"ICF"s... Insulated Concrete Forms Good Or Bad?

 
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Old 11-03-2011, 06:54 PM   #1
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"ICF"s... Insulated Concrete Forms Good Or Bad?


I took a class today on ICF's.. before taking the class I thought these things were great.. fast and easy.

But....

After today I don't think I would want them on my house. I found many cons to this method. Here's a few...

-You need excessive bracing with these forms.

- some types you need to glue all edges with an approved adhesive.

-expensive and labor intinsive.

-Hard to add wiring, plumbing and such to the Inside walls.

-Hard to hang cabinets and such.

-Hard to add trim.. how are you going to know where the ribs are?

-You have no choice but to finish your basement with drywall because of the exposed foam from the panels..

You need atleast a 30 minute fire rating to all interior walls (1/2 drywall).

-If you are going two floors with the ICF's you need to notch and add L bolts every 8-12 inches. Even if you don't go two floors you still need this method to attaching the roof.

-You have to add PT bucks to all openings in walls for doors and windows.

- hard to poor the concrete. Can only use a small diameter hose to place concrete and vibrators are not recomended..

- just very labor intinsive.. They said figure a minute of labor a square foot.. is that true? Idk...

These are just opinions of mine...

Some pros are you only need 2/3 of heating and cooling and its easy to stucco the outside

I only took a day course and I'm not by far an expert....


What do you guys think? Do you like them? Let me know on your opinions!

Educate me please! Thanks everyone

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Old 11-03-2011, 07:40 PM   #2
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Re: "ICF"s... Insulated Concrete Forms Good Or Bad?


Yes the cons you mentioned are horrible and now I need to change professions, there is no future in ICF's.

Just so you know, don't judge a book by it's cover, everything you think is wrong or difficult is not as bad as you describe it

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Old 11-03-2011, 07:43 PM   #3
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Re: "ICF"s... Insulated Concrete Forms Good Or Bad?


And the benefits added to the home for the next 100 years don't outweigh the cons? I use steel frames for all the decks we build, it's unconventional and has some drawbacks, but the benefits FAR outweigh the drawbacks.
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Old 11-03-2011, 08:01 PM   #4
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Re: "ICF"s... Insulated Concrete Forms Good Or Bad?


I wire houses for a contractor that builds ICF.

Wiring is a bit slower but if you use a hot knife its not too bad.

How much plumbing goes into outside walls anyway?

Mounting is easy as pie, the plastic is every 8" instead of 16".

All houses here are finished with 1/2" drywall anyway.

The doors and windows are kinda of a PITA.... especially to contact the windows.

They go up fast, easy point load calculations, well insulated.

I think K-Tech has certain benefits over ICF...if I were to build myself a house I'd use one or the other, the heck with wood.
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Old 11-03-2011, 08:08 PM   #5
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Re: "ICF"s... Insulated Concrete Forms Good Or Bad?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Rich D. View Post
I took a class today on ICF's.. before taking the class I thought these things were great.. fast and easy.

But....

After today I don't think I would want them on my house. I found many cons to this method. Here's a few...

-You need excessive bracing with these forms.
False - You need bracing to assure plumb and strait walls, what do you consider excessive?

- some types you need to glue all edges with an approved adhesive.
False - The blocks I've used, don't need much foam glue, just the cuts/small pieces are all I have used glue on.

-expensive and labor intinsive.
The forms can seem costly, but you get an R-22 rated foundation. It does take longer to construct than a concrete foundation that you typically see in a tract development, but less time than a concrete block foundation. I've work all three...I'd rather put up an ICF than the other 2 options.

-Hard to add wiring, plumbing and such to the Inside walls.
It's really not that bad, no drilling through studs, just cut out the foam.

-Hard to hang cabinets and such.
Plywood panels can be mounted behind the cabinet locations, so you have no fear of not getting a good hold regardless of where the cabinet needs a screw.

-Hard to add trim.. how are you going to know where the ribs are?
The ribs are marked on the blocks we use.

-You have no choice but to finish your basement with drywall because of the exposed foam from the panels..


You need atleast a 30 minute fire rating to all interior walls (1/2 drywall).

-If you are going two floors with the ICF's you need to notch and add L bolts every 8-12 inches. Even if you don't go two floors you still need this method to attaching the roof.
Anchor bolt spacing is determined by the engineer's drawings. Anchor bolts are better than nail straps in my opinion.

