What are SIP panels and how are they used to create a garden room?

Find out how you can create a sustainable and high-quality SIP panels garden room from the experienced team of design and construction experts.
What are SIP panels and how are they used to create a garden room?

In the UK, we spend 60 minutes a day on average commuting to and from work. Stuck in traffic, squeezing into overcrowded transport or battling the beloved British weather. With a Vivid Pod at the foot of your garden you can spend that valuable time doing the things you love the most. We won’t judge if that means an extra hour in bed!

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Eager to make the most of your outdoor space all year round? Regardless of whether you want to erect a quiet home office, build a productive and energising gym space, or construct a cosy garden room that’s perfect for relaxing, a SIP panel garden room could help.

Below, we take a detailed look at SIP panels and the materials that are used to make them.

We then explore how these panels work, their advantages and disadvantages, as well as the different types of structures that SIP panels can be used to create to help you determine whether a SIP panels garden room is the best option for your outdoor area.

What are SIP panels?

SIP simply refers to ‘structural insulated panels’ – a durable, modern, and efficient building material used in a wide range of construction projects. Well-suited to small ancillary buildings as well as residential building projects, high-performance SIP panels benefit from off-site manufacture and have a variety of uses.

Featuring a sandwich structure, SIP panels are composed of two sheets of OSB3 (oriented standard boards) with a sheet of rigid foam insulation in the centre. This structure is then set with specialist adhesive that helps them to remain strong and robust even under high pressure.

Here at Vivid Pods, every one of the SIP panels used in our garden rooms is made to exacting specifications at our purpose-built manufacturing facility. The OSB3 boards we use are both FSC-certified (certified as being responsibly sourced by the Forest Stewardship Council) and structurally graded, and we only use the highest quality closed cell EPS (expanded polystyrene) insulation foam to construct our SIP panels.

How do SIP panels work?

SIP panels are part of a fabric-first approach to construction projects. This means both the design and construction of the building envelope (the physical barrier that separates the indoors from the outdoors) is carefully considered before any mechanical or electrical building components.

Why does a fabric-first approach matter?

If you take the time to really consider your choice of building materials, you stand to reap the most rewards. For example, instead of investing money, time, and energy adding solar panels (or any other kind of renewable energy system) to your project, you could opt for a high-performing insulation or building material.

With the right building materials providing adequate natural air-tightness and insulation, you can efficiently cool or heat the space to your liking. Any additional energy needed to heat or cool the low-energy building can therefore be kept at a minimum, helping you to save money in the long-term and create a more sustainable garden room.

What structures can SIP panels create?

Believed by many in the construction sector to be the future of the house building industry, SIP panels can be used for residential, commercial, and even industrial projects. A speedy method for building efficient walls that don’t require a frame for support, SIP panels can be used to create everything from garden buildings and garages to extensions and even whole houses.

Not only are SIP panels a great solution for the walls of your building project, but they also make an ideal building material for the roof and floors.

As a result, almost the entire envelope of a building can be conveniently constructed from the same material – modern and energy-efficient SIP panels. Here at Vivid Pods, we use SIP panels in our DIY garden rooms kits.

What are the advantages of using SIP panels?

Now you know which structures can be created with a helping hand from SIP panels, it’s time to explore the many advantages of using this modern building material. From its versatility to its energy-efficiency, we take a more detailed look at the various benefits of choosing SIP panels as your primary construction material below.


Thanks to the pre-manufactured nature of SIP panels, they are often a more sustainable building material than traditional alternatives. Once they’ve been transported to site, only minimal waste will be produced and any construction noise will be kept to a minimum, helping to keep your neighbours happy, too.

Not to mention, the embodied energy (the total amount of energy it takes to produce products/services) of SIP panels is far less than traditional building materials, like stone and concrete, which lowers the overall emissions released into the atmosphere.

Quick and easy to install

Unlike some traditional building methods, SIP panels are quick and relatively easy to install – even for DIY-ers. Pre-manufactured off-site often at purpose-built factories, they can be quickly positioned into place, transforming a task that, traditionally, may have taken days, but now takes a matter of hours. SIP flooring, for example, boasts an easy installation method and reduced requirements once set, allowing you or your constructor to quickly move onto your next building task.


When it comes to creating structures using SIP panels, the options are practically endless. Architects have far more creative freedom when using SIP panels to design a building because they offer sought-after versatility. In turn, this can lead to contemporary and aesthetically-pleasing SIP panel creations that can complement modern builds as well as traditional homes.

They can even be used in conjunction with a vast range of more traditional building materials such as brick, wood, glass, and even stone – the choice is yours!

Adds insulation

Instead of adding layers of insulation onto the frame of your building, why not opt for a material that comes complete with its own high-quality insulation? SIP panels are well-known for the sandwich-like structure that features an unrivalled insulating rigid foam layer. This structure makes SIP panels a much more efficient insulation option than many traditional construction materials.


Another benefit of SIP panels and their in-built insulation is their energy-saving ability. SIP panels are also more airtight than traditional building materials, which helps them to fend off draughts and create an airtight space where both the temperature and air flow can be easily controlled.

As a result, the occupants needn’t use other energy-consuming products to heat or cool the building, which allows them to reduce their carbon emissions and save money, too.

What are the challenges of using SIP panels to build a garden room?

At Vivid Pods, we’ve chosen to use contemporary and energy-efficient SIP panels in our DIY kits because we believe it’s the best material for the job. However, just like any other building material, this doesn’t mean that SIP panels are without their challenges. Below, we list the main areas to consider when using SIP panels instead of some of the more traditional building materials.


One of the biggest challenges of using SIP panels to build a garden room is the fact they are part-assembled in factory before being transported to their destination. While this does reduce the degree of labour required when the panels have arrived on location, they will still need to be skilfully put together according to a set design. As a result, the onus will be on the self-builder and their construction skills or competency to bring the design to life.

Alternatively, you can choose to purchase one of our DIY SIP kits that come with a comprehensive instruction guide and installation video, a full fixing kit, and ongoing support over the phone or email from our expert team.

Need correct tools to do the job

As with any construction project, preparation is essential. Part of this process is ensuring you have all the necessary tools available. Luckily, if you’re an avid DIYer, chances are you’ve already amassed an impressive selection of standard tools that can be used across a wide range of DIY projects and construction applications.

Not to mention, while there are still some tools that you will have to source yourself, if you choose one of our DIY SIP kits, they’ll come complete with a variety of materials that speed up the construction process. This includes wood glue, expanding foam, and silicone, so you can focus on obtaining any additional tools required to construct the SIP building.

Appropriate PPE should be worn while constructing

In order to prevent injury to yourself, you’ll need to invest in the appropriate PPE (Personal Protection Equipment). From the correct clothing and footwear to donning safety goggles, ear protectors, and gloves, constructing one of SIP kits is a lot easier than starting from scratch, but you’ll still need to invest in the right PPE.

Higher initial cost

While SIP panels have a wide and varied range of benefits, these benefits do come at a higher upfront cost than some traditional building materials. However, it’s important to remember than the long-term running costs of a low-energy SIP structure are likely to be much lower than the running costs for a building constructed using more traditional materials.

Plus, if you choose to construct your own garden room using one of our DIY SIP kits, for example, you can completely cut labour costs out of the equation. This makes our DIY SIP kits one of the most affordable garden room options on our website, but they’re also ideal for anyone that wants to take a more hands-on approach to the construction of their garden room.

How can SIP panels be used to create a garden room?

At Vivid Pods, we’ve seen the many different benefits of using SIP panels to create a garden room first-hand.

While some of our garden rooms or pods are constructed using FSC-certified and sustainable timber, our DIY garden room kits are supplied with SIP panels to make constructing your own garden room fast, easy, and (best of all!) affordable.

With two pre-manufactured DIY kits to explore including our Starter kit and our Complete kit, you can have as much involvement in your garden room project as you desire. For more control over the finish and function of your garden room, we recommend the Starter kit. For a fully-finished room, opt for the Complete kit.

Boasting a user-friendly modular construction, modern technology, and a thoughtful design, both of these kits make a fantastic addition to any residential property. Even if you have a tight installation space, the prefabricated panels and the full set of instructions each kit comes with allows you or your contractor to install the structure with ease.

Not to mention, if you can’t find the right size DIY garden room in our ‘off the shelf’ selection, then please don’t hesitate to take advantage of our ‘made to measure’ service that’s ideal for individual or more unique construction projects.

Alternatively, if you’re not sure which DIY garden room kit option or size is right for your outdoor space, then please feel free to give us a call and discuss your project with a knowledgeable and experienced member of the Vivid Pods team. Our team provide unparalleled customer service and have years of experience helping our customers to find the best pod to suit the size of their garden, their personal preferences, and their budget.

Searching for your own SIP panels garden room?

Eager to install your own SIP panels garden room? Here at Vivid Pods, we have a wide range of durable SIP panel garden rooms for all kinds of budgets and personal preferences. Ideal for avid DIY-ers and those on a stricter budget, we’ve even created an affordable and easy-install range of high-quality DIY garden room kits.

Based in Bristol, we specialise in the construction of high-end and ultra-contemporary garden rooms (referred to by our team as pods!) to suit a variety of lifestyles. Thanks to a tonne of technical know-how and years of experience in the commercial design industry, you’re sure to find the perfect pod to suit your specific requirements here.

To find out more about our DIY kits, SIP panels and how our garden rooms are pre-manufactured, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with our expert team today. You can either email us at [email protected], or fill out our convenient online enquiry form.

Once we’ve received your enquiry, you can rest assured that a member of our team will be in touch shortly to provide you with more information about our products and services. The friendly and knowledgeable team at Vivid Pods hope to hear from you soon!

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