How ICF Construction Can Benefit Your When Building A New Home

Posted on: 9 December 2021

Using insulated concrete forms on the construction site to create a house or building that is robust and highly energy-efficient often requires some additional heavy equipment, a strong workforce, and a lot of patience. The forms can be large and take some knowledge and training to assemble correctly before any concrete arrives on the site, but the benefits of ICF construction can quickly make it worth the effort.

Understanding Insulated Concrete Form Construction

Insulated concrete form or ICF construction uses a premade form that has expanded polystyrene insulation on either side and a void in the middle that is filled with concrete to form a wall. These walls can be interlocked to create a solid wall that is well insulated and sealed to stop air from moving through the materials. 

The system allows the contractor to assemble the forms, then pour the walls all at once. Putting the forms in place often requires some heavy equipment to lift and move large sections into position, but a good crane operator can place them precisely so the ground crew can lock them together and get them ready for concrete.

Small sections can be placed into position by hand, but if the home is going to be several stories high, the crane becomes critical to getting the forms appropriately positioned. 

Insulating Properties

The polystyrene insulation used on the inside and outside the forms creates a good barrier on both sides of the completed wall. The system can offer an incredibly energy-efficient home when combined with concrete. 

There are no thermal bridges inside the wall, and the expanded polystyrene insulation is continuous both inside and outside the wall, so when the seams are sealed correctly, there is no way for the heat or cold to penetrate the walls. Once the final siding is installed and wallboard or sheetrock added inside the structure, the system becomes even more efficient. 

Cost Of Construction

People considering ICF construction are often concerned that the cost will be much higher than standard wood construction. The additional cost is minimal in most cases, and the home's efficiency often offsets the building costs very quickly. 

The heating and cooling costs are lower, the maintenance cost is lower, and the structure's longevity can be much longer than standard construction. Because the home is not made of wood, insects and pest are often less of a problem, if at all, but the ability to remodel a wall or change a door or window location is limited. 

Before committing to this building method, take some time to discuss ICF construction with the contractor you are considering, so you are well informed and know what you are getting for your money.