ICFs speed up below-grade structures

| by David Morris
ICFs speed up below-grade structures

A basement shouldn't be a damp, scary place to store your household junk. But if it's built out of block or poured walls, it might be.

With insulated concrete forms, your basement can be additional comfortable living space that brings more value and enjoyment to your home.

Traditional methods of building basements are outdated and inefficient. Poured walls are difficult to work with and require input from lots of trades. Your job schedule will be at the mercy of the forms that may be used on another job.

With a foundation built using traditional forming methods the job may use a lot of concrete, 8 inches or more wide to meet codes.

Insulated concrete forms use less material, usually 6 inches of concrete, reducing costs. The forms are easily stacked and better yet, stay in place. The forms – made of EPS foam – provide insulation on the interior and exterior walls, and form a tight air seal as well. In fact, ICFs provide five wall layers at once: structure, insulation, fastening strips, vapor and air barrier and sound barrier. For below grade applications, an additional waterproof membrane is required.

ICFs are to cut for custom shapes, can form curved walls, and can be built on bedrock, footings, or slab-on-grade. 

Traditional basements often suffer from condensation on the inside face of the wall, creating a damp and musty condition. If moisture comes in contact with fiberglass batt insulation, the insulation absorbs the water and severely compromises the R-value. These moisture problems often remain hidden in the wall cavity, creating health hazards and high energy bills. The moisture may attract insects such as termites. 

In an ICF wall, the closed cell, inorganic EPS insulation encapsulates the foundation wall, which eliminates the potential for condensation and prohibits the growth of mold, mildew, and rot. Moisture doesn't affect the ICF, so there's no loss of R-Value, and no hidden health hazards in case water does penetrate the wall.

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: 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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