What is an insulated concrete form?
ICFs are basically forms for poured concrete walls, that stay in place as a permanent part of the wall assembly. The forms,
made of foam insulation or other insulating material, are either pre-formed interlocking blocks or separate panels connected
with plastic ties. The left-in-place forms not only provide a continuous insulation and sound barrier, but also a backing for
drywall on the inside, and stucco, lap siding, or brick on the outside.
Within these two basic ICF types, individual systems can vary in their design. "Flat" systems yield a continuous thickness of
concrete, like a conventionally poured wall. The wall produced by "grid" systems has a waffle pattern where the concrete is
thicker at some points than others. "Post and beam" systems have just that – discrete horizontal and vertical columns of
concrete that are completely encapsulated in foam insulation. Whatever their differences, all major ICF systems are
engineer-designed, code-accepted, and field-proven.
Is ICF construction more expensive?
Building a structure that is of higher quality is more expensive, but not much more than you think.
If you take into account the savings that you will have in energy bills and the value of
cleaner air and a safer structure; it can be argued that building the traditional way is more expensive!
What are the advantages of ICF construction?
Versatile System – Flexible Designs ICF homes can be designed in any style, and will accept any traditional
exterior finish including vinyl or wood siding, stucco and brick. Because custom angles and curves are easily created, it's
simple to build in bows, bays and radiuses. And ICF systems accommodate any of today's most popular design features, such
as tall walls, large openings, long floor spans, and cathedral ceilings.
Internationally Proven & Code-Accepted
Originally developed in Europe (where concrete home building is standard) ICF systems have been used successfully around the
world for more than 30 years. Thousands of ICF homes have been built in recent years throughout the United States and Canada.
They have proven successful in every region and climate, from Orlando to Calgary. ICF systems are accepted by all the major
model codes in the U.S., and by the R-2000 program in Canada.
Easy to Work With
ICFs present no problem for the sub-contractors who come after the walls are poured. Since holes, chases and rectangles are
easily cut into ICFs with a knife or saw, installation of mechanical systems is a snap. The fastening of drywall and lap
siding is just as fast and easy. And mid-course corrections, such as moving an opening, are no big deal – just saw it out
Cost Competitive Over the last ten years, concrete prices have been remarkably stable. Recent price
increases in other materials have generated interest in concrete building systems as never before. Labor savings and readily
available materials make ICFs, feature for feature, one of the most cost competitive wall systems in the U.S. and Canadian