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What are Insulating Concrete Forms (ICFs)?

Insulated concrete forms (ICFs) are hollow foam blocks which are stacked into the shape of the exterior walls of a building, reinforced with steel rebar, and then filled with concrete. Insulated concrete forms combine one of the finest insulating materials, Expanded Polystyrene (EPS),with one of the strongest structural building materials, steel reinforced concrete.The result is a wall system of unmatched comfort, energy efficiency, strength and noise reduction.

Insulating Concrete Forms… Easy. Affordable. Unbeatable.

The model below shows you how the outside walls of your home look when you build with ICFs. The blocks are stacked to the height of your walls, reinforced with steel rebar, filled with concrete and then brick, stucco, rock, or siding it attached to the outside. On the inside your plumbing and electrical are run through the foam itself after the walls is poured. Drywall, plaster or stucco is attached to the inside, then finished with trim, flooring, and other finishes. In the end your home looks like any other, but performs 1,000% better.

What's the difference between insulating concrete forms and insulated concrete forms?

Insulated and insulating concrete forms are the same. We generally use insulating because the insulation is continuous and ongoing throughout the life of the home.

Why Choose Insulating Concrete Forms (ICFs)? What are the advantages of an Insulating Concrete Form (ICF) home or building?

Insulated Concrete form structures are much more comfortable, quiet, and energy-efficient than those built with traditional construction methods. Use the menu on the right for more details about the advantages of insulated concrete form homes and buildings. Congratulations on deciding to build your new home. As you begin formulating the plans for your new home, there seems to be no end to the number of choices you have to make. It's natural to pour hours of time and effort into choosing the right paint, wall coverings, exterior finish and other aesthetics for your new home. But first take some time to decide what will be inside those walls.

Traditional wood-frame construction can't compare to the safety, permanence, and energy efficiency of walls built with insulating concrete forms.

A common question home buyers ask is,

"If ICFs are so great, why isn't everyone using them?"

The answer is two-part and simple:

  • First, though ICF technology has been around for years and is continually improving in both function and affordability, it's still relatively unknown to the general public and traditional homebuilders in many markets. There's no doubt you'll see more and more ICF construction as people become educated about its many benefits.
  • Second, building an ICF home ultimately benefits you, the home buyer, not necessarily the homebuilder. Obviously, a builder benefits from the increased satisfaction his customers experience with an ICF home, but that's a long-term payoff. In the short run, it costs more to build, it's less familiar to them, and frankly, it's less profitable than slapping up a good old wood frame home. So a home builder who is unfamiliar with ICFs is not going to educate you about this far superior option. However, a home builder who is experienced with ICF will vouch for the many advantages of ICFs for both builder and buyer.

Benefits of an ICF Home:

  • 30-70% savings in energy consumption and costs (good for your pocketbook and the environment)
  • Tornado, hurricane and earthquake resistant (keeping your family and belongings safe and sound)
  • 75% reduction in outside air infiltration (less dust and allergens)
  • Five times quieter than a wood-frame home
  • Building with ICFs saves at least 10 trees per home
  • ICFs can be used to build virtually any home plan, using any finish - brick, stucco, siding, and more.

Contact BuildBlock today and we'll help you locate ICF home plans, architects, builders, and everything you need to make your ICF dream home a reality!

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