INSULATED CONCRETE FORMS (ICF)
Living in Canada means being subjected to some of Earth’s most fierce elements. Insulated Concrete Forms – more widely known by its acronym I.C.F. – is the solution to many of those common problems. In a nutshell, ICF is a polystyrene substrate that forms a mould in which to pour a specialized mix of concrete. This technology has been around since the 1970’s; however, was primarily used within the commercial industry. As harsher climates are becoming increasingly pronounced, it is becoming more-and-more important to protect your investment than ever before. Let’s delve into some of the pro’s and cons of this technology.
- The interior of the home remains cooler during summer months, and retains heat during the winter over a wood-framed home, which is a direct result of thermal envelope generated by ICF.
- The cost of heating and cooling an ICF home is reduced substantially.
- Reinforced concrete is a superior product against strong winds like hurricanes and tornado’s, thus minimizing damage.
- A home designed with ICF can withstand heavy flooding. Weak-points will be where basement exit doors or windows are located if implemented in design.
- An ICF home is the best option against forest-fires if building in an area susceptible. Most ICF polystyrene insulation products contain a fire-retardant surrounding the exterior of the home. Utilizing exterior concrete-fibre siding will also further protect the home.
- An ICF home will reduce the overall cost of insurance premiums.
- Most ICF polystyrene is made with recycled styrofoam, thus reducing landfill waste.
- Lower energy bills as a result of an ICF home reduces your environmental footprint. Adding Solar-panels and LED lighting will further decrease the overall footprint, while generating excess electricity for the grid can earn kick-backs – depending on your build location.
- The cost to build the home is more expensive than a typical wood-framed home being that it is solid concrete, rebar, and labour intensive.
- It is very difficult to move windows and doors (not impossible) following the pour of the concrete.
- Requires a special certification for builders to construct, which can add time and finances to the overall build.
- A fully enclosed ICF structure requires a proper Heating, Ventilating, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) system for habitation.
If we missed something, please let us know.