-You have to add PT bucks to all openings in walls for doors and windows.
Same with poured concrete foundation, but ICF does have alternatives to the PT.

- hard to poor the concrete. Can only use a small diameter hose to place concrete and vibrators are not recomended..
Vibrators actually are encouraged to consolidate the concrete and eliminate voids. We have done as small as a 2" hose on a line pump, it was not all that difficult.

- just very labor intinsive.. They said figure a minute of labor a square foot.. is that true? Idk...
It takes manpower just as any other part of construction. What do you consider intensive? I've never considered cost per SQ. Foot.

These are just opinions of mine...

Some pros are you only need 2/3 of heating and cooling and its easy to stucco the outside

I only took a day course and I'm not by far an expert....


What do you guys think? Do you like them? Let me know on your opinions!

I'd prefer to do an ICF foundation over any other, but that's just me...

Educate me please! Thanks everyone
I like the ICF system very much. Where did you take this one day course, Superior walls?
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Old 11-03-2011, 09:15 PM   #6
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Re: "ICF"s... Insulated Concrete Forms Good Or Bad?


Thanks everyone for your input.. I'm really looking for your posistive thoughts on these things to try to regain my liking to icf's.

Before today I thought icf's were awsome... Thought it was a perfect solution to a nice basement... Then I heard all the stuff today and I guess it discouraged me.. after reading your posts I guess its not too bad.

I got to play with 3 different types today and I must say they do interlock nicely...
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Old 11-03-2011, 10:07 PM   #7
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Re: "ICF"s... Insulated Concrete Forms Good Or Bad?


ICF is the least labor intensive system for putting in a foundation (for a finished basement!) when you look at how many steps are eliminated.

It took us a couple projects to get acquainted , but it's definitely the way to go IMO!
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Old 11-03-2011, 10:16 PM   #8
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Re: "ICF"s... Insulated Concrete Forms Good Or Bad?


ICF is gold,for me anyway,dont need to go every foot hammerdrilling concrete to put lath up for parging...if you got all furring in, on the spot, just knock nails into Xs
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Old 11-04-2011, 07:17 AM   #9
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Re: "ICF"s... Insulated Concrete Forms Good Or Bad?


What you "learned" is about as hokey as it gets. I get a kick out of "salesmen" selling contractors on how "easy" or "hard" a system is....especially when there are resources out there to get information from that are impartial, and experienced.

Show me a basement, or home built with solid concrete walls that is anything close to as good as ICF.........well?

BTW, you can look in the construction picture posts and see a few ICF's being done right now...see how they compare to the "experts" you were listening to.
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Old 11-04-2011, 07:41 AM   #10
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Re: "ICF"s... Insulated Concrete Forms Good Or Bad?


Quote:
Originally Posted by joasis

BTW, you can look in the construction picture posts and see a few ICF's being done right now...see how they compare to the "experts" you were listening to.
Thanks I will check those out for sure..
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Old 11-04-2011, 11:32 AM   #11
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Re: "ICF"s... Insulated Concrete Forms Good Or Bad?


I've personally have never installed ICF. Nor does alot of people do it in my area. Had the rare chance to see it done in my town. they just built a new pier and they were building the welcome center and it was all done with ICFs. In my opinion it seemed less labor intensive and seemed to go alot quicker. but then again i dont know squat about ICFs.
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Old 11-04-2011, 01:57 PM   #12
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Re: "ICF"s... Insulated Concrete Forms Good Or Bad?


I would love to know where you got your training. Either the people giving the training were not qualified to do so, or you went into it thinking it was trivial in nature and was gonna be a breeze.

A "con" in a building system doesn't mean much, when really a "con" is just a deviation from doing it the standard way. Just because its different does mean its bad. Cons of wood and CMU construction will far outweigh an ICF but you are used to those inferior forms of construction. Your success with the technology is based on:

Do you have the ability to learn something new?
Do you want to own/build a better building, home, shelter?

Yes the easy way will always be to do the normal stick frame. I'm sure the easy way to write a memo was on paper instead of email once too. YES it will be more expensive, as it should be...when did we get the attitude we should get more all the time and not pay for it? Since when did the terms price and value get muddled to where they mean the same thing. Same reason youll pay more for a TV with more feature/benefits...why wouldn't you pay more for a wall system with more features and benefits?
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Old 11-04-2011, 02:26 PM   #13
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Re: "ICF"s... Insulated Concrete Forms Good Or Bad?


After reading your responses this system sounds better to me..

