Modern homes have long been built with a frame made from traditional lumber, like pine. While these wood-framed homes have held up relatively well over centuries of new construction, they do come with their faults. Wood-framed homes have a variety of drawbacks such as durability concerns, air-tightness, and other problems that tend to plague homeowners.
Thankfully there’s a new option for building the wall system of your new home, insulated concrete forms. ICFs possess a variety of desirable characteristics which make them a superior choice to traditional wood-framed houses. In order to get you up to speed on what ICFs can do for you, let’s go over a few of the benefits of using ICF for modern home design, shall we?
Because ICF buildings are made with an interlocked system of hollow, synthetic concrete blocks, they are much safer in the event of extreme weather. They can withstand far more dangerous winds than homes built using traditional wood frame construction and can take heavy impacts from flying debris without much consequence to the structure. For this reason, most new tornado and storm shelters constructed in hurricane and tornado-prone areas are being built with ICFs. They are FEMA approved as being safe for some of the deadliest potential weather events.
Homes built with ICFs are much more energy-efficient than wood-framed homes as well. This is because the wall system is completely airtight, not allowing any indoor air to escape outside or vice versa. They are not as permeable when it comes to temperature as wooden studs are, eliminating the possibility of thermal bridging as well. The blocks themselves are insulated, which is a big upgrade from the un-insulated concrete blocks of new homes you’ll see surrounded by cheap foam insulation which isn’t even airtight in most cases.
Comfort and Safety
ICF blocks are fire-resistant, meaning you’ll have a much higher chance of surviving a catastrophic fire, should one break out in your home. Your walls will not burn up and collapse, only the interior and exterior coverings on them will burn.
These blocks are sound-resistant, giving you much-desired peace and quiet even if your home is located next to a busy highway, railroad, airport, or another very noisy area.
Ease of Maintenance/Low Cost
Because your home will be completely moisture-free and airtight, the amount of household maintenance you’ll need to do will be minimal. You won’t need to worry about your house warping or rotting from moisture damage. ICFs are also very affordable for all the benefits they offer, typically paying off the upfront cost in the form of energy savings before long.
ICF Homes are the Future of Modern Construction
As you can see ICF homes are superior to other wall systems in numerous ways. They are twice as strong, 3 times as quiet, fire-rated up to 4 hours, and will save you 20 percent or more on energy while allowing 10 to 30 percent less air in from the outside. All in all, it’s hard to pass up on an ICF home once you realize all they have to offer.
Matt Lee is the owner of the Innovative Building Materials blog and a content writer for the building materials industry. He is focused on helping fellow homeowners, contractors, and architects discover materials and methods of construction that save money, improve energy efficiency, and increase property value.
Images from The Indian Ship Renovation by Studio Idhea – See the full story here