Insulated Concrete Forms
What is ICF
ICF stands for Insulated Concrete Forming. In layman's terms, think of it like insulated Lego blocks. These blocks are placed directly on the footing and they're interlocked one on top of the other until a desired height. From there, concrete is pumped into the cavity of the insulated block. The result is strong concrete walls with permanent rigid thermal insulation on both internal and external sides of the building. This product, with its embedded attachment strip every 8 inches, is instantly ready for the attachment of interior drywall and exterior finishes.
Whether it's your new residential home; cottage; multi-level building or commercial property, choosing ICF is one of the smartest decisions you will make. ICF buildings require less energy to heat and cool, which will lower your monthly utility bill significantly, generally come with lower insurance costs as these structures are less likely to become damaged from fires, harsh climates or natural disasters. ICF is up to 3 times more sound resistant then conventionally built houses. Since they aren't built with wood, you'll reduce your maintenance costs as well. Simply put, you're getting quality, comfort and peace of mind.
In the past, the majority of ICF construction was primarily single residential units. However, over time it's popularity has grown due to the increasing utility prices, building code changes, natural disaster combat and buyer awareness. This technology has become very appealing for larger commercial projects like apartments, condos, hotels and even retail establishments. Benefits for the contractor may include; faster construction, lighter materials, ability to meet higher energy codes and flexibility.
Benefits of ICF
- Stronger Structures; concrete walls are up to ten times stronger than wood and the material does not rot when it gets wet
- Environmentally Friendly; less waste, saves trees
- Energy Efficient; significant reduction in heating and cooling requirements, saving monthly energy costs
- Air Quality; helps to regulate humidity which results in less moisture, reducing potential for mold
- Comfortable Living; better insulation makes it easier to control climate
- Acoustically Pleasing; better insulation provides stronger sound barriers
- Vermin Resistant; lack of holes and spacing in the walls doesn't allow for hiding or nesting
- Reduced Costs; lower utilities, insurance, maintenance and upkeep costs
A recent third-party Thermal Study by CLEB Laboratories proves that an Insulated Concrete Form (ICF) wall achieves up to 58% better R-Value and 149% better overallperformance than a traditional 2" x 6" wall for the same investment.
Insulating Concrete Forms Manufacturers Association(ICFMA) who recently commissioned CLEB Laboratories (formerly known as Air-Ins Inc.) conducted the first in a series of accredited whole wall thermal studies. This installment compared a 2” x 6” traditional insulated wood frame cavity wall to a standard 6 inch (150mm) core insulating concrete form (ICF) wall. The study was overwhelmingly revealing; confirming dramatically superior energy-efficiency performance and an overall better R-Value/RSI demonstrated by the ICF Wall assembly.
This is the first time a SCC & IAC Accredited, and Internationally recognized testing facility, has been commissioned to evaluate a realistic side-by-side comparison of the two types of wall assemblies within a single study.
The test results confirm the following:
- The tested ICF wall assembly provided 58% better effective R-Value/RSI than the tested 2” x 6” wall assembly*
- The tested ICF wall assembly generated up to 60% energy savings compared to the tested 2” x 6” wall assembly*
- The measurable contributions of the ICF wall assembly’s thermal mass and the interior and exterior layers of continuous insulation
What does this mean for consumers? Consider two typical homes, each with 2,000 square feet of wall area – one constructed in wood frame to permitted code*, the other constructed using ICF technology and subjecting both to the same test condition. When incorporating the average kWH value for all North America, this study indicates that in many climate zones that during the most extreme cold conditions an ICF wall can save between $140 and $190 per month in equivalent electrical consumption when compared to a traditionally constructed wood frame wall. Why 'wood' you building with anything but insulated concrete forms.
For more information, or to read the full report, visit the icf-ma.org/thermalstudy
What are other uses for ICF?
Do you have additional questions? Contact us anytime!