5 Benefits Of Insulated Concrete Forms

Posted on: 11 June 2021

If you are in the process of planning a new building construction, consider insulated concrete forms (ICFs) for the construction of the walls. There are many benefits to this method when compared to a traditional wood-framed building.

1. Faster Construction

Insulated concrete forms fit and lock together like toy building blocks, so a crew can quickly build a wall or building foundation. Once in place, concrete is poured into the forms and allowed to cure. Unlike traditional concrete forms that must later be assembled, ICFs are left in place after the concrete is formed. This saves additional time when it comes to the building process.

2. Fire Resistance

One of the bigger benefits of ICFs is that they are naturally resistant to fire because they are imbued with a fire retardant. In an industrial building or one that is in an area of high wildfire risk, this is a major benefit. Many building codes in these situations may even require the increased fire resistance of all building materials. Insurance rates can also be lower for buildings constructed with fire-resistant ICFs.

3. Cost Savings

There are a couple of ways that ICFs save money during construction. First, building with concrete is often less expensive than stick-built buildings, especially in a time of rising lumber prices. Additional insulation may not be needed depending on your climate, which saves on materials as well. Further, the buildings go up much more quickly, which saves in labor costs. Fewer or smaller crews may also be necessary, depending on the required finish work for your building. 

4. Sound Dampening

The foam of an ICF combined with the thick concrete pour inside provides excellent sound-dampening qualities. For large buildings, this means that noise doesn't travel from one area, such as a mechanical floor, to another, such as an office block. For residential homes, the sound-dampening ability of ICF helps block external road noises and the sounds from outside equipment like lawnmowers.

5. Energy Efficiency

Each foam ICF block provides insulative qualities, often with a max R-value well above that provided by wood-framed buildings. You can increase the insulation and energy efficiency even further by installing insulated foam panels over the outside of the walls after construction, if desired. There will also be fewer drafts, as ICFs create a better leak-free building envelope compared to stick-framed buildings. 

Talk to your builder if you want to use insulated concrete forms in your next project.