, while PUR foams begin to fragment at 250ºC). Another characteristic of PIR foams is their ability to extinguish the fire without contributing to its propagation. Logically, its cost is slightly higher than PUR since it has a different composition with more expensive raw materials.
Both foams are used in many of the multi-panels available from Panel Sandwich Group, such as the Tile Roof, the Roofing Panel (Cover-joints Sandwich Panel, Sandwich Panel Three and Five Frets),and the Insulated Wall Panel (Insulated Internal Wall Panel, Outside Insulated Wall Panel Panel and Architectural Insulated Panel). Although both types of foam are used, polyurethane foam or PUR is the most demanded because it's low priced, while PIR is used when there are large manufacturing volumes. In the case of the Agricultural Metal Roofing and the False Ceiling Panel with Polyester or Pural Aluminum, both multi-panels are composed of a polyester sheet which is very useful to avoid corrosion from the animals' wind, but it is not fire resistant. Therefore, to low the cost, it is manufactured exclusively with PUR foam.
The core of sandwich panels can also be composed of slabs of inorganic fibers that provide high fire resistance than rigid foams. Rock wool is a natural fiber used for acoustic insulation and fire protection. Its composition of natural fibers keeps the air dry inside and is a natural obstacle to heat transfer, slowing down the temperature changes from the outside to the inside, resulting in higher thermal insulation. In addition, rock wool has properties that stop sound waves, act as a barrier to sound, and provide acoustic insulation. In addition, its high density (from 100kg/m3 to 175kg/m3) makes it practically incombustible.
Thanks to the aforementioned characteristics, rock wool is the ideal solution for working in areas with fire or combustion risk or for spaces where soundproofing is required, reducing noise by 35 decibels when using its greater thickness. It is usually applied in Insulated Wall Panels or Insualted Ceiling Panels.
It is a rigid plastic that is used in an infinity of products since its cost is very low. Besides this, it is a material that stands out for its high thermal insulation and strong resistance against filtrations and humidity.
In Panel Sandwich Group, we use this material in the SIP Panel since the adhesion of the PUR foam is weak to the wood and the polystyrene acts as a strong and stable adhesive.
What thickness to choose in the Sandwich Panel
In Panel Sandwich Group, we have extensive experience advising our customers. Over time we have detected that many of our customers repeatedly asked us the same question: What is the most suitable thickness for my project? If you have this concern, below you can find some basic notions on this topic to better orient yourself according to your project.
In the specific case of wanting to renovate or build a home, the most important thing is that the panel contains a high level of thermal insulation which in turn generates energy savings derived from it. For this type of case, the most advisable is to use a high thickness in the ceilings and a high thickness for the walls.
What type of thickness is most suitable for my home? It depends on the panel you want to use. If you want to modify the roof of your home, the Roof Tile Sandwich Panel is the most used for this type of project due to its aesthetic finish and high thermal insulation. The most common thickness is 55 mm with a white or imitation wood interior finish. If the Tile Panel does not adapt to the characteristics of your project, the Cover-joints Sandwich Panel is also in great demand and may fit perfectly, with 60 mm being the most common thickness in homes.
In the case of home walls, there are several options. If you would like to save money on your project, the best option is to install a Wall Panel with exposed screws, whose most commonly used thickness is 50 mm. If you are looking for an aesthetic look, the Architectural Insulated Panel with 50 mm or 60 mm thickness is sufficient.
Another panel frequently used in this type of construction is the Wood Sandwich Panel. It is one of the most demanded and can be used for roofs and walls, being the most common at 40 and 80 mm.
If you are thinking of building a hut, shed, or warehouse in your garden or land, you may ask yourself, is it necessary to have a high thickness as in the previous case? Well, not really. This type of construction is not going to have a residential use and, therefore, does not need so much insulation, it is better to reduce costs by using a lower thickness.
For walls, the most interesting panels are the Insulated Internal Wall Panel. If you are looking for something low-cost and less aesthetic, the most suitable thickness for this type of project would be 30 mm. If, on the other hand, you are looking for something more aesthetic by hiding the screw, a Outside Insulated Wall Panel with a thickness of 35 mm would be the ideal choice.
If by any chance you are looking to build a car garage, as in the previous case, insulation is not so important; it is better to reduce operation costs by using low thicknesses.
For these constructions, it is common to combine Wall Panels with visible or hidden fasteners for the walls with Cover-joints Sandwich Panel and Sandwich Panel Three Frets or Five Frets. There is also the possibility of using the same wall panel for the whole construction if it does not have to support heavy weights.
