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(Insulating Concrete Forms)
Benefits of ICF (Insulating Concrete Forms)
Greater Comfort & Lower Energy Bills
Energy savings and comfort are built into every ICF system.
A study commissioned by the Portland Cement Association concluded
that homes built with ICF exterior walls offer up to a 32-71
percent savings for heating and cooling costs over comparable
wood-frame houses. This means that a typical 2,450-square-foot
home in Ontario can save approximately $2000 in heating and
air conditioning costs each year. The larger the house, the
larger the potential savings.
But that's not all! Air infiltration in an ICF Home is minimal
due to the continuous air barriers provided by the foam insulation
and the concrete. Likewise, there are no convection currents
within wall cavities.
The concrete walls of an ICF home have high thermal mass,
which buffers the interior of a home from the extremes of
outdoor temperature during every 24-hour cycle. This reduces
both peak and total heating and cooling loads.
This combination of high R-values, low air infiltration,
and high thermal mass is believed to account for the amazing
25% to 50% energy savings of ICF versus wood or steel-framed
Peace & Quiet
New ICF homeowners almost always remark on how unbelievably
quiet their new house is, compared with their old stick-built
home. They expect the new-found comfort and energy efficiency,
but the peace and quiet -the protection from outside noise
- never fails to surprise and delight them.
In sound transmission tests, ICF walls allowed less than one-third
as much sound to pass through as do ordinary frame walls filled
with fiberglass. With double-glazed windows in ICF walls and
beefed-up roof insulation, you will rarely hear street noises
or airport traffic.
Solid & Lasting Security
The high-mass walls of an ICF home not only give it a remarkably
solid feel, but they also make it safer for the family. And
make it a remarkably solid and secure investment, too. Concrete
homes have a proven track record of withstanding the ravages
of hurricanes, tornadoes and fires, when all the stick-built
houses around them are in ruins.
In fire wall tests, ICFs stood exposure to intense flame without
structural failure longer than did common frame walls. The
polystyrene foam used in most ICF forms is treated so it will
not support combustion. Also, tests show that its tendency
to transmit an outside flame source is less than that of most
wood products. [Many insurance carriers are now offering a
discount on a home owner's policy for an ICF home.]
Less Repair & Maintenance
With ICF homes, the equation is simple. No Rot = Less Repair
and Maintenance. Neither polystyrene nor concrete will ever
rot or rust. Concrete can even be exposed to the elements
for centuries with few ill effects. Reinforcing steel, buried
deep inside and protected by concrete's alkalinity, does not
A Healthier Home & Environment
Building with ICFs is healthier for the environment in a
number of ways by minimizing the number of different building
products involved in construction, by reducing the amount
of waste generated on the construction site and by lowering
energy requirements for heating and cooling.
ICF homes provide a healthy indoor environment, too. Nothing
held within or ordinarily emitted by an ICF wall is toxic.
The measurement of the air contents of actual ICF houses shows
an almost complete absence of any emissions.
Construction Made Simple
ICF Advantages For The Builder. Versatile
System - Flexible Designs
ICF homes can be designed in any style, and will accept
any traditional exterior finish including vinyl or wood siding,
stucco and brick. Because custom angles and curves are easily
created, it's simple to build in bows, bays and radiuses.
And ICF systems accommodate any of today's most popular design
features, such as tall walls, large openings, long floor spans,
and cathedral ceilings.
Internationally Proven & Code-Accepted
Originally developed in Canada (where concrete home building
is standard) ICF systems have been used successfully around
the world for more than 40 years. Tens of thousands of ICF
homes have been built in recent years throughout the United
States and Canada. They have proven successful in every region
and climate, from Orlando to Calgary. ICF systems are accepted
by all the major model codes in the U.S. and by the National
Building Codes in Canada.
Fast To Learn & Easy To Use
Although it looks new and different, anyone with construction
experience can quickly get up to speed with ICFs. An ideal
crew has a mix of concrete placement and carpentry experience.
Once the crew has some practice, each ICF-built home requires
less skilled labour and less total labour than a wood-framed
home. And ICFs are very lightweight, so crews stay fresh through
the day. Likewise, ICFs present no problem for the sub-contractors
who come after the walls are poured. Since holes, chases and
rectangles are easily cut into ICFs with a knife or saw, installation
of mechanical systems is a snap The fastening of drywall and
lap siding is just as fast and easy. And mid-course corrections,
such as moving an opening, are no big deal - just saw it out
and re-form. It's not more difficult to make changes to an
ICF wall - it's just different.
Over the last ten years, ICF prices have been remarkably
stable. Recent price increases in other materials have generated
interest in concrete building systems as never before. Labour
savings and readily available materials make ICFs, feature
for feature, one of the most cost competitive wall systems
in U.S. and Canadian housing markets.