Why Build ICF?
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on ICF Concrete Walls
stands for Insulating or Insulated Concrete Forms. Basically, these are
stay-in-place concrete forms used to build exterior walls of homes or
buildings. The forms consist of a middle section, which many times
houses metal webs used to stabilize and strengthen the concrete that
will eventually be poured into this section to fill all gaps. Each side
of the form, which will ultimately be the interior and exterior of the
walls, consists of insulating material. Many times this insulator is
two to four inches of foam insulation. So, in the finished product,
your exterior walls have a concrete core wrapped with insulating foam.
are most often used for exterior walls only. There are a few reasons
for this. First, there is not a need for thick, insulating interior
walls. Second, if you want to reconfigure interior walls, this would be
a huge chore if your walls were reinforced concrete. There has been a
trend, however, in building a "safe room" on the interior of a home or
office which is housed by concrete walls on each side. This room can be
used for a storm shelter or safe haven like that in the movie, Panic
can be applied below or above grade. They can also be used in
misconception about ICF systems is in how the final product looks.
Since ICFs stay in place, there will be a need for siding, brick, rock,
etc. on the exterior and drywall on the interior. The final product is
a home that looks like a traditional home, if the home builder so
chooses to finish it out that way.
of ICF Systems to the Homeowner
Efficiency - The most common sited benefit of ICF wall systems is that
it is superior in energy efficiency. Not only does it keep the cold or
hot outside air from coming in, it keeps your air conditioned or heated
air from going out. Suddenly, your air conditioner and heater barely
have to run to keep your interior air at your optimal temperature. What
does this mean for you? You can save 50-80% on your energy bill,
depending on the doors, windows, roofing, etc.
- ICF wall systems are rated to withstand extreme weather conditions,
including tornados and hurricanes. They can endure winds in excess of
140 miles per hour. In addition, they are rated safe for earthquake
zones (up to zone 4), as well.
- These walls will not settle, crack, warp, rot, mildew, rust of even
vibrate when you slam a door. They do not provide food for insects
(like termites, for example), mold, or vermin.
- Quiet -
ICF wall systems decrease the amount of sound that comes in from the
outside by over half. It is the quietest building material on the
- ICF wall systems result in an even temperature distribution
throughout the house from floor to ceiling. There is less than two
degrees Fahrenheit variation in an ICF home, compared to conventional
homes that vary anywhere from five to ten degrees Fahrenheit. According
to ASHRAE (American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air
Conditioning Engineers) points to uneven temperature distribution as a
leading factor in people feeling uncomfortable. The "feel" of an ICF
home is unsurpassed in comfort.
Air - ICF systems prevent draft and air infiltration, meaning they
prevent airborne contaminants. This is great for a homeowner because
not only does it reduce allergens but dust, as well.
- Aside from it reducing energy consumption due to heating and cooling,
it also reduces construction waste. Each and every form will remain on
the home or building. There is no construction waste resulting from
this system whatsoever aside from the small amounts of packaging. So,
not only are they a pleasure to you, but they are a benefit to the
Retardant - ICF systems can resist fires for up to four hours. Even
when it starts to burn, the smoke is less toxic than burning wood.
Proof - Standing behind a concrete wall will shield you from any flying
objects, including bullets. Sure, the chances are slim, but this is an
Premium Reductions - Many insurance companies offer a premium reduction
for homes with ICF system walls.
Against ICF Systems
- Cost Too
Much - The ICF systems cost anywhere from one to five percent more than
conventional framing. However, with energy savings, in addition to
premium savings, this extra construction cost is paid off rather
quickly. Also, costs associated with ICF systems are about the same as
"super-insulated" framing or advanced framing techniques, yet ICF
systems outperform these other systems in energy efficiency, strength,
durability, comfort, and indoor air quality.
in Options - Absolutely not! Forms are made for all sorts of shapes and
sizes. Arches, curved walls, odd angles, etc. are all possible with ICF
systems. If your builder says it isn't possible, insist they look at
different form manufacturers or switch to a builder that can do these
things for you. Also, these walls are great for high ceilings and
with Home Size - This one holds some weight. Concrete walls make it
more difficult to add on to an existing concrete home. However, it
definitely can be done.
- Ugly -
The ICF walls are faces with traditional building materials, including
brick, rock, siding, drywall, etc. Therefore, you cannot tell the
difference between ICF walls and traditional walls aside from wall
- Too Air
Tight - Because the ICF wall systems are so air tight, it may be
necessary to install air exchangers and/or humidity regulating systems.
This allows you to still enjoy an allergen-less, dust-less home.
Build in Cold Temperatures - Wrong. The insulating foam actually allows
you to build in cold weather. Also, in Texas, any temperature is
suitable for building these walls. The only time you might consider
time of year is in sub-arctic areas where temperatures get extremely
Floor Plan Options - Wrong again. You can take any floor plan and have
it engineered for ICF wall systems. Also, there are many floor plans
available that are already engineered for ICF systems.
a Price Quote on ICF Concrete Walls
specializes in ICF Concrete Walls all
over the DFW metroplex, including Dallas, Fort Worth, Arlington, Plano,
Irving, Carrollton, Richardson, Denton, Garland, Grand Prairie,
Addison, Allen, Azle, Bedford, Benbrook, Burleson, Cleburne,
Colleyville, Cedar Hill, Coppell, Corinth, DeSoto, Duncanville, Ennis,
Euless, Farmers Branch, Flower Mound, Frisco, Haltom City, Highland
Village, Hurst, Keller, Lewisville, Mansfield, Midlothian, North
Richland Hills, Southlake, The Colony, University Park, Watauga,
Weatherford, White Settlement, and surrounding towns and
cities. Curious if you are within our scope?