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Why isn't ICF construction more common? - Beyond.ca - Car Forums

View Poll Results: What is your opinion of ICF?

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  • ICF is awesome and should be used more often, I would build a house using this method.

    23 62.16%
  • ICF is a fad, and offers limited benefits for too much cost

    5 13.51%
  • Fuck ICF, I only build AMG.

    9 24.32%
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Thread: Why isn't ICF construction more common?

  1. #1
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    Default Why isn't ICF construction more common?

    I'm not in the construction industry, but it always seemed to me that Insulated Concrete Form construction (ICF) should be catching on more than it has.
    Benefits include better sound insulation from the outside, better thermal insulation and the possibility of better durability (debatable and not fully studied).

    The big negative is the cost, it IS more expensive. Some studies say only about 10% of the construction cost, but many of those studies are from the USA where labour is cheaper.

    I know we have a bunch of tradespeople and real-estate folks on the board, what is everyone's opinion? Is this a worthwhile upgrade if someone is building a new home? Would it add to the value of that home on the resale market? Is anyone doing ICF homes routinely in Calgary?

    I added a poll, because polls are fun.

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    ICF is a superior construction method, but I think becomes even more cost prohibitive in Calgary due to our shitty weather (not many days/nights in this city above 4C). It seems that the cost to clad both exterior and interior walls also increase. And lets face it, most people would rather see granite counter tops and upgraded bathrooms than more solid/durable foundations and walls.

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    I tried to build my most recent home with ICF. I was flat out told "no way."

    My guess is no one has experience.

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    I priced my shop building in ICF construction and it came to 2.5 times the cost of an R-28 pole building. The life expectancy of the pole building is around 50 years, the ICF a hundred. Both are going to outlast me, and the difference in the heating bill would never be enough to recoup the added cost of the ICF.
    Too loud for Aspen

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    People have short term thinking, also most don't do their homework when approaching a home builder. As mentioned before people care about the stuff that's on the surface and quite frankly they are 'shallow' when it comes to that. Everyone wants the bamboo flooring, granite countertops and expensive carved wood doors. I find it quite laughable when I pass by the homes in Watermark in Bearspaw, where the homes are in the range of $3-5M. You can see the above mentioned stuff but yet most homes are finished in 2-pane windows without low-e or argon gas, wood construction with batt insulation, and '25' yr asphalt shingles.

    The architects and developers do NO client education, but the client is equally to blame, as a very few ppl come with the idea or goal that they potentially want a sustainable or thermal efficient house. We are not talking about homes below $1M as things that pay off are expensive and usually the joe-blow-cookie-cutter-home-builder will never be approached by your brother, sister, aunt, cousin that requires a home to reach certain efficiency goals. People don't care that you can save money on your heating bill by going with IFC wall, or that it could potentially save your life down the road by having prolonged fire rating and capabilities. Proper design of steel stud / rigid insulation walls has escaped everyone, it does nothing when your insulation is placed between steel studs placed every 16 / 24 inches, think of the thermal bridging. You are inviting the cold from the ext to penetrate through the interior by distribution of those studs. A better example would be....does a polar bear have fur on the outside or the inside? The rigid in this instance should be placed on the ext to prevent penetration to the interior by cold temperatures.

    If you can at least do the basement walls in ICF you are already ahead of a lot of people, if you can complete the entire house in ICF, I give you big props, but don't forget that your ICF walls are only as good as your insulation, windows, wall design(if it's ICF below grade only). But I think once you start getting into those items you will be spending quite a bit of coin for a house that won't be more than 1500 sq. ft. and your neighbour will be lounging in 3000 sq. ft. house that will clown on yours in terms of appearance and here we are back to step one. If you care about what others think that house will cost an arm and a leg in energy spent but you will 'look good' to everyone else.
    Last edited by adidas; 04-21-2014 at 10:36 PM.

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    ive done icf work and would prefer to use it in my own house if i was able to financially
    it is more expensive, but also makes for a helluva stable house
    if you do the basement plus upper levels its basically concrete plus rebar and styrofoam on both sides from the footing up to the roof

    anyone ive talked to says the temperature variance is not as high as a wood frame house and apparently the heating savings actually are noticeable?

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    Our entire home from below grade to rafters is built using ICF forms. Granted we were supplied the blocks at cost, the amount we spent on concrete and rebar was huge. Going this route added approx 120k to our final build cost, back when there were next to no contractors doing residential ICF work.

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    Originally posted by benyl
    I tried to build my most recent home with ICF. I was flat out told "no way."

    My guess is no one has experience.
    Ding. We finished my parents ICF acreage (basement to roof) and shop (40x50 with 16' cielings) last year.

    No word of a lie, my father and I literally did the whole house ourselves. If we had had anywhere near the amount of people involved in pouring a regular basement + framing the exterior of the house, it would have been done extremely quick.

    Basically, few people have experience in it, and as mentioned in the other post about shallow people, the only ones who recognize its value/cost and benefit are people that will pay out the ass for it.

    Hell, we were going to do a concrete floor as well (cost was about the same) but my mom didn't like how hard concrete floors are. Would have been quiet as hell!

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    It's not quite the same, but a business acquaintance is in the process of rolling out a pre-fab'd foundation company. They've got several builders signed on and will (initially) work with pre-set plans. So, the builder has plan A, B, C, etc, with or without walkout and they ship the pre-constructed concrete panels to to site, drop them in and voila, a foundation.

    Sounds like a neat idea and they're looking to expand into exterior walls eventually also...

  11. #11
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    I have heard of pre-fab concrete above grade. I think it's done a little bit in europe. With the foudnation walls, i would wonder how they are dealing with the joins between the slabs. Those would be natural leak points. Probably nothing exotic required, just some care and attention.

    Pre-fab concrete could also help dealing with the problem of construction during winter. if the panels were poured in a shop with a controlled climate, you could have a much better set, and then set them in pace at whatever temp without worry.

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    ^ Simple solution, sealent.

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    Short answer; it costs more and is much more difficult to install properly.

    Ie, Google "ICF leaks".
    Vettel's #1

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    If I build a house again I will use it....but I have contacts in concrete so the cost wouldn't be as high. There are a few builders out there using it from time to time but as stated nobody wants to pay for the upgrade.
    "if you disagree with my views are cannot adequately my criticism then ignore my posts." - Nusc

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    Originally posted by CapnCrunch
    Short answer; it costs more and is much more difficult to install properly.

    Ie, Google "ICF leaks".

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    Bump!

    Thought of this thread when I read about this guy building his home out in Springbank. 11 years and counting. Pretty solid house he's building with ICF, but man over a decade and still going. Hope he lives long enough to enjoy it!

    http://calgaryherald.com/news/local-...s-and-counting
    ---

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    Good for him! I would definitely be proud to build my own home in my spare time, fuck his neighbors.
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    ...
    Last edited by Sugarphreak; 08-13-2019 at 12:39 AM.

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    .
    Last edited by Cos; 12-28-2016 at 03:58 PM.
    Originally posted by adam c

    Line goes up, line goes down, line does squiggly things and fucks Alberta
    "The stone age didn't end because we ran out of stones"

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    I remember a time when people are lifers in their houses where ICF makes sense.

    now it take very few people actually cares because it will always be the next guy's problem.

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