Builders shift from poured walls to ICFs for basements

| by David Morris
Builders shift from poured walls to ICFs for basements

While poured walls are still the most common system basement walls, insulated concrete forms are gaining ground in many areas.

Homebuyers and builders are discovering the benefits for ICF basements. For a poured walls basement, the contractor must erect the forms, fill them, wait for them to cure, and then remove the forms. Then, the contractor must add insulation, vapor and water barriers and other details.

By contrast, ICFs are interlocking EPS foam blocks, strengthened with rebar and filled with concrete. The foam forms can be stacked quickly and stay in place after the concrete is poured, so installation is quicker than framing walls. The foam adds insulation layers inside and outside the home. For colder climates, additional insulation may be required, or forms with thicker foam can be used.

For the interior walls ICFs must be covered with a fire barrier, usually half-inch gypsum board. The ICFs typically have fastening strips embedded in them to hang interior and exterior finishes.

Below-grade applications will require an extra moisture barrier such a foundation wrap, peel-and-stick moisture barriers or damp-proofing applications.

Traditional poured wall or block basements suffer from condensation on the inside face of the wall creating a damp and musty condition. However, homeowners who have an ICF basement tell us the temperature is stable year around. The basement air is dry with no musty, moldy feeling associated with it.

Builders can deliver basements that work and feel better by using ICFs for the wall systems.

This blog was developed by Fox Blocks. All posts, sponsored and un-sponsored have been reviewed and approved by the Sustainable Community Media Editorial Team to ensure quality, relevance/usefulness and objectivity.

Topics: Building Green, Foundations, Insulated Concrete Forms - ICF

Companies: Fox Blocks

David Morris
A Detroit native, David T. Morris, LEED® Green Associate, used his drive for entrepreneurship, innovation & new product development to develop a patented product and later took a new building product to market. In 2012, he became U.S. East Regional Manager with Fox Blocks, a division of Airlite Plastics Company, managing ICF sales in seven states. Since 2006, David has delivered more than 140 IFA/ICF training seminars to contractors, plus another 120 presentations to architects and engineers. He is a featured speaker and SME on High-Performance Buildings, and his efforts have resulted in environmentally friendly construction being specified for residential, commercial, and institutional buildings throughout the country.

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