ICFs (insulated concrete forms) are part of an integrated solution to producing an effective building envelope.
- The thick concrete core of insulated concrete forms works well keeping air where it should be, cold air out in winter and warm air inside.
- It works just as well in summer, keeping the warm air in while providing a barrier that resists harmful mold, dust and allergens, along with powerful wind, storm and fire damage.
Normally two layers of expanded polystyrene are held together by strong polypropylene ties.
- The range of different widths and angles allows for almost any design.
- Check with the manufacturer, but most ICFs are rated at over 150-mph wind resistance and 3-4 hour fire rating.
ICFs are used to build everything from homes to multi-story apartments to movie theatres.One house completed in upstate New York put metal struts and a poured concrete floor in the first floor andyou could drive a car into the living room it was so strong.
I originally became aware of ICFs in Canada, and only recently have they caught on in the U.S.
As for manufacturers, there are plenty to choose from and they are all pretty good. You might want to start by looking at www.rewardwalls.com and reviewing their education information; they instruct contractors on installation as well as provide the ICFs.
For more information:
Read Daniel Glickman's Q&A "My builder doesn't want to use ICFs, but I've heard they're a great product. What do you think?"