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Design Basics home design 1689 built with Reward Wall System's Insulated Concrete Forms. Design 1689 while under construction. Design 1689 while under construction. Design 1689 while under construction. Completed Design 1689 built with Reward Wall System's Insulated Concrete Forms.

Insulated Concrete Forms - ICF

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As the saying goes, "Build a better mousetrap and the world will beat a path to your door." The popularity of building
Amvic 90 degree ICF corner block.
Amvic ICF
corner form

homes with Insulated Concrete Forms (ICFs) seems to be proving the old adage true. Of course, for home builders, erecting forms and pouring concrete walls is nothing new, at least below grade. But the advent of lightweight, stackable, interlocking forms which also incorporate interior and exterior insulation has opened the market for ICFs for virtually all exterior wall applications. The list of major homeowner benefits is impressive:

 

Strength: ICF walls benefit from concrete's inherent structural qualities, particularly important in regions affected by severe weather.

 

Lower Utility Bills: The combination of a continuous concrete wall plus the integral interior and exterior insulation provides superb energy efficiency.

 

Indoor Environmental Quality: ICF's energy efficiency translates into more even, consistent temperatures throughout the home. Outdoor pollutants can be kept to a minimum - particularly important to allergy sufferers. A fresh air exchanger (strongly recommended) helps regulate humidity in the home for maximum comfort.

 

Soundproofing: With several inches of concrete sandwiched by foam insulation, ICF homes are typically quieter than neighboring homes built conventionally.

 

Design Basics home design #1689-REW built with Reward Wall System's Insulated Concrete Forms.
Home Plan #1689-REW
built with Insulated Concrete Forms.

ADAPTING HOME PLANS TO ICF CONSTRUCTION

Insulated Concrete Forms construction is compatible with virtually all home designs. Once built, ICF homes are indistinguishable from their traditionally-framed counterparts. Yet, there are some differences in building homes with ICFs.

 

The most obvious difference is the increased wall thickness. Due to the thicker exterior walls, the overall width, depth, and square footage of a home is usually increased in order to not crimp on room sizes.

 

ICFs in action. Here they are used to build the foundation, main and upper levels.

Due to increased overall dimensions, the roof system will get bigger for an ICF home. Typically, the roof geometry will stay basically the same, but the ridge heights will increase. Of course, the foundation changes as well. Additionally, wall thickness varies among ICF manufacturers. Check with the original home plan designer or architect with regard to modifying a particular set of plans to work with ICFs. Or, ask your ICF manufacturer about modifying plans for ICF construction. Many of the manufacturers have a network of designers or architects familiar with ICF building who can modify your plans. Expect to spend between $750 and $1500 to modify the plans or your local ICF distributor may be able to modify the plans for you.

 

FACTORS TO CONSIDER

Basement waterproofing materials for an ICF basement may need to be different (i.e., petroleum-based tar would melt the exterior foam on the ICF form.) Windows and doors will need to be ordered with wider jamb extensions to accommodate the increased wall thickness. Another major factor is the level of manufacturer support, including training, on-site and technical support, and marketing materials.

 

Cost

Industry estimates suggest ICF homes may cost 0 to 10% more to build, depending on the manufacturer and other factors impacting local building costs. Importantly, the increased construction costs may be offset by lower utility bills. For example, a $200,000 30-year mortgage at 7% translates to $1330 per month (P&I). If building the home using ICFs added $8,000 to the cost of the home, the monthly payment would increase to $1,383. If the energy efficiency of the ICF home reduced heating and cooling costs by an average of $53 per month, the lower utility bills cancel out the increased construction costs.

 

ANATOMY OF AN ICF PLAN CONVERSION

 

With over 2,000 home plans on our company’s website, but only 125 or so adapted for ICF construction, one of the common requests we receive is to convert traditional stick-frame homes to ICFs.

 

Read Anatomy of an ICF Plan Conversion

 

 Designs Adapted for these ICF Products

Click to view all Design Basics adapted ICF house plans.

Design Basics has over 125 home plans designed for various ICF products. Click here view all Design Basics adapted ICF house plans.

 

OR

 

Click any of the ICF Manufacturer's logos below to learn about that specific ICF brand, their product, and the home plans adapted by Design Basics for that manufacturer's ICF product.

 

ECO-Block - Changing the way we build
ECO-Block . . . changing the way you build!
Reward Wall Systems Reward Wall Systems . . . Build Different, Build Better
Arxx Building Products ARXX Building Products - Building Trust
Nudura Corporation
Nudura - Building Value
Amvic Systems
amvic - Building Possibilities
Fox Blocks, The Clever ICF Fox Blocks - The Clever ICF

 

OTHER INSULATED CONCRETE FORM RESOURCES

 

Anatomy of an ICF Plan Conversion - ICF Builder Magazine. Written by Design Basics own Paul Foresman.

 

Insulated Concrete Forms Association - ICFA

 

Concrete Homes - Portland Concrete Association

 

ICF Build Magazine - The Insulating Concrete information Source

 

 

Updated: Friday, March 28, 2014 8:49 AM

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