Insulated Concrete Forms Benefits and Cost

ICF Homes in Fort Walton Beach have been on the rise lately, and as a construction company it is easy for us to see why.

We know what an ICF Home is, and the pros and cons that go along with it. But do you?

What Is An ICF Home?

Before we go into what it is, you need to know that ICF stands for Insulated Concrete Forms.

It’s a foamwork for concrete that stays in place as permanent building insulation for walls, floors, and roofs.

So now that you know what it stands for, let’s go ahead and say it: An ICF Home is a solid, concrete home.

It’s very common for people to confuse ICF Homes with prefabricated or modular homes. No matter what you have heard here is the truth:

ICF is built on site and to the specs with individual blocks. Prefab or modular homes are brought in on trucks and then put together.

ICF Homes are the best, because of the build, efficiency, and strength. And by strength we mean shear wall strength over 200 mph winds.

The Build:

The ICF block wall is a total of 12” thick which includes 7” of solid concrete, and 2.5” of foam on each side.

The foam is for insulation and sound. It also creates the building process for stacking the blocks. Think of it in terms of legos.

With a 12” block, 7” of solid concrete, and 2.5” of foam on each side, that makes for some really good insulation.

Just how good? Well, insulation levels are measured by an R-value. According to Energy Star, R-Value is a measure of insulation’s ability to resist heat traveling through it. The higher the R-Value the better the thermal performance of the insulation.

ICF blocks have an R25 value without the concrete. If you were to add the concrete it would push the rating up to around R50.

Your typical well-insulated stick frame homes at their best would rate R10. And the average 2×4 home has a R6 – R7 rating.

The Efficiency:

ICF Homes are the most energy efficient homes that you can have. It’s a true money saver in the form of cheaper insurance, and lower power bills.

Try not to think of this as “just a home”, because it’s truly and investment. While the typical building cost is more, it can make you money in the long run.

The savings you will receive on your insurance and power bills combined can pay for it in 8-10 years, depending on home size.

ICF Homes have longevity and hold value better than a stick frame homes

Pros of ICF Homes:

Although everything you’ve read up to this point has been a “pro”, there are a few others.

With ICF homes you are not limited to finishes. You can do

  • Brick
  • Stucco
  • EIFS
  • Vinyl siding
  • Hardi board siding

Most builders are having issues with keeping the hardi board flat and straight on ICF homes. This is not an issue for us. We do not add extra furring strips or wall sheeting to make it flat. We have found a way that most others over look and it has worked perfectly.

Cons of ICF Homes:

There are some cons with ICF Homes, but they are definitely not deal breakers.

Running plumbing on exterior walls is possible, but difficult.

To cut down on costs, we recommend that you run them on interior walls. As long as they are placed right, there are no issues running plumbing on interior walls.

Another thing to keep in mind with ICF is that it does take longer to build. While every situation is different, the build is typically 2-3 weeks longer.

The primary reason for this is the concrete cure times.

If you are thinking building a home, or shopping for a new one, ICF is a great choice. Let us show you how we can save you money, so you can be comfortable with your investment.