ICF construction has been around since the 1970s, but it is only in recent years that the material has truly found a market. Today, it is used in both residential and commercial construction, and it is forecasted to enjoy a wider reception in the years to come.
What is the fuss really all about, though, and why is the material worthy of your consideration if you are intending to build a home or a commercial property soon? Let’s go over some of the Frequently Asked Questions about ICFs.
What is it made of?
Insulating concrete forms are hollow foam blocks that are made of expanded polystyrene and reinforced steel reinforced concrete. They are available in two forms: pre-formed interlocking blocks or separate panels.
Is it safe to live or work under polystyrene and readymixed concrete?
Some people think it is not only odd to live or work in a property that is framed with ICFs, it can be downright dangerous. But this could not be further from the truth. In fact, several laboratory-controlled tests have confirmed that ICF-framed properties outperform homes and buildings made from traditional framing materials and methodologies.
ICFs provide continuous insulation on both sides of the walls of your homes or commercial properties. In addition, they serve as a backing for the drywall, stucco, lap siding, and bricks of properties.
What are some of the advantages that it offers?
Glad you asked. ICF construction offers a lot of promising rewards to property owners, the first of which is reduced energy consumption. Homes and buildings with ICFs can look forward to as much as twenty-five percent of energy savings every year from heating and cooling costs, because of the superior insulating properties of the material.
Also, ICFs can withstand a lot of external conditions. These include fire, storms, high winds, and even earthquakes. They also make for quieter and more comfortable homes, as their construction methodology curbs thermal bridging while providing a great sound barrier.
Are there any disadvantages?
As with all types of materials, ICFs also come with their share of disadvantages. But the good news is these are very manageable, and can be mitigated with the right measures. The first is that on-site construction with ICF requires more specialised knowledge, which means your contractor or builder must have the necessary training in its proper installation.
ICFs also come with higher initial costs, compared to wood-framed houses and buildings. But with their cost benefits, the initial purchase will be offset greatly during the lifespan of the material.