As winter creeps closer and Telluride, Colorado, gears up for a 2019-2020 season of a predicted 371” of snowfall, contractors at Chandler Homes are relieved not to have the impossible burden of packing the ski lift gondolas full of building products for a new home on the slopes.

Situated in the Rocky Mountains, not far from the ski town of Telluride, this job site sits at 11,000 feet above sea level, accessible only by a rough, unpaved road four months of the year. Builders, owners, and other stakeholders such as DCI Engineers are forced to access the custom, single-family home by gondola for the remaining eight months, meaning the exterior work must be completed while the road is accessible.

Transportation issues are coupled with heavy snowfall–Telluride is covered with snow for 40% of the year–and high winds.

Initially, traditional OSB sheathing was slated to be used on the new build, with a weather-resistant barrier and continuous insulation added later. However, a process involving multiple steps didn’t make sense in a location that could only be accessed four months out of the year.

Ultimately, the engineer on the project opted for OX Engineered Product’s OX-IS insulated sheathing structural insulation panels. This 4-in-1 product met the code requirements for structural sheathing, continuous insulation, and weather- and air-resistive barrier performance.

Lee Bybee from OX Engineered Products notes, “At 11,000 feet, the weather is challenging to say the least. The engineer recommended using our product for the high shear and wind strength it provides. The insulated panel also adds to the required insulation for the wall and provides an easier environment to heat.”

Another advantage offered by the OX-IS product was its speed of installation. “That small window that the builders have each year to do construction on the exterior of the house, they really wanted something that could be installed very quickly. That’s where we shine,” says Bybee.

At only 1/2” thick, the structural insulation panels also dispel myths about strength. Bybee states, “The lightness is often seen as a negative on the front end and a positive on the back end. Once people understand the product does provide structural value, they like the fact that it’s much more lightweight and easier to handle and work with throughout the construction process.”

Being one third of the weight of traditional OSB, the structural insulation panels reduced transportation costs and allowed the builders on the Telluride project to haul product up to the job site much more quickly.

Builders and the clients also appreciated OX’s new, limited 30-year system warranty that comes with using the panels in conjunction with construction tape.

Faced with all of the challenges of the location, gondolas and dirt tracks included, having the system warranty built in brought practical peace of mind and allowed stakeholders to focus on getting as much done as possible before the onset of winter.