Build a stronger foundation using ICFs

The foundation of every house is essential in the transfer of the structural load of the building to the ground.  The foundation will ensure that it will load the bearing surface at a uniform rate so as to prevent unequal settlement, to prevent the lateral movement of the supporting material and to secure a level and firm bed for building operations. This will increase the stability of the structure as a whole.

When determining the best foundation system to use for your home, it is critical to take into consideration the type and bearing capacity of the soil it is to be built on, settling, water and frost. Simply put, the foundation is what supports everything. So getting the foundation right will go a long way toward having a sound and stable home for many years.

ICF Foundation: Concrete foundations were historically constructed by pouring concrete into temporary forms, which are removed when the concrete is cured. When built with Insulated Concrete Forms (ICFs), foundation forms remain in place and provide insulation on each side of the concrete with integrated framing incorporated within the form itself. The combination of mass and thermal insulation also adds a vapour and air barrier into the wall. An effective ICF form provides 5 components of a typical wall; structure, insulation, framing, vapor and air barriers. ICFs are green building certified, help minimise waste and are environment friendly.

Why build an ICF foundation?

  • Your basement will feel cool in the summer and warm in the winter.
  • You will have the space available for expanding without the cost of adding more structure.
  • Your outside basement walls will be ready for drywall. No framing, insulation or vapor barrier needed
  • One trade does it all. No bricklayers, water proofers, farmers or insulation companies.
  • It can be done under adverse weather conditions.Concrete can be poured below freezing temperatures as it cures between two pieces of insulation and does not freeze.
  • Much faster time of construction. In most of the cases analyzed, ICF saved over 50% of the time needed to achieve the same result.

ICF Foundation for Homes on a sloped grade with a walkout design:

Some house sites are located on a sloped grade that lends themselves to walkout designs. ICF is a very effective forming material in this application.

Traditional Foundation for a sloped grade: In a traditional approach you would have to pour a foundation (stepped), then come back and stick frame all the way up to the sill height. You would have to insulate your knee walls, frame interior walls, you could have stud walls and concrete walls with different thicknesses that you would have to blend, you would very likely have wood framing that is close to finish grade and would have to “step” your finish grade up and down to avoid burying the wood.  And after all of this, you would still have to insulate the concrete portion to at least R-15 to meet the minimum energy code requirement, R-20 if you insulate entirely on the interior.  Now that’s a lot of work! If you take the time to put an honest value on all the tasks just referenced, what’s the scarcest commodity?  Labor and you would have used a bunch of it.

ICF Foundation/Basement for a sloped grade: Consider an Amvic Plus ICF form for your foundation, poured right up to the sill height. You would then be able to start your floor frame on top of the wall elevation. It’s so simple; Build your door and window bucks to accommodate the brand of your choice and build them into the wall as you come up from the footing. The Amvic Plus forms are so robust that you can pour 10′, 12’or 14′ walls with frost walls included. You can then proceed to screw drywall to your interior, place doors, windows, siding on your exterior. The ICF form ensures that your walls are one consistent thickness. You can then backfill with a consistent slope from front to back; no retaining walls or boulders required to accommodate stick framed knee walls.  There is no wood to close to grade and subject to decay and your entire foundation would be insulated and to an R-30 rating! Thus your customer gets a better value, and you as a contractor, if you put your estimator hat on and assess your costs, you would end up saving a lot on labor and material expenses and definitely would have sped up your construction schedule.  

In essense, using ICF for your home foundation and basement not only gives you the most superior structual strength and insulation but makes very good construction and business sense.


ICF Applications, ICF Construction, Residential Buildings

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