Advantage #4: ICF Construction = A Stronger Home
Building an ICF basement or house with ICF to the trusses will provide a stronger home compared to traditional builds. The concrete-filled ICF provides a stronger foundation and a stronger wall than a typical wood-framed build.
ICF vs. Wood Construction
In a conventional wood-framed house, you could sustain damage that causes cracks in the wood, which could lead to more problems, such as water leaking in.
Sound problematic? It is!
Let me explain.
In a conventional wood-framed house, the walls are formed with studs at 16” on center and covered with ⅜” plywood. This means that during storms, if your walls were hit, they could easily puncture and sustain damage as ⅜” plywood is drastically weaker than ICF (which is composed of 6” of reinforced concrete).
The good news? ICF is much stronger!
Building with ICF, therefore, is the method of choice for building homes that are not as susceptible to natural disasters such as tornadoes, hurricanes and earthquakes.
More good news?
ICF walls are also stronger because they do not deteriorate due to mould caused by moisture problems and will not be eaten by certain insects or pests (e.g. carpenter ants, termites) the way that a wooden frame would.
If you look at ancient Roman buildings, all the wooden components have long since deteriorated and all that is left is concrete or stone.
An ICF Basement vs. A Traditional Concrete Basement
In the winter, an ICF build will cure better than a traditional build. The reason behind this is that concrete needs to remain at a warm temperature long enough to cure and this is exactly what the insulated concrete forms allow.
There are two ways that ICF creates the warmer environment necessary for concrete to cure. First, it has EPS insulation on each side of the concrete to keep the heat in. Second, because ICF maintains the heat for the concrete to cure properly, it also allows the process of hydration to occur longer. This chemical reaction occurs when concrete sets and subsequently creates heat.
Studies have shown that even when ICF is poured at subzero temperatures, the concrete will stay above zero* for the minimum required time to cure properly.
*Please note: This is achieved by how we (ICForming) complete the build - with proper ICF installation and covering of the walls and windows with tarps during the curing process.
An ICF build will also be stronger than a traditional concrete build because the ICF blocks are never removed. This allows the moisture in the concrete to slowly evaporate, providing concrete the moisture it needs to set in ideal conditions for longer.
In a traditional build, the wooden forms are typically removed the next day. This exposes concrete to the elements, such as the wind, heat or cold and could cause concrete to dry too quickly and crack. This can also create weaker concrete or more areas that allow water to enter.
The takeaway? ICF will provide you with a much stronger home than a traditional build!
Curious to see proof?
Check out this ICF home that was hit by 2 hurricanes and survived!
Or this ICF beach house in Mexico that withstood a hurricane, while the entire neighborhood was demolished!