Find the answers to these ICF questions and discover why building with insulated concrete forms is no trivial pursuit. ICFs provide a safe, durable and environmentally friendly alternative to regular building methods.
Q: What are insulated concrete forms?
A: Insulated Concrete forms are inter-locking modular units consisting of an exterior shell of Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) held together by plastic webs. The blocks are stacked and locked into place in the same way you would use Lego pieces. They are reinforced with rebar and concrete is then poured into the hollow interior. This provides interior and exterior insulation and ensures superior structural strength.
Q: Are Insulated Concrete Forms environmentally friendly?
A: You can save up to 41 trees by using concrete products to build a home. Insulated Concrete Forms provide superior insulation and reduce heating and cooling emissions by 30 – 50%. ICFs are made from 60% recycled materials. The concrete poured into the center can also be recycled. The rebar, used to reinforce the structure, is made from 99% recycled material.
Q: Will ICF construction be more expensive than timber, brick or block construction?
A: Installing ICF may add to your initial construction costs however, with a saving of between 30 – 50% on heating and cooling bills, this added expense is recovered in 3 to 4 years. Since none of the elements that comprise ICF blocks are organic, they will not encourage the growth of mould or mildew and are not subject to insect damage. This means that the homeowner will save on maintenance and repair costs in the future. Global warming has resulted in an increase of severe weather. Buildings constructed with ICF technology are better able to withstand storms and strong winds, which reduces insurance costs and keeps your family and possessions as safe as houses!
Q: Will my construction company know how to install Insulated Concrete Forms?
A: Most ICF manufacturers provide instruction manuals, technical support and training for professionals or homeowners who want to put up their own buildings. Amvic, for example, provides training, CAD details, training seminars, estimating software and testing.
Q: Are Insulated Concrete Forms strong enough?
A: ICF blocks provide a much stronger structure than other building methods. The strongest of these is the Amvic ICF block – tested by the Canadian Construction Material Center (CCMC) strength test – has a capacity of 865 lbs./ft². ICFs also reduce sound transmission by an incredible two thirds!
Q: Do Insulated Concrete Forms contain harmful elements that may compromise air quality?
A: ICFs provide superior insulation from external elements and will prevent pollens, pollutants and dust from entering your home. No CFCs, HCFCs or formaldehyde is used during manufacture and ICFs contain no asbestos.