Insulating Concrete Form F.A.Q.

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General Information

  • The term ‘high-performance building’ means a building that integrates and optimizes on a life cycle basis all major high performance attributes, including energy conservation, environment, safety, security, durability, accessibility, cost-benefit, productivity, sustainability, functionality, and operational considerations. – Source: National Institute of Building Sciences


  • Insulating Concrete Forms are light-weight, rigid insulating casts made of expanded polystyrene (EPS) or extruded polystyrene (XPS). ICFs are stacked like Lego’s and rebar is inserted. Concrete is poured into the ICFs. The polystyrene is left in place to provide insulation


  • Energy Performance:
    High performance R-values
    No air infiltration through walls
    Permanent performance, no downgrading over time
    Shifts thermal loading from peak periods
    Lower cost to heat and cool


  • Health/Indoor Air Quality:
    Less air infiltration means less dust and allergens
    No cavity walls for mold, mildew, bugs or rodents
    Non-toxic materials
    No off-gassing of materials


  • Structural Durability:
    High wind resistance
    Fire-rated assembly – up to 4 hrs at 2000 Degrees Farenheit
    Strength is permanent
    Will not rot or decay
    Resistant to termites (the concrete)
    Impact resistant


  • Comfort:
    High sound attenuating
    Enhances steady temperatures
    Peace of mind during inclement weather events
    Low maintenance structure
    May attribute to lower insurance costs


  • Construction:
    Design versatility
    Speed of construction
    Decrease steps/trades – wall insulation built-in, furring out of walls not needed, no papering for stucco needed, no Tyvek or other needed


  • ICF homes are comparable in price to 2X6 construction and although they can cost 3-5% more than traditional 2X4 frame homes, homeowners save more in the long run because the cost of ownership of an ICF structure is significantly less than the more traditional methods. In nearly every documented case of the cost of an ICF structure, the return on investment (ROI) for the extra construction cost is within 5 years with many showing less than 3 years. Depending how costs are viewed, ICF may cost a little more or significantly less to build and operate.


  • An ICF Home looks like any conventional new home on the inside and on the outside. The window sills are deeper since the walls are thicker. Very few people can see the difference between ICF construction and other types of construction, though many can ‘feel’ the difference attributed to more solid construction.


  • Virtually any conventional exterior finish can be used with an ICF System.