What are pros and cons of insulated concrete forms ( ICFs ) ?
When building with Insulated Concrete Forms (ICFs), foundation forms remain in place and provide insulation on each side of the concrete.
There are two main parts to an ICF: expanded polystyrene for the insulation and webs or cross ties that are usually made of polypropylene plastic.
The high quality of the buildings as well as the lengthy benefits associated with ICF have made the general public become more familiar with this noteworthy building technique.
the pros and cons of insulated concrete forms (ICFs) ?
Next to their energy efficiency, ICF homes are extremely wind-resistant and fire. due to the strength of the concrete.
ICFs can withstand the most seismic forces, and are water-resistant and with a long lifespan.
Since each form interlocks with one another, you can easily stack them in whatever shape needed.
Moisture-resistant and non-absorbent.
One of the most impressive characteristics insulated concrete forms have is their ability to significantly reduce a building’s costs.
Being incredibly energy efficient, ICF homes can easily achieve an ‘A’ rating.
Owners of ICF buildings have experienced as much as a 60% reduction in their energy bills as a result of the system.
ICFs is excellent for a moderate or a hot climate, but not for cold climates and very energy efficient buildings.
ICFs are so airtight that leaks simply don’t occur.
Stabilizes temperature and reduces sound
With layers of materials, ICFs can serve as sound barriers for the interior of the building from outside noises.
The insulating foam from an ICF wall helps in stabilizing temperatures, eliminating cold spots from frame walls between insulation gaps and around the studs.
The combination of the Nexcem and the concrete, which acts as a sound barrier, results in a very quiet home.
in colder climates, the standard ICF insulation value falls very short of the best.
Standard wood framed walls have a Sound Transmission Class (STC) rating of 33-38, whereas an ICF home has a consistent STC rating of 54, which means that even shouting is not heard outside of the ICF walls.
Takes up Floor Space
ICF walls are thicker than the others. ICF walls consist of several inches of rigid foam insulation and reinforced concrete, which means they take up more space than traditional wood frame walls.
ICF Walls Are Thicker = Reduced Overall Interior Space Dimensions)
One major cons to insulated concrete forms is the cost. You pay 5 to 10 percent more in construction costs than you would for a traditional wood-frame house.
the average total cost using ICF forms is around 15-20% more than traditional stud framing.
You can increase the insulating value (R-value) of ICF walls by gluing additional rigid foam insulation to the forms. The only problem: the cost.
when it comes to cost, an air exchange system in an air tight ICF home isn’t optional.
With ICF, very little to no maintenance is required to maintain the home. The structural stability of an ICF home means all future problems are prevented and the home maintains its original condition naturally throughout its lifespan.
the installation is a little trickier than the others.
ICF units are incredibly light weight compared to a conventional concrete CMU block. They are also roughly (6) times larger than one CMU block.
Even in winter conditions, you don’t need to install exterior cladding; once the building is enclosed, interior work can be done.
While ICFs are growing in popularity, in some areas there can still be a lack of ICF-friendly installers (as well as plumbers, HVAC companies, …).