When I wrote this thread all I was looking for was what you guys thought of the system and how you use it. Basically to educate me and tell me your opinion.. not to knock my opinions.. thanks
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Old 11-04-2011, 02:51 PM   #14
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Re: "ICF"s... Insulated Concrete Forms Good Or Bad?


I am a great fan of ICFs and have long time friend that has about 300 ready-mix plants. We shared the same customers for 20 years.

He liked to sell the costly forms, but always worried about the application for basements. He likes the CIFs for above grade, but prefers other foundation methods for foundations that are typically 9' high or more, because it is far to easy to screw up a ICF wall without experience, proper bracing and a good pumping system (not back-yard mix and dump ir full) when it is necessary to move the truck and bring up the slowly. It is a piece of cake to cut off sections of and ICF system to see the faults in placement that are usually hidden from the eye, but can be weaknesses and faults. - Usually near corners, around opening and where different vertical pours meet.

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Old 11-04-2011, 03:19 PM   #15
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Re: "ICF"s... Insulated Concrete Forms Good Or Bad?


Yes I can see what you mean Dick about there being honeycombing and voids from an improper poor and how it may not be structurally strong enough for a high below ground wall. I'm sure if you take your time a do it correctly with enough guys on the poor it should come out just fine..

Or I guess you can use symons forms and just apply a 2" foam board to the exterior with the waterproofing I suppose as an alternative.
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Old 11-05-2011, 09:01 PM   #16
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Re: "ICF"s... Insulated Concrete Forms Good Or Bad?


I have been involved with icf 's twice (buddies projects) two of the things i don't like 1 you don't get to inspect pour 2 they provide a great pathway for bugs (termites) to set up tunels un seen.
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Old 11-05-2011, 09:35 PM   #17
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Re: "ICF"s... Insulated Concrete Forms Good Or Bad?


Yes I heard that about the termites can anyone confirm or deny?

With normal construction your still going to have the foam board around though..
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Old 11-05-2011, 09:57 PM   #18
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Re: "ICF"s... Insulated Concrete Forms Good Or Bad?


Some of the older 1 piece ICF blocks have webs that tie the two sides together and are a great entry be for mice, termites and rodents because in less than a season less but they are always there. The newer systems with the poly ties are better, but not fool-proof.

there is a wide range of the ability and knowledge of the form suppliers; some have the technical back-up and support and other rely on advertising, cheap prices and the history of being a successful supplier to WallMart for meat trays.

The other thing that bothers me is that the ICFs are made using the cheap EPS foam with lesser insulation instead of the superior XPS foam even though they are peddling insulation values of a wall.

I do always worry about the common poor concrete placement with a minimal 6" poured wall that has little room for error, especially if you do not have any idea what is buried and hidden.

I am an engineer and have seen 20 story loadbearing block (no steel or concrete columns) built with with 6" hollow/partially reinforced block, but the inspection is high-tech and not intrusive because most is done before or in the early construction. - According to U.S. codes and standards and I am more impressed with that more than the buried 6" concrete walls that are never seen later, unless there is a failure.
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Old 11-06-2011, 06:27 AM   #19
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Re: "ICF"s... Insulated Concrete Forms Good Or Bad?


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I have been involved with icf 's twice (buddies projects) two of the things i don't like 1 you don't get to inspect pour 2 they provide a great pathway for bugs (termites) to set up tunels un seen.

As said above, older ICF systems...sometimes.I think the myth of termites is put out by the lumber institute....just like the myth that fiberglass is superior to cellulose. Here is the deal....food source and humidity....no wood, and no moisture, no termites. Maybe in other areas they have termites that are not like ours, but here, I have yet to see any termite damage present in ICF's. Also, as a preventative measure, we typically use treated materials in all window and door bucks, and for the top plates.
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Old 11-06-2011, 07:33 AM   #20
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Re: "ICF"s... Insulated Concrete Forms Good Or Bad?


icfs are great, far less labour than doing a conventional icf. you dont strip the panels when your done. plus you insulate all in one shot

you only need a few new tools such as a pruning saw and a rebar bender, other than that you should already have everything

as for the energy savings put it this way. 2 years ago we built a 4000 sq ft vet clinic with icf.. the old location was 900 sq ft wood framed. the owner of the clinic told us what their heating cost was for the first 6 months of being in the new locale.... it was 1/3 the cost of the old location which is 1/4 the size

not to mention its "GIANT STYROFOAM LEGO" who didnt have fun with lego when they were a kid..

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