Advantage #5: An ICF home = a more efficiently built home
As a quick recap, we have covered how building with ICF will provide you with a warmer, healthier, more energy-efficient and stronger home. Today our topic, not to be confused with the energy efficiency we discussed in ICF Advantage #3, is going to cover how building with ICF will be a more efficient and timely build.
We understand that your time is valuable and we want to respect that by providing you with a more efficient build, while maintaining the same high-quality standards.
When building with ICF, the process is sped up by the six-in-one step process.
What exactly is the 6-step process?
Let me explain!
#1. ICF Does not require additional concrete formwork
ICF provides the formwork to hold the concrete for the concrete pour and for it to set. Unlike traditional concrete forms, Insulated Concrete Forms are never removed (allowing moisture in the concrete to slowly evaporate and for the concrete to set in ideal conditions for longer, hence becoming stronger).
#2. There are rebar reinforcement slots in the ICF blocks
The plastic ties in ICF blocks have slots to set the rebar in. Typically, rebar needs to be tied with wire to ensure it does not move when pouring concrete. Since ICF already has slots in the webs to hold rebar, you are able to save time.
Horizontal rebar is alternated on each course of the ICF block. When done properly, the vertical rebar is able to be slid between the two alternating bars. This holds the vertical rebar in place and thus does not require additional rebar ties.
#3. ICF requires no additional insulation to wall assembly
ICF blocks provide EPS styrofoam on each side of the concrete. Typical ICF systems are R12 on each side of the wall, providing effective R24. Different brands also have options for R2 - R36 and more (see post about different R-values).
#4. ICF provides a built-in exterior barrier to air and moisture
On an ICF wall, you don’t need an exterior air barrier (e.g. Tyvek). The styrofoam on the outside of the wall provides this protection on its own. Since ICF runs from the footings to the roof, it is continuous with no points that leak. When using a building wrap, the joints are often not taped and thus still allow air flow and an entrance for moisture. ICF does a better job protecting your home from air and moisture, which helps with energy efficiency, but more importantly, with moisture problems.
#5. ICF provides a built-in interior vapour barrier
Typical construction requires a plastic membrane such as a 6 mil polyethylene sheet. The idea behind this is to restrict air from leaking through exterior walls. The biggest problem with this occurs if the membrane is punctured or the joints are not sealed properly. When screwing in drywall, or inserting electrical plugs, the membrane can easily be punctured and allow air to escape.
ICF construction has styrofoam on the inside which provides a barrier and prevents air from escaping. Since the ICF foam is thick, even when screws puncture the foam or a plug is inserted and sprayed around, it does not increase the amount of air-loss.
#6. With ICF blocks, there is no need to frame interior walls
With ICF, plastic ties embedded in the ICF blocks provide the attachment point for drywall, cabinets, tv, or exterior finishes. The plastic ties are embedded into the ICF form typically ½” below the surface and marked on the surface with x’s or a series of lines or a design. The location of these ties are typically spaced at 8” and can be found with a high quality stud finder or a wall finder. Don’t worry about attaching to these plastic ties. Studies have shown that 1 single screw can hold up to 160 pounds.
What’s the takeaway?
ICF blocks make it easier and more efficient to build by providing you with six construction steps built into one ICF block. This allows you to save cost on labour, build your ICF project faster and coordinate trades more easily, all resulting in cost savings for you.
Save time by using ICF on your next build. Get a quote from us today!