1. What are Insulated Concrete Forms (ICF’s)?
ICF’s are forms made of expanded polystyrene with a polypropylene web for placement of resteel(rebar). Walls are built according to your architectural design. The forms are assembled with rebar and concrete is then placed into the core. The forms remain in place, providing interior and exterior insulation along with fastening surfaces for the inside and outside wall finishes.
2. What types of construction can they be used for?
Some of the applications include: frost walls, foundation walls, grade beams, storm shelters, demising walls, retaining walls, wine rooms, cold storage wall areas, panic rooms, slab on grade walls, non-load bearing walls on post-tensioned floor slabs, and single story to multi-story walls.
3. Can any residential or commercial design be adapted to ICF construction?
Absolutely – whatever you can build with conventional wood or typical formed concrete can be built with ICF Forming Systems. Structural steel can be adapted to ICF – including curved/radius walls and open floor plans.
4. Will an ICF building be healthy and comfortable to live and work in?
Since your building will be virtually airtight - noise, dust, pollution and allergens are blocked out. This creates a much healthier, cleaner environment. An air exchanger is recommended to work with the heating and air conditioning systems.
5 What cost savings are reflected generally on energy bills?
You can save 50% to 80% on your heating and cooling costs. Factors such as the number and type of windows, roof structure, mechanical system and geographical location help determine the amount of cost savings.
6. Are there any other cost savings to be had by using ICF technology?
Yes. You can downsize your mechanical systems (furnace, boiler, fireplace for example) by approximately 30% To 50% . You also do not require to insulate the inside ICF walls, interior air or vapour barrier is not required, installing wood or metal stud walls against ICF walls are not required. The drywall fastens directly onto the ICF wall surface. Insurance may also be more cost effective due to the superior strength of the structure and the excellent fire rating – 3 to 4 hours.
7. How do Electrical and Plumbing integrate into the ICF system?
Very easily. The ICF block is designed to meet all building codes to accommodate the electrical and plumbing components. Channels or grooves are cut directly into the forms with the use of a small, modified chain saw or a hot knife. There should be no up charge for the trades to work with
iCF technology, in fact, most trades find their labour costs have reduced.
8. How are the doors and windows installed?
A wooden or vinyl PVC buck is built and incorporated into the ICF wall as it is being assembled prior to the concrete placement. Once the concrete is cured, the doors and windows are installed to these bucks as per window the manufactures requirements.
9. How are the walls braced and supported during construction of the ICF Walls?
There is a specialized bracing and scaffolding system that is used as the walls are built. This bracing system ensures that your walls remain straight, square, plumb and level after the concrete placement.
10. Do I need a Certified Professional Installer to build the ICF system?
Yes – most City Building Inspectors and Rural Municipalities now require proof of an installer’s experience and certification with ICF construction - this is for your benefit and protection.