One of the most recurrent works of our clients is the rustic porches of their homes. Depending on the panel chosen, the results will be very different. Residential porches only need roof panels. For this reason, the most commonly used are the sandwich panels and Tile Roofs, which can be imitation wood on the inside to give a superior aesthetically to the porch, an important facet in this type of construction. As in the previous cases, the porches do not need high thermal insulation, so a thickness of 50 mm in Tile and 30 mm in Cover-joints is enough.
If you are a businessman and looking to renovate an industrial building, this publication may solve your doubt: What is the most suitable thickness for my building? Well, it depends on the industry in which you operate.
If you operate in the agri-food sector and use your warehouses to store food products such as fruits, vegetables, meats, and others, the Cold Storage Panels for both ceiling and wall are ideal to fulfill this function. If we talk about thickness, this decision depends on many factors, from budget to refrigeration needs.
In case you need to maintain temperatures below zero, the ideal is the maximum thickness which is about 200 mm while if you do not need to maintain such extreme temperatures, 180 mm is enough.
Another situation that can occur is that you need a panel for a building without high requirements in terms of temperature and looking for protection, insulation, and humidity-free space to perform your operations. In this case, the most common is to install a roof panel and a wall panel in a thickness that is effective, easy, and quick to install at a reasonable price.
For the roof, the Cover-joints Sandwich Panel would be the most interesting. The most common thicknesses are 30 and 60 mm, although higher thicknesses can be chosen if greater strength is required. These panels can be combined with Insulated Wall Panels with thicknesses between 50 and 100 mm. Whatever the thickness of the panel, it will maintain excellent insulation that can increase as the thickness increases, so your choice will depend on the budget and the requirements of each project.
On the contrary, your project may be more related to a quality industrial building with thermal and acoustic insulation designed to work inside comfortably throughout the year. For these cases, it is advisable to use a three-frets sandwich panel with a thickness of 30 mm, although it can be greater depending on the geographical area in the United States in which you are located. It must be taken into account that these panels are used to avoid high temperatures in summer and too low in winter. These panels have enough thermal insulation to avoid humidity, condensation, and extreme temperatures throughout the year, always at the best price.
Regarding the walls, the most demanded is the 30 mm Insulated Internal Wall Panel as it insulates thermally from extreme temperatures, has enough body to withstand large spans between support points, and, being usually in white, they are clean and durable. As an alternative option, the Outside Insulated Wall Panel is also frequently requested. These panels are 35 mm thick, slightly thicker than the previous one. Both have similar characteristics with the exception that the latter is more aesthetically pleasing as the hardware is hidden.
Previously we have shown insulation and protection options provided by Cold Room Panels in buildings that require it. We have also explained the kind of panels that are needed to achieve adequate insulation for an industrial building that does not require these conditions. All these options are good, but perhaps you are only looking for a low-cost option for your development. Therefore, let's talk about galvanized sheets that adapt to more limited budgets and with lower thermal insulation requirements.
The Profiled Sheets without an insulating core have the following characteristic: this kind of sheets its incredible resistance to corrosion, which makes them ideal for farms and in covering warehouses and buildings. The thicknesses of these sheets range from 32 to 50 mm, with 32 mm being the most economical and in demand. Thanks to its easy installation, the different colors in which it is available, and its watertight characteristics that prevent leaks and humidity, it has become one of the most demanded options at a lower cost than the sandwich panel.
As mentioned before, these sheets are ideal for farms since they resist corrosion from harmful gases from cattle and pigs. This kind of panel is designed for chemical industries, farms, and corrosive environments and is called Agricultural Metal Roofing. What differentiates them from other sheets is that their bottom sheet is fiberglass-reinforced polyester. This part of the sheet makes the Agropanel resistant to corrosion caused by the gases inside.
The thicknesses will vary depending on the animal housed inside, being the most recommended 30 mm if the farm is for cattle or pigs, 40 mm for chickens, or 50 mm for open pools for fish farming.
The overall thought is to think if these panels will be used outside or inside the development. It is possible to install either sandwich panels with a reinforced polyester interior in case it is in contact with the exterior or a False Ceiling in case it is installed as a lining for an existing ceiling.
False Ceilings are used when you need to reinforce the interior without incurring high expenses. The False Roof of Polyester is characterized by the fact that both sides of the panel are made of polyester, giving it maximum protection and durability. In terms of insulation thickness, the usual thickness is 30 mm, since this type of panel is designed to cover pre-existing ceilings and walls, together with the air chamber formed when it is installed, is more than enough to easily obtain the temperature we want. But in cases such as chicken farming or where there is no pre-existing insulation, the ideal is to go up to 50 mm thick and compensate for the lack of insulation with the false ceiling.
If after this post you are still not sure which material to choose for your project, do not hesitate to contact us. To do so, you can fill out this form, call +1 904 512-3122 or send a message by Whatsapp to the same phone number. You can also send us an email, and one of our sales representatives will be happy to answer your questions.