Insulated Concrete Forms - Also Known As ICF Walls

Insulated Concrete Forms (or ICF's) are forms that are built-in insulation that accepts reinforced concrete. These large hollow blocks are stacked like legos and filled with reinforcing bar & concrete. In the end, you are left with a structurally sound wall that is insulated with a vapor barrier and is ready for final exterior and interior finishes.

insulated concrete form wall.

There are three general types of ICF construction: flat ICF wall (as shown in the photo above), where the poured concrete surface is flat; waffle grid, where the concrete has varying thickness; and open grid, where the concrete forms a grid.

Benefits include:

1. Comfort - There will be no drafts or cold spots. ICF homes maintain a constant temperature resulting in smaller energy bills.

2. Energy Efficiency - Homes built with ICF exterior walls require an estimated 44% less energy to heat and 32% less energy to cool than traditional wood frame houses of the same size. Consequently, your HVAC systems can be downsized resulting in short and long term savings.

3. Quietness - Your outside noises are reduced if not eliminated.

4. Enviroment friendly - No CFCs, HCFCs, formaldehydes, and no wood to rot and mold. This is great for allergy and asthma sufferers. ICF's have a two-hour fire rating and are termite and pest resistant. But most important, they withstand high winds and severe storms.

Once completed, a ICF home looks the same as a wood framed home.

Based on research conducted by the National Association of Homebuilders Research Center, this publication reports on the results of testing and monitoring done on three homes built in Chestertown, Maryland. The homes, each 1,200 sf, were identical, except for the construction of the exterior walls. Two of the homes were built with insulating concrete forms, the third with conventional wood framing. Results from extensive cost and material analysis, acoustic testing, and energy usage are described. The ICF homes cost 3 to 3.5% more to build than the comparable wood frame home, based on the sales price of the home. The concrete homes were significantly quieter, testing to a Field Sound Transmission Classification as height as 42, compared to only 34 for the frame home. Energy usage in the concrete homes was approximately 20% lower than the wood frame home. This report demonstrates the superior performance and value achieved in concrete homes at a modest increase in the overall cost of the home.