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  1. #1
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    Default Insulated Concrete Forms

    Has anyone use these in home construction? We are looking to build and I love the idea, but is there any downsides, other than cost?

    Thanks Dan
    Dan Hayden 4 Years. 12 hives. Tx Free. USDA Zone 5b.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Insulated Concrete Forms

    I've built several homes using ICFs including one for my daughter. If I were to build a new house for myself I would use them all the way up to the roof line. If I could afford it. Great product.
    Since '09-25H-T-Z6b

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Insulated Concrete Forms

    The research I have done says it is about 5% more then stick built and you know they can't put anything on the internet that is not true.

    What have you found on additional costs?
    Dan Hayden 4 Years. 12 hives. Tx Free. USDA Zone 5b.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Insulated Concrete Forms

    I've used them several times. They work well, make a solid, tight wall, but are quite expensive. One thing I don't like about them is that they insulate the thermal mass away from the interior of the house. Another is that if you are doing anything other than a rectangle, they require quite a bit of fussing with. We once had a serious problem when concrete was mixed too wet and the aggragate dropped through the mix, resulting in a pile of gravel at the bottom of the wall. It would have been easy to miss had we not suspected a problem and dug the foam away from the bottom of the wall. A (relatively) cheaper solution is standard poured concrete with foam attached to the outside.
    Go to Heaven for the climate, go to Hell for the company. -Mark Twain

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Insulated Concrete Forms

    Anyone should seriously consider using an experienced icf specialist instead of doing it yourself BTW. The concrete mix issue really doesn't have anything to do with the type of forms. Just sayin'.
    Since '09-25H-T-Z6b

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Insulated Concrete Forms

    Quote Originally Posted by David LaFerney View Post
    The concrete mix issue really doesn't have anything to do with the type of forms. Just sayin'.
    I totally agree, just pointing out an issue we had. In a conventional wall, it would have been obvious as soon as the forms were off. It was a house for lawyers, very bad day for the concrete company.
    Go to Heaven for the climate, go to Hell for the company. -Mark Twain

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Insulated Concrete Forms

    Bad day for everyone I would think. I would expect that the concrete supply would have some kind of standard "our liability extends only to the cost of the material we supply" boilerplate in the delivery invoice that you sign before they start unloading - unless Ohio has a regulation against it. Which they should IMO - common law should be that anything sold has an implied warranty to be suitable for it's intended purpose and incurs liability for any related harm done if it is not. In other words if you used Chinese drywall in good faith the liability for the ruined house should go back to whoever made the defective product. Either way only the lawyers come out ahead.

    I do not miss it.
    Since '09-25H-T-Z6b

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Insulated Concrete Forms

    It was quite ugly. Long story short, concrete truck driver admitted to "helping out" by taking it on himself to wet down the mix. He got fired. They had to pay us to cut out and replace a big section of wall. Homeowners wanted the entire basement replaced. Hard feelings, 2 week delay in all.
    Go to Heaven for the climate, go to Hell for the company. -Mark Twain

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Insulated Concrete Forms

    Quote Originally Posted by cg3 View Post
    I've used them several times. They work well, make a solid, tight wall, but are quite expensive.
    How much more than a 2x6 exterior wall?
    Dan Hayden 4 Years. 12 hives. Tx Free. USDA Zone 5b.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Insulated Concrete Forms

    My info would be out-of-date. But lots. One problem we had was getting a good price on the steel here in a rural area. The house I mentioned earlier used a whole semi load and it was half what we paid locally for a smaller job.
    Go to Heaven for the climate, go to Hell for the company. -Mark Twain

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Insulated Concrete Forms

    Quote Originally Posted by RiodeLobo View Post
    How much more than a 2x6 exterior wall?
    Apples and oranges, though. Sort of getting what you pay for.
    Go to Heaven for the climate, go to Hell for the company. -Mark Twain

  12. #12
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    Massillon, Ohio
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    Default Re: Insulated Concrete Forms

    When I worked for a concrete admixture company I was involved in building a few of these homes for "Habitat for Humanity" in Virginia. Identical homes were built in pairs, stick built and ICF, side by side. Utility bills were monitored and recorded for the first few years after completion and the savings with ICF was astounding. The increase in initial construction costs range anywhere from 5 - 20% higher than stick built, but it pays for itself in a very short time with saving in utilities.

    ICF structures should "always" be left to the professionals. It is an absolute must to have training and experience with the types of concrete mix designs used, and critical to completely understand the correct procedures for erecting and pouring the walls. This is not something to be attempted by amateurs.
    To everything there is a season....

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Insulated Concrete Forms

    You can accomplish outstanding energy efficiency with more conventional construction as well - using systems like air tight drywall but it takes a contractor who really cares and wants to do what it takes to get the results - which is not an easy thing to find. Probably the next best way to get a very tight, very well insulated house is to use sprayed in foam insulation - which is also not cheap, and it won't stop a bullet like an ICF house - for what that is worth.

    Here's a tip - no matter what system you use as soon as the drywall ceiling is hung and taped climb up into the attic and everywhere you see light seal it up with great stuff - including any recessed fixtures. It only takes a few minutes but you only have the window of opportunity between the drywall going up and the attic insulation going in. Do it yourself - no one else will care as much as you do.
    Since '09-25H-T-Z6b

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Insulated Concrete Forms

    Another must for a very tight house is an air-to-air heat exchanger.
    Go to Heaven for the climate, go to Hell for the company. -Mark Twain

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