What are Insulating Concrete Forms?
ICFs are basically forms for poured concrete walls, that stay in place as a permanent part of the wall assembly. The forms, made of foam insulation or other insulating material, are either pre-formed interlocking blocks or separate panels connected with plastic ties. The left-in-place forms not only provide a continuous insulation and sound barrier, but also a backing for drywall on the inside, and stucco, lap siding, or brick on the outside.
These are some of the photos taken at the site of the ICF home featured on the example page.
The cost of this type of construction runs about 5 to 10% more than the wood framed home, but the cost is recovered in about 4 years because of the savings in heating and air conditioning.
Peace & Quiet
The owners of this ICF home remarked on how unbelievably quiet their new house was, compared with their old stick-build home. They expect the new-found comfort and energy efficiency, but the peace and quiet – the protection from outside noise surprised and delighted them.
Concrete homes have a proven track record of withstanding the ravages of hurricanes, tornadoes and fires, when all the stick-build houses around them are in ruins.
Because of the expense of energy today it looks like this type of construction is paying off for the folks who have been building their homes this way.
(Information in part is from Portland Cement Association)
Here is the Wall Sec. used to call out the typical construction of the pictured home.