Friday, April 22, 2011

Insulated Concrete Forms the better way to build a wall!

Twenty years ago we started installing what are called ICF homes. ICF stands for Insulated Concrete Forms. The basic premise of these homes are that you assembly polystyrene blocks that fit together like Lego. Then you pour concrete down the middle of them and that forms your outer walls. What you end up with is 2.5 inch’s of foam on the inside and 2.5 inch’s of foam on the outside with a 6 inch concrete core. There are plastic webs that hold the foam block together and become your fastening points for all interior walls, drywall and anything that you want to hang like cabinets or pictures. This creates an ultra air tight house to the point were most people do not require air conditioners depending on how often you use the doors and windows.
If you heavily insulate the ceilings your heating/cooling costs will be miniscule.
Because ICF forms have a concrete core, the concrete does not allow wind chill's outside to affect the inside of the house. Your furnace does not have to work significantly harder to keep the house warm. The concrete core does not fluctuate in temperature as much as wood walls. A concrete wall with insulation on both sides only changes temperature a couple of degrees no matter if is winter or summer. Compare that to a conventional wood wall, when the temperature outside goes down the temperature in the wall drops with it and a windchill cools the wall down even more. The point of fibreglass insulation is to slow the air penetrating through the wall enough so that the furnace can warm it up to the desired temperature. An ICF wall does not allow any air to penetrate it, those the furnace is only warming the air that comes through the HRV.

Let's dispel some of the myths associated with ICF construction
  • Myth 1: ICF restricts the design of your house to square boxes.
    Actually ICF can give you some advantages over conventional wood construction like cathedral ceilings with no collar ties.
    They can be installed in any shape or height of wall you require, angled walls to rounded walls.
  • Myth 2: ICF is only used for basements.
    ICF makes for a wonderful basement that is dry and warm, but that isn't the limit to the product. You can build your whole house out of it, right up to the roof. You can build a three or four story house if you really want too. A house is more energy efficient if you do every floor.
  • Myth 3: ICF limits your exterior finishing to stucco
    You can actually put anything you want on the outside of an ICF form, from wood or vinyl siding to brick or stone.

If you are like me and you are worried about the rapid rise of electricity, the ever rising cost of gas and oil, then an ICF house is for you.

If the extreme weather that seams to be the norm in North America is worrying you, then an ICF house is for you. ICF houses have been known to be the only house still standing in Hurricane zones, also ICF houses have been known to be the only house's left standing after tornadoes rip through the country side.
ICF houses are used to help meet the high standards in earthquake zones.

Insulated Concrete Forms are used in more then just residential construction. Here are some benefits to using ICF for houses and other projects.

  • Used in Potato barns to keep the temperature within a fee degrees so that the potato's do not sprout in storage.
  • They are used for high rise condo's that are trying to achieve maximum R value and comfort for the condo owners.
  • Used on houses in high traffic area's to cut the noise to almost nothing.
  • Used in area's with high winds to keep energy costs down because of high wind chill.
  • Used in areas where there is a limited building window for the speed in which they can be constructed.
  • Used in areas where people are worried about the noise from inside the house affecting people or animals outside the house.
  • Used in areas were there are rodent and bug problems. With concrete and polystyrene foam there is no nutritional value for rodents or bugs to eat or live on. Plus with a concrete core no animal or rodent would ever be able to eat or borrow there way inside the house.
  • With webs in ICF every 8” there are double the screw points in your interior or exterior walls.
  • ICF construction does not require a vapour barrier, reducing costs and speeding up of construction.
  • ICF houses have a longer life expectancy then wood walls. Even if a house has a fire or a flood, or loses it's roof in extreme weather the walls do not move and do not grow mold. Simply remove the drywall, clean up the mess and start building without changing the exterior walls.
  • ICF are self extinguishing so they do not burn like wood walls, they will extinguish a fire and not feed it.
  • ICF walls can be installed even if the house plans are drawn with wood walls, there is almost no change to your house plans.

If an ICF house or addition sounds like what you are looking for then please do not hesitate to call at 877-866-3202 or visit our website at

You can also email me at

Rob Abbott
Operations Manager
Village Builders Inc.


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  2. It’s admirable that you are proving you are wiser at your age now. When planning the design of a house, it is essential to consider the things that aren’t superficial.
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  3. Twenty years ago we started installing what are called ICF homes. ICF stands for Insulated Concrete Forms. The basic premise of these homes ...