About Insulated Concrete Forms
An excellent way to build your next project would be using insulated concrete forms, ortherwise known as ICFs. Stick-frame homes are begining to become the way of the past. Concrete is the future. There are so many benefits to using ICFs. Safety, comfort, convenience, being environmentally friendly, as well as being very economic are all great reasons to use ICFs with whatever you are building next, whether residential or commercial.
- Fire retardant- ICFs are more fire retardant than traditional stick built homes. Concrete won't break down until exposed to thousands of degrees of Fahrenheit. It takes at least three hours for a fire on one side of the ICF to get hot enough to start a fire on the next side. The foam in the ICF is actually manufactured with fire retardant additives. Many insurance companies will even give homeowners a discount on their insurance if their house is built with insulated concrete forms.
- Strength- Using ICFs insures you that what you're building is made to last. ICFs withstand natural disasters longer than wood framed homes. The Consumer Energy Center tested the ICFs for strength by putting walls built with ICFs and traditiional wood-framed shear walls under earthquake-like tests to see which one withstood the most. ICFs tested seven times better than the wood-framed walls. Also, ICF walls are as much as 50% stronger than traditional poured concrete walls because the installation stays in place permanently. To see an example of how ICF homes withstand natural disasters visit here. This website shows how Hurricane Katrina swept through a neighborhood, and the only house that was left standing was the ICF built home.
- More controllable air quality- ICF's monolithic walls eliminate air leaks which in turn leads to less allergens and dust inside and no space for pests and rodents to get in.
- Better mold control- Some mold is toxic to humans, especially when they are exposed to the mold over a long period of time without knowing it. Water is naturally wicked away by the material that ICFs are made from which lessens the chance of mold growing throughout your building. This creates a much safer environment for everyone.
- Consistent temperatures- Provides walls that maintain consistent temperatures that seem warm in the winter and cool in the summer.
- Noise reduction- Tests conclude that ICF built homes allow less than one-third of the sound that the average wood frame home filled with fiberglass does.
- Toxins- ICFs do not produce any more toxins in the air when burnt than wood does.
- Less garbage- When installing there is less pickup/garbage. There are minimal scraps compared to building with lumber.
- Easy installation- Installation is much faster and easier. You can work throughout the cold weather, even through temperatures as low as ten degrees Fahrenheit.
- Less Maintenance- Wood rots, but since ICFs don't there is minimal maintenance.
- Great attachment- ICFs provide predictable attachment points for everything from drywall to decor.
- Lowers heating and cooling costs- Average savings per month range from 25%-70% and are contributed by high R-values, low air infiltration, and high thermal mass.
- Less subcontractors and construction steps- Now that your concrete people are doing your walls, there isn't as much of a need for other subcontractors.
- High resale value- With all of these great benefits, your home will have a much higher resale value.