ICF construction, or Insulating Concrete Form, is a construction method that will give your structure unmatched durability and energy efficiency compared to traditional building systems. It has gained popularity amongst homebuilders and has started to become more attractive to commercial builders because of the benefits of energy efficiency, quality and structural strength.
Vertical ICF construction consists of reinforced concrete in wall slab form, like you would see in basements or foundations. However, an ICF wall slab has been designed to be lightweight and a superior insulator. The concrete used in Vertical ICF technology has a typical aggregate size of 3/8 pea gravel, allowing for smooth and trouble-free pouring and shaping.
The concrete is poured inside the insulating form, giving the walls a concrete center with two foam insulation layers. The walls have plastic ties for attaching exterior and interior finishes and treatments. The foam insulation panels are reversible and provide continuous protection. The plastic ties are mounted centrally for maximum stability during placement and are marked for visibility so ICF installers can easily find them.
ICF construction provides exceptional strength and durability compared to conventional homebuilding. In fact, a vertical ICF walls have a strength capacity up to 600% more than traditional frame walls. The superior structural integrity is due to curing the concrete in a temperature-controlled setting with a rate of very slow moisture loss within the surrounding polystyrene panels.
Some contractors offering these products will be able to have pre-assembled panels delivered to the construction site. This minimizes the cost for onsite labor. Others factors to consider when choosing a vertical ICF contractor is the shipping cost of the materials. Find a contractor who can get the materials quickly and from a nearby manufacturer and has extensive experience installing this type of energy-saving system.
There are fewer waste products associated with ICF construction, which is a good thing for the environment and the overall tidiness of the assembly area.
It is estimated that a residence or a business constructed with ICF walls can save 50% – 80% on energy costs. Heat retention with Vertical ICF technology is far greater than other types of structures, giving you an energy efficient insulation barrier. It also has a higher protection value in case of fire, floods and high winds. This can be ideal if you live in a costal area where flooding insurance coverage is denied. If you have regular homeowners insurance, your costs may decrease due to the strength of ICF (depending on your insurance company’s policies).
Vertical ICF construction is gaining popularity in residential and commercial construction. The ease of installation and the amazing benefits of having a strong, sustainable and energy-efficient structure have put this time and energy-saving construction at the forefront of green building technology.