From improved energy efficiency to increased comfort to better protection from disaster to increased quiet, it’s not hard to see why insolated Concrete Form or ICF has been used in global construction for more than 60 years.
From property protection to low cost to durability, ICF construction is a tried-and-true method to construction and can help make your home energy efficient as well.
A typical 2,500 square foot, two-story home can cost more than $150,000, but the long term benefits of building with ICF construction can pay off when you’re looking at the big picture. Whether you’re installing floors, putting up walls or building a decking system, ICF can turn the average home into one that’s properly insulated, safeguarded and strong.
ICF walls act as a heat barrier and allow homes and building to better retain heat. As a result, ICF walls can save home owners 20 to 25% on annual heating and cooling costs according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Construction of insulated concrete form (ICF) walls takes place one row at a time and each block is 10 inches in width. To reduce waste, construction materials like end blocks in each row are cut to fit.
If you live in an area impacted by tornadoes, earthquakes or flooding among other natural disasters, ICF construction is beneficial. Insulated concrete form (ICF) construction can withstand 402 kph winds, making it an ideal protector against natural disasters.
ICF’s benefits extend to flooring and basement construction too. ICF decking weighs less than concrete and has better insulation. ICF construction materials also help reduce the number of basement steps compared to conventional building and typically costs 40% less. Overall, ICF systems can slash a property’s final costs by as much as 75 cents per square foot.
ICF construction has numerous benefits and can make a home very energy efficient and durable. With ICF walls, a home retains heat better and a homeowner can save on heating and cooling costs as a result. IFC construction also helps better protect a home from natural disasters. Basements and flooring built and installed with ICF construction materials have benefits too, helping to lower costs and reduce the amount of space taken up by regular concrete construction.
While ICF construction can offer many benefits, there are also some disadvantages to take note of. One of the biggest is higher costs. ICF can offer some cost savings, but homeowners might end up paying as much as 10% more in construction materials and costs upfront. The number can fluctuate depending on the current price of concrete.
Another potential disadvantage of ICF is remodeling challenges. Think for example if you want to add a window to a bedroom or a door somewhere. That’s going to require cutting through concrete, which will eat up time. Making plumbing and electrical changes might also require cutting through concrete.
Depending on the size of your house, you may find that ICF construction gives you less space. ICF walls take up more space than the usual wood frame walls because they are built with several inches of insulation and concrete.
An ICF home can also be subject to a rise in humidity. This often happens because the concrete used in construction is still curing. Fully cured concrete will eventually help the home’s moisture level return to a normal level. In that interim, homeowners may have to use an air conditioner to account for the rise in humidity.
Are you thinking about ICF construction for your home. A local ICF construction company can explain how different materials are used in ICF construction, answer questions you have and give you plenty of insight into how the process works and help you determine whether ICF construction is right for your home.
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