Are you interested in a building product which has proven itself worthy from the ground up over the last two decades? In a world with high energy prices, and unsettled weather patterns, Insulated Concrete Forms are one of a handful of leading-edge building technologies that are making a difference.
Insulated Concrete Forms (ICFs) are stay-in-place formwork products that are used for cast-in-place concrete walls. ICF walls perform four critical building functions: structural support, temperature insulation, air barrier, and a vapor barrier.
ICFs are a building system that combines the energy efficiency of rigid foam sheets with the strength and soundproofing qualities of concrete. Foam takes the place of wooden forms, remaining in place after the concrete has cured. This creates a continuous layer of insulation on both interior and exterior wall surfaces, with a large thermal mass sandwiched in between.
Because of the high cost of energy, thermal efficiency is becoming more important in the design of buildings. The majority of ICF products provide a steady state static R-value of R-22. Due to the thermal mass and lower air infiltration rates, the ICF wall will perform better than its static R-value. Typical ICF buildings save as much as 50-70% on heating and cooling costs and this
translates into ongoing savings.
Concrete walls provide major strength in inclement weather to resist extreme wind loads and wind-borne debris. This is documented by tests conducted at Texas Tech University, where it was shown that a 2x4 shot out of a canon at over 100 mph was stopped by ICF walls and not by a framed wall. In the highly unusual case of a tornado hitting a residential area where the
wood framed homes were leveled, an ICF home remained structurally intact. Commercial buildings are being designed to be more open on the interior. With more open areas comes larger point loads from longer spans. The high allowable bearing strength of ICF exterior walls provides for these spans and loads.
ICFs also offer the flexibility of specifying one type of construction for both above and below grade walls. Due to concrete's inherent ability to be formed to any monolithic shape, ICF construction is a popular choice for different architectural looks and thus a primary choice for condominium developers.