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Insulating Concrete Forms Essay

1057 words - 4 pages

INSULATING CONCRETE FORMS ICFs (Insulating Concrete Forms), the new wave of the millennium. All in all, there are over 40 different brands sold in North America. These lightweight foam blocks or panels can be stacked into shape to create the exterior of basements, homes, and low-rise commercial buildings. ICFs have been proven to be very economical. They show this by being more energy efficient, stronger, quieter, and more comfortable than the traditional home. The process is fairly easy also, first the foam forms are set in place and reinforced with rebar. Most ICFs are set in place by dry laid courses with quick snapping rebar placement. Then the forms are ready for alignment. Some certain ICFs require that you use a WASS (a wall alignment scaffolding system). Once they are aligned, the forms are ready for the concrete, which is usually poured using a pump truck for even pours. After the walls have set up, the outside is ready for siding, stucco is a very popular method that can be put directly on the foam, which can make the finishing process even faster. The siding is to be screwed directly to the ICFs. (Screws are required). Inside the foam, is high impact plastic strips, used as studs. The walls on the inside are also ready for whatever you want to use, (drywall, etc.) because the plastic strips are on the inside too. Masonry is also popular choice for ICF home builders. Most ICF companies have certain foam forms that make it possible for a brick ledge. At first when one looks at ICFs, you might think that the price is quite high, but ICFs have become a very cost effective way to build. A home basement typically costs about 15-20% more than say a poured concrete basement, but if it is finished, it is about the same price. If you were to build a 2" x 6" insulated wall, it would compare to be about the same price. Another main reason why the price equals out is because of reduced energy costs. When building, ICFs reduce wall construction and insulating time by 2/3 to ¾. This also comes in on the builders side, ICFs can be used for almost any design or project, they reduce costs and building time. Better for the builder and the owner. A important point is that the finish product integrates form work, insulation, studs/strapping, vapor barriers, air barriers, and sheeting into one cost and time efficient building system. But after all, the total price could vary from 1-5%, for number of different reasons. The insulating value of the concrete block wall is approximately: R2.5, where the value of most ICFs is R20+. Therefor if you have a heated basement, your heat loss is going to be considerably reduced with the ICFs. See pic1, This picture illustrates how many...

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