What would you think if we said that a home could have:
* Heating bills 35%-60% less.
* Weather resistance that will stand up to hurricane force winds, and is rated to resist earthquakes.
* The ultimate fire resistance insofar that some insurance companies decide to give a 20% (or more) discount on a homeowners’ policy.
* Healthy indoor air quality, essentially free from dust and pollen.
* A guarantee to never get dry-decay, or be infested by termites or carpenter ants.
* Recycled material elements that save in average 15 trees per home when constructed.
* Reduced exterior wall sound transmission by more than 65% so barking dogs, lawn mowers, and already airplanes are reduced to a whisper.
* The most amazing thing of all, is that this technology is obtainable right here, right now and it costs only a simply a traditional wood built house.
The Magic of ICF’s……
The big secret that more and more builders, architects, engineers and homeowners are beginning to uncover is the new advances in concrete homes constructed using Insulating Concrete Forms (ICF) construction technology.
Insulating Concrete Forms are lightweight, highly lasting foam blocks or forms composed of an expanded or extruded polystyrene, and recycled materials.
Raw plastic beads are molded into one of several basic form types. Some of these forms look like hollow blocks that you stack and interlock like big “Lego’s”. Others use panels that are held at a continued distance apart by a series of plastic ties.
Either way, the product is stacked in the shape of your home, reinforcing steel is placed inside, and concrete poured in between to create a substantial, structural wall.
The Insulating Concrete Forms keep in place after the concrete sets, and function as thermal and acoustical insulation, an air and vapor obstacle, and exterior wall sheathing. Your finished wall is basically 6″ +/- of strengthened concrete with 2″-3″ of thick foam insulation inside and out, resulting in a rock substantial, 12″ thick, super-wall!
The integral, long-lasting insulation allows builders to construct ultra efficient walls in a fraction of the time required to build walls out of wood or steel studs.
How is an ICF Home Construction More Environmentally-Friendly?
In so many ways; ICF home construction reduces the consumption of energy. These are the most air-tight homes on the market. The concrete absorbs solar heat and slowly releases it so heat is distributed uniformly throughout the home. The average energy consumption reduction is 35-60% below traditional wood frame houses. The houses use fewer natural resources to heat them and they will last quite literally for centuries.
ICF walls conserve forest resources and their energy efficiency reduces fossil fuel consumption. It’s estimated a 2,000 square foot home saves up to 15 large trees when compared to traditional construction. Concrete is inert, non-toxic, and produced from abundant natural and recycled material.
Lower noise from the outside world and the air exchange system all contribute to a more peaceful and healthy ecosystem for the occupants of an ICF home.
Disadvantages of ICF construction:
Cost; expect to pay 5-10% more for an ICF home depending on where you live.Where ICF homes are popular the cost will probably be a little cheaper.
already though ICF construction is very lasting and Code approved, it might take a little additional time to get your plans by the building department (unless they are familiar with the particular system that you are using).
ICF construction requires subcontractors to do certain responsibilities differently. Wiring, heating, plumbing, and drywall will be different than in traditional construction. This might cause prices to be higher or sometimes, difficulty in finding sub-trades that have experience working in an ICF home.
The ICF industry is growing rapidly, and in the last few years we have completed projects in many different townships and municipalities. There are very few building departments left in Southern Ontario where they are not familiar with the ICF building course of action.
* ICF homes are a superior system to wood framed or steel framed homes.
* Once the exterior walls are poured they are ready for finishing (on the inside and out).
* They are extremely lasting and they don’t cost much more than a traditional framed home.
* Finding subcontractors may be a challenge, but if you are planning to live in your home for many years, ICF homes are the only choice to make.