Construction has seen a lot of changes over the years, but one of the most celebrated still involves ICF. Since the 70s, insulated concrete forms – concrete formworks that were first developed shortly after WW1 – have been used in domestic and commercial projects. And today, they are still popular among contractors and governments because of the advantages that they offer.
What exactly are these advantages? And what can you look forward to if you opt to build with ICF? Consider the following.
Enhanced Comfort and Quiet
The foam-and-concrete sandwiches that come with ICFs reportedly cuts air infiltration up to 75% compared to a house with typical frames. Meaning, there is less potential for drafts. In addition, the concrete formwork’s high thermal mass helps mitigate the transfer and transmittance of extreme outdoor conditions – which makes for a more comfortable interior. Walls made with ICFs are also believed to block out as much as 80% of outside noise.
Reduced Energy Costs
A study that involved 58 single-family homes in the US and in Canada found that homes built with insulated concrete forms use 44% less energy to heat and 32% less energy to cool, compared to their wooden-frame counterparts. The engineering that goes into ICF construction leads to higher insulating values (R-40) compared to homes built with wooden frames (R-9 to R-15). If you are hoping to save on energy costs, ICFs should definitely be a top consideration.
When it comes to fire resistance, ICFs also score well. In fact, fire-wall tests have found that these concrete formworks can withstand continuous exposure to temperatures of up to 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit for about 4 hours without failing. This is because the plastic foams that are used in their construction are treated with fire retardants. Wood-frame walls, on the other hand, can only last for two hours before structural failure sets in.
Easy Repair and Maintenance
ICFs also do not have organic matter, which lessens the risks for rot, molds, mildew, and other forms of damage. As such, repairing and maintaining them will not exact a lot of time and effort. They also provide more structural integrity because these walls are reinforced with steel, which will not corrode or rust, especially as it is covered by concrete.
At Zego, we hope to guide every contractor or budding builder into constructing the best homes and commercial properties. We have worked with ICFs for a long time, and we are confident that we can help harness the best things about the material for your project. Visit us on www.zego.com.au.