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What structures are best built with Insulated Concrete Forms?

All buildings, whether residential or commercial, benefit from construction using Insulated Concrete Forms. ICF walls are used for basements, garages and first-, second- and multiple-story walls.

Does it require more time to install ICFs?

No, typically experienced installers can erect entire structures in 1/3 of the time it would take by traditional means regardless of the climate. In addition, ICF construction eliminates the need for house-wrap or moisture barriers because the forms are virtually impermeable.

Are there limits to structural design with ICFs?

No. ICFs accommodate today's most popular design features, including high ceilings, large openings, long walls and even curved walls. However, construction is more convenient when a design is created by using favorable ICF measurements for wall heights, wall lengths and positions of doors and windows from the beginning of the planning stage.

How does the cost of ICFs compare to wooden framing?

ICF walls save the customer money. Initial construction prices are slightly higher, but the annual reduction in energy cost, insurance discounts and possible eligibility for tax credit will increase savings year after year. ICF walls are virtually maintenance-free and there will be no cost related to rot or decay problems in the future. Plus, ICFs increase the value of your home or building. In addition, the price of concrete remains remarkably stable compared to resources with fluctuating prices and limited availability.

Will ICF walls create difficulties for other sub-contractors?

No. Though the walls appear different than wooden framing, laborers are easily able to cut holes, chases and rectangles into ICFs with a knife or saw so that installation of mechanical systems and fastening of drywall and lap siding is a snap. The process is different, but not difficult.

When were ICFs developed?

Introduced in Europe, ICFs have been in use around the world since the 1970s. There are more than 50 ICF manufacturers throughout the United States and Canada. They create ICFs in a variety of shapes and sizes for multiple uses. ICF is among the fastest growing segment in the residential and commercial building market today.

Are ICFs environmentally friendly?

Yes! Click here to learn more!

How much sound passes through ICFs?

Very little; the superior Sound Transmission Rating is 48-50 depending on the ICF wall thickness. Compared to wooden frame structures, only one-sixth as much noise travels through ICF walls. Barking dogs, lawn mowers and even airplane sounds are reduced to a whisper.

Are structures built with ICF walls safer?

Yes, ICF walls are proven to significantly withstand 2000 degree heat from fire for 3-4 hours and 200 m.p.h. wind caused by severe weather. Structurally superior, the life expectancy for ICF buildings is more than 200 years. Plus, the air inside structures made with ICF walls is safer because there is no air infiltration to encourage mold, dust or pollen. Building materials for ICFs are safer for the environment too.

How do structures "breathe" through ICFs?

Structures built with ICF walls are barriers against allergens--including mold, dust and pollen--because virtually no air or moisture passes through ICF walls. However, proper ventilation is necessary to ensure an ample supply of fresh air and exhaustion of normal household gases.