A Better Way to Build?
Built to Last
Insulated Concrete Forms (ICF) have been around
for more than 30 years. ICFs are hollow building blocks that
are constructed from expanded polystyrene. The ICF blocks can
be interlocked and stacked to form the exterior walls of a building.
Once stacked, the forms are reinforced with steel and filled with
concrete. After the concrete sets, the ICF blocks are left in
place to provide an extra layer of insulation and allow the builder
greater flexibility finishing the exterior of the walls. ICF
blocks provide a lasting protective envelope, designed to withstand
fire, wind and other natural elements as well as the test of time.
Although most home and business owners prefer to stucco or brick the
exterior, many options are available.
ICF homes and buildings are
extremely energy efficient. Homes and buildings built with
insulated concrete generally boast at least twice the energy
efficiency of traditional wood frame projects. The exterior
walls of wood framed buildings typically have an insulation value,
or R-value, between 13 and 20. ICF projects generally have
R-values between 30 and 50. The larger the R-value of a
material, the greater it's insulating properties in stopping heat
R-value in ICF homes and buildings is partly due to the fact that
air leaks are virtually eliminated because the walls are poured
seamlessly; therefore, there is no space for air to seep into your
home. Likewise, there are no convection currents within the
the wall cavities. Since ICF blocks encapsulate the
concrete within the wall from both sides, the blocks provide
insulation on the exterior and interior of the house. These
features create a more comfortable home because drafts and cold
spots are virtually eliminated in the home.
also benefit from a property known as "thermal mass". Thermal
mass refers to the ability of concrete to conduct and store energy
(heat and cold) and release that energy back into the living space
as temperatures change. Thermal mass helps moderate the
temperature in your home by keeping the walls a little warmer at
night and a little cooler during the day.
home with insulated concrete is also good for the environment.
The materials used in concrete are abundantly available , contain
recycled materials, and is itself recyclable. The polystyrene
used in the ICF blocks is non-toxic and can also be recycled.
Furthermore, the energy savings incurred by building with ICF
technology helps preserve our natural resources.
ICF homes and
buildings are much quieter than conventional framed homes. Due
to the double insulation and significantly thicker walls of ICF
homes (11-13 inches) compared to wood frame houses (4-6 inches),
most, if not all, of the exterior noises will be eliminated inside
an ICF home. According to the National Association of Home
Builders, the sound tests conducted on ICF walls showed that ICF
homes allowed less than one-third as much sound to pass through the
exterior walls as do ordinary frame walls filled with fiberglass.
many insurance companies offer discounts to customers who build ICF
homes and buildings. The superior strength and durability of
ICF homes is unequaled. Concrete is one of the most resistance
building materials to heat and fire. ICF buildings far exceed
the two hour fire rating for above grade exterior walls.
Furthermore, insulated concrete buildings offer far more protection
against storms, high winds, flying debris, and tornadoes than
conventional wood frame construction. An ICF home can
withstand up to 225 m.p.h. winds, or the equivalent of an F4
homes and buildings need far less maintenance than traditional
buildings. Concrete will not rot, rust, or burn and is
impervious to damage from termites and other pests. Also,
since the walls are seamless, there is less of an opportunity for
pests to invade the interior of your home or building.
Concrete requires far less maintenance and costs significantly less
to maintain over the life of your home than any other material.
True Custom Building
Due to the
elegant simplicity of the building block design, a home or building
can be designed to your specific standards. Need a tall garage
for your big boat? No problem. Want extra wide doors for
your entryway? No problem. Want eye-catching complex
angles or window designs? No problem. With ICF
technology, windows and doors are cut and blocked before the
concrete is poured so as to preserve the openings and create frames
for the doors and windows.
building an insulated concrete project can cost a little more
upfront (generally 5-10%), more and more home and business owners
are realizing it is a smart investment.
utility, insurance, and maintenance bills will last for as long you
own your home or building. The energy savings in an ICF home
versus a traditional frame house can be as much as 65 percent.
In addition, ICF structures will maintain their value and command a
higher resale price when sold.