Insulated concrete forms or ICFs are lasting forms of concrete created by pouring concrete between two layers of insulation. Currently, the use of insulated concrete forms for residential and commercial wall construction has become prevalent. This is because of the strength and energy efficiency of ICFs. Connecting panels with plastic ties will result in ICFs forming permanent walls.
Notably, ICFs will inevitably take center stage, hence replacing masonry and wood. In addition to its insulating property, insulated concrete forms provide interior drywall backing and interior lap siding.
The minimum, Insulated Concrete Forms, will achieve is a solid R17 plus wall with adequate insulation on both sides. Additionally, the characteristics of the blocks and panel allow for attaching interior and exterior finishes. Also, ICFs can let in mechanical runs, for example, wiring and pipes, without cutting into the solid concrete core. However, it is crucial to run pipes through the walls before placing concrete.
As the name implies, insulating concrete forms, its main property is providing permanent insulation for concrete walls. ICFs eliminate the need to install insulation after the removal of forms, in some residential structures.
The use of insulated concrete forms is not limited to the small or moderate structure. However, for large structures, careful structural engineering design is imperative.
ICFs are very beneficial to the construction industry. Some of its benefits are;
– ICF structures are beautiful
– ICF buildings are Secure and Serene
– ICF is Energy Efficient and Durable
The design for ICFs is not limited to any style. Therefore, it will accept traditional exterior finishes, like, siding, stucco, or block. Together with the numerous useful parts of insulated concrete form buildings, consider the idea of adding sheer aesthetic prowess that can. A structural engineer can flex his/her artistic muscles when designing ICF buildings. Church building roofs, tall walls, and huge openings are only a portion of the alternatives accessible. Since concrete can take any shape or frame, it can make a wide variety of bends and angles.
The enormous concrete walls of insulated concrete form buildings give an unsurprising feel of security for your family. Concrete has a demonstrated record of withstanding the attacks of wind, tornadoes, and fires. Sound transmission test results show that insulated concrete form walls permit lower than 33 percent of sound to pass through it. With double coated windows and quality rooftop protection, you will be safe from street or traffic noises, all of which vanishes behind your insulated concrete structure blind of serenity.
The Energy saving ability of insulated concrete forms is top-notch. An ICF building is not affected by outdoor temperature differences, because of the thickness, or thermal mass, of the wall. The insulation property of foam is high; therefore, combining foam and ICF will result in little or no air infiltration.
Although ICFs have numerous advantages, there are a few disadvantages to note.
– Construction Issues
– Groundwater and Insects
Filling an ICF wall with concrete during construction can, in some cases, lead to issues. It is essential that a contractor knows what number of feet of concrete to pour at once, that will not result in “blowouts”. Pouring in concrete at a quick rate can result in the concrete blasting through the polystyrene panels. Therefore, bringing about an expensive cleanup and construction delays.
During the pouring process, it is essential to sufficiently vibrate to wipe out all air pockets and voids (“honeycombing“). Hollow regions in the wall can lessen the quality of an ICF, decreasing its stiffness. In extreme cases, an ICF wall containing air pockets won’t be able to withstand lateral loads. Therefore, resulting in an unsafe structure.
Structural engineers and architects, when designing ICF buildings must take into consideration some points. Like, the vulnerability of regular panels to groundwater intrusions. This results in the use of additional components like drainage tiles and drainage sheeting to limit the impacts of the resulting moisture. These components increase the cost of the structure.
Even though termites are typically associated with wood consumption, they have sometimes tunneled through ICF polystyrene boards and little breaks in the concrete. When they overcome an ICF wall, they may proceed to attack joists, flooring, and other wood components. Even though there are proactive methods for tending to the termite issue, these all mean there is a need for additional steps, hence, additional cost.