Concrete has always been a popular building material, especially in the construction of commercial buildings and facilities. Recently, concrete has found growing popularity amongst residential builders who are looking to construct homes that are energy efficient and durable. Insulating concrete forms (ICFs) are plastic foam forms that hold concrete in place during the curing process. These lightweight foam forms remain in place after the curing to provide thermal insulation for the concrete walls.
Insulation values of Vertical ICF walls depend on the material used and thickness. Typical insulation values for ICF walls range from R-17 to R-26, which is much higher than the R-13 to R-19 rating for most wood-framed walls. Furthermore, Vertical ICF panelized walls are designed as reinforced concrete, making them strong, durable and able to withstand earthquakes and high winds.
Because of the high insulation value of ICF walls, there will be fewer cold spots and no air intrusion, especially on walls with no windows or doors. You can truly maximize your home’s energy efficiency by making sure your windows and doors are energy rated for top of the line insulating performance. Homeowners who live in a house built with Vertical ICF walls can have up to a 50% decrease in energy bills and will significantly lower the amount of time their HVAC system is running over homes constructed with traditional framed walls.
ICF foundations are also easier to build than traditional foundations. The insulating forms protect the concrete from rapid drying, moisture and freezing. The walls of a home built with ICF foundations are able to resist the heaviest of loads and withstand seismic activity. Using ICF technology in a foundation will also make finishing a basement much easier compared to traditional concrete masonry. Also, concrete is termite and pest resistant, and will not rot like traditional wood – allowing your ICF construction to remain durable for many, many years without replacement or major maintenance.
Vertical ICF walls are extremely lightweight and easy to implement into a construction project. Most ICF manufacturers provide contractors with bracing and alignment systems to ensure the home is erected quickly. Steel rebar is placed inside hollow cores and concrete is poured into the Vertical ICF walls. The curing of the concrete usually takes 5 to 7 days. Wall features such as siding and drywall can be added easily, and the electrical is usually run behind the wall surface into cutout grooves in the foam.
There are many advantages to building with Vertical ICF. From energy efficiency to noise reduction, durability to quick construction, insulated concrete forms will provide your family the ability to “live green” and save money in the process. Your homeowners insurance may also be discounted because of the ICF’s ability to withstand disaster-related damage. Find an experienced Vertical ICF contractor and discuss weather insulated concrete forms are right for your home.
Mr. Oliver is a marketing agent of Better Green Technologies. The eco-friendly commercial building product manufacturer offers innovative solutions that are energy-efficient for building tenants and easy to build with – products like Vertical ICF. For more information on their Vertical ICF Construction [http://www.bettergreentech.com] please visit their website.