Americans need somewhere to live, and many houses, apartments, and condos can be found all across the United States for rental or purchase. But these buildings don’t appear from nowhere; they have to be built by construction crews, and these workers have used a wide variety of materials over the years. Bricks, wood, concrete, and more have been in use in North America for centuries, and ever since the colonial period, wood and bricks proved popular for building houses. But today, there are more options for constructing a house’s walls, and materials such as ICF walls, or insulated concrete forms, can be very practical for building a house today. ICF walls are made from ICF products like ICF bricks, and ICF walls are useful not only for the convenient hollow space inside them, but also because they are very tough and are quick to assemble to form these ICF walls. These ICF walls have been used in housing construction projects for decades, and have long since proved their worth. Why should a homeowner have their new house built with ICF walls?
Insulated Concrete Forms
Insulated concrete forms have been used ever since the 1960s, when a Canadian contractor named Werner Gregori invented them in 1966. Around the world, ICF bricks have proven useful and popular right up to the present day, and they are practical for both the construction workers and the homeowner alike. Such bricks are fairly standard in size, being about 10 inches wide on average, and at their first invention, they were 16 inches high and 48 long. These concrete bricks can be easily arranged into formations to create walls when construction crews build walls out of them, and this can make the work both fast and convenient. These bricks can also be cut back in size so that walls fit together when they intersect, and these walls are built one row at a time for convenience.
What are the advantages of ICF walls and homes aside from the convenience of putting them together? These walls are tougher than regular wood and brick walls, and they can also be useful for wall insulation and are also price friendly to install. Estimates show that ICF systems may reduce the final costs on a property by about $0.75 per square foot if installed properly, and these convenient, price-friendly walls are tough, too. In fact, such walls can easily protect a home from natural disasters such as strong hurricane or tornado winds or wind-blown debris, and they can endure winds up to 402 KPH in strength. Such walls tend to be six to nine times stronger than comparable walls built from brick and wood, and homes built with ICF walls may be an ideal choice for those who live in storm-prone areas such as Hawaii, the Florida coast, and the Midwest, so that hurricanes or tornadoes will not so easily blast a property apart.
ICF walls are also useful for energy and utility savings in the home. A common problem in American homes today is a lack of proper insulation in the walls or attic, and this means that in summer, cooled air can leak right out of the house, and in winter, warm air steadily leaks to the exterior, which disrupts the climