How to build a low cost foam cement home with do it
yourself SCIP panels


An Idea for a DIY,Low cost, low maintenance, hurricane and fire resisitant home.


I have long wanted to build my own home. There are dozens of low cost home building methods that have been promoted for years. I have looked into every low cost method I have ever ran across and the SCIP method looks like it would be the best for me.

I have looked at underground, adobe, cobb, strawbale, dome, log cabin, log stackwall, stone, sod, sandbag, steel panel,Earthships,converted industrial buildings, houseboats, converted trailers, Cinva ram blocks, plywood, containers,  SIPs, yurts, domes, motorhomes, vans,treehouses, railroad cabooses, railroad ties,wood frame, bamboo huts, gancrete, papercrete,ferro cement  and wattle and daub!

I think the Structural Concrete Insulated panels may be the winner when it comes to building a little house you can call your own.


I have not built with it yet so I am not here to tell you I know this to be a fact, but I have been looking at different building methods for years and haven't seen any methods that do so many things for so little time, money or effort and can be built by just one person if needed.


The two things that excites me the most about SCIP as an alternative building method is

1.) that the roof can also be built with the same material you build the walls and

2.)the second advantage is I think the panels can be made and  assembled at home by a single person so you would not have to buy them from a company already assembled. Making the panels yourself would save a great deal of money.

Having the cement roof of your home in one piece attached seamlessly to your cement walls will make for a very wind and fire resisitant home, and one that wil be very long lasting and low maintanance. Every DIY homebuilding method I have seen uses the standard roofing method that if one piece comes loose in a storm often causes the entire home to be destroyed. A SCIP home is also very energy efficient.  


Lets start at the beginning.

SCIP stands for Structural Concrete Insulated panels.



The panels are a sandwich of foam that has wire mesh on the outside and each side of mesh is connected to the other with mesh that goes through the foam and unites both sides.





The benefits are


Extreme insulation, as high as


can be made of recycled foam and steel


easy and light to assemble the walls and roof


no need for large or experienced crews.

walls can have pipes and wires run through them in channels easily made with a torch


windows and door openings are simple to create.

the foam walls and roof are quickly troweled or sprayed with a thin layer of concrete


the concrete creates a monolithic structure that is earthquake resistant, hurricane resistant, fire and pest resisitant.

the walls and roof do not need to be painted simplifying maintenance.

because the roof is one piece there is no way for a shingle to come off during a hurricane and create a weak spot that would cause you to lose your roof


Damage from forest fires is minimized.



Here is where I get excited.

I have spent some time with ferrocement boatbuilding that uses mesh over steel frames to build a strong cement boat hull. Ferrocement requires a lot of labor to twist the wires to secure the mesh to a steel framework, it is tedious but very simple work.

I am thinking a person could assemble a jig to drill holes in foam panels and insert short pieces of steel tubing into the holes in the foam. Then  wire could be woven around the pipes in a zigzag pattern to create a mesh wire wall on each side of the panes. each side of the panels would be attached to each other by the steel tubing that is inserted into the foam. when all the panes are done they can be used the same way as regular SCIP panels are to assemble the walls and roof.

 Once the panels are sprayed or troweled with cement the walls and roof would be as strong as the regular scip panels, and maybe stronger as the steel pipe inserted into the foam would increase the shear strength over the small wire mesh used in regular scip panes.


I see the ability to make your own SCIP panels one at a time on a jig at your home a very inexpensive way to acquire the panes to make your own house.


another advantage of SCIP is it is so quick to go up your home construction site will not be open to vandals that may damage or burn your building while it is going up.




If you are building by your self or with just one helper to save money in your spare time you don't want your site to have a half framed wooden building for too long as it could attract vandals.

by getting your walls and roof up quickly your investment will be protected.




here is a gallery of YouTube videos I collected on SCIP buildings


and here is a group of websites that offer SCIP panels and technology
 (CA) (NC) (CO) (SC)

------as far as I know, all of the above companies build with the same panel--the ones below use a different type, I believe------------ (CO) (Builds with MetRock below) (CO) (Green Sandwich builder formed this new company) (MO - it's not on their website, but this guy was certified by Green Sandwich before they went under)

Here is a cool DIY SCIP video on youtube
Build a SCIP Panel in 15 minutes - Part 1



 As I find more information on SCIP and as I investigate mor einto building my own panels I will add to this page. Please send me any information you would like added,

Robb Moffett

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