ICFs can cost less than traditional construction

| by David Morris
ICFs can cost less than traditional construction

One of the questions we always hear is, how much does an ICF home cost? Of course, the answer is it depends on the house. Keep in mind that in the total cost of ownership of a new home, the construction cost is actually lower than the cost of living in the home. That means utilities, insurance, maintenance and taxes add up to a lot of money over 20 to 30 years.

A few years ago, research from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development found that ICF construction cost about 3 to 5 percent more than a typical new home and land, or about 5 to 10 percent of house-only construction costs.

That's changing now. As more builders become familiar with ICF construction, they will not raise the prices to cover their learning curve. And more competition means ICF producers will be holding their prices in line.

The HUD research found that most trades don't charge more for working on an ICF home. In some cases, there may be some small additional expenses, but the contractors adjust to remain competitive.

When you're comparing costs, it's important to make sure you're looking at the full picture. An ICF home will be more expensive than a basic code-built home. Remember, that's the worst home you can legally build.

Upgrading a wood-frame home to insulation and airtightness levels of an ICF home will require additional investment, closing the gap considerably.

If you're building a home in an area prone to high winds, the structural safety from ICF construction may be the cheaper route. A typical wood-frame structure requires more costly upgrades for compliance in a high wind area. On the other hand, an ICF residence will need little if any upgrading to comply with the same high wind requirements.

In addition to a home that can stand up to Mother Nature, an ICF dwelling will have lower energy costs and possibly lower insurance premiums depending on where it's located.

While an ICF home may cost a few dollars more to purchase, the long-term savings and other benefits make it a smart investment.

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, 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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