Here’s some of what we’ve learned over our 25 years of experience in ICF construction and installation.
A 6-inch concrete core is approximately 10X stronger than wood. This allows a more adventurous design with the flexibility of more or larger openings and placing those openings where wood framing would make that difficult. The thickness of the wall provides the opportunity for window seating and/or other attractive architectural design features.
Wood product costs have risen exponentially over the years, whereas ICF and concrete have only risen 6-7%. Rebar has risen too, but that is only a small portion of the install. Helix is also an option where steel fibers are mixed in with the concrete, alleviating the cost of rebar labour altogether. In the Ontario Building code, rebar is not required in a single-level residential home.
Calculating the true R-value, ICF calculates at closer to R-22 whereas a wood frame is R-17. With the elimination of thermal bridging, ICF frequently achieves R-40 and upward. It is not uncommon for homeowners to see 60% energy savings on an ICF home.
ICF is weatherproof, disaster-proof, fireproof, and bulletproof. Noise from traffic, wind, rain, airplanes, and even neighbours is virtually eliminated. There are no longevity problems as with wood (wet/dry rot, termites, etc)
ICF is faster to build with than wood. A 2700 sq ft build only takes 11 days, from start to pour, including all the wall bracing, bucking, and other prep work with only a 4 man crew.
The general opinion is that building with ICF is expensive. It is simply not. The cost is comparable to that of standard wood framing (pre-pandemic pricing). Now with wood materials at an all-time high and mortgages at an all-time low, the savings is in the short term. And then the true cost savings element kicks in, with the speed of construction, the disaster-proof structure, minimal maintenance, and reduced utility and insurance bills for the long term.
ICF Decorative retaining walls are durable, cost-effective, versatile, and environmentally friendly. ICF is capable of almost any design, any slope, any curve, any angle, and the installation time is fast. Studies have shown that decorative retaining walls built with ICF can be built up to 19 times faster than your average concrete wall.
ICF pools are faster to build than concrete, fiberglass, and vinyl pools. Regular concrete pools require a lot of upkeep and can crack over time, becoming weak and susceptible to algae growth. ICF surrounds the concrete with EPS foam, creating a waterproof barrier to protect the concrete. ICF pools offer the same durability without the hassle and costly maintenance.
In addition to being economical, durable, and fast, the ICF lightweight blocks or panels are easy to lift and install in even the smallest of backyards offering many options to choose from including radius or curved panels.
ICF also offers better insulation, reducing heat loss and lower energy consumption. In-floor radiant heating can also be installed. Experts calculate that up to 80% of a pool’s heat is lost through the sides and bottom of the pool because the ground conducts heat far more efficiently than air does. Considering the surface areas involved, continuous insulation is the best choice. ICF also gives unparalleled strength to the structure so you can enjoy your pool for a lifetime.
Finishing option products make it even possible to skip the shotcrete and vinyl liners. These amazing waterproof pool finishes, in a wide range of colours, can be applied directly to ICF.
ICF pools are built faster than concrete or fibreglass and designed to last a lifetime.