It is not only possible to maximize low energy cost and consumption, but consistent climatic comfort can be achieved throughout residential and commercial new construction buildings. Using insulated concrete forms (ICFs) in place of traditional materials, reduces energy consumption and costs by over 50 percent when used to construct exterior walls and foundations.
There are a number of great Insulated Concrete Wall Systems on the market, along with supporting products to ease the construction process and complementary finishing materials! The growing number of distributors attests to the number of outstanding features in comparison with competitors.
Ask a contractor for solid-to-solid attachments for finishing materials when reviewing options. Ensuring secure attachment of ICF wall systems is appropriate for above-grade construction and offers superior results in foundation construction. Features to emphasize for prospective customers include:
Because of the high R-value of ICFs, the structures have low air infiltration and high thermal mass. Choosing an ICF wall system reduces initial building costs and energy costs. Efficiency of the foundation can be maximized with either foundation wraps, peel-and-stick moisture barriers, or dampproofing applications.
A smaller HVAC system will suffice because the insulating properties utilize less energy to keep the building cool and warm. Cold spots are eliminated because the superior insulating qualities maintain more consistent temperatures throughout the structure.
The forms are never removed from the cured walls after the cement is poured. The remaining two layers of EPS insulated foam serve to protect the building, even in the most challenging conditions: hurricanes, tornadoes, and fire. Every ICF form has a fire retardant added. Manufacturers offer a self-ignition point of up to 800 degrees. Depending on the manufacturer and the chosen thickness of the wall, UL or ULC listed fire ratings range between two to four hours.
ICF wall systems provide superior structural integrity, value, and safety compared to stick-to-frame constructions. The key to choosing an ICF wall system is to check for compliance with building codes. More manufacturers are concentrating on offering solid-to-solid contact for finishing materials; effectively reducing screw pops, siding sag, and shifted brick ties.
Many manufacturers have data available on how their ICF wall systems perform on Sound Transmission Classifications. These ratings, up to 50 or higher, translate into perfect applications for condos, townhouses, and even movie theaters because of the peace and quiet on both sides of the common walls. ICF wall systems eliminate annoying neighborly noise conflicts.
Architects and builders love working with ICF wall systems because many manufacturers offer a wide selection of shapes, curves, or angles to accommodate customer preferences. ICF wall systems are available with features allowing a variety of interior and exterior finishing materials to be confidently attached. ICF walls allow for large, open spaces because of the strength of the reinforced concrete core.
Most ICF homes qualify for energy-efficient mortgages because energy consumption is significantly decreased. Often smaller heating and cooling systems are installed because of the high R-values, low air infiltration, and high thermal mass. The savings can be up to 50 percent depending on the manufacturer and region.
ICF homes offer low maintenance, energy efficiency, and excellent resale value. The practical reasons for choosing an ICF wall system will provide immediate benefits to the homeowner or business owner and a great long-term investment. Many contractors enjoy working with ICF wall systems due to their ease of use, compliance with numerous building codes, and satisfied customers. All very good reasons for finding a qualified contractor before you are ready to build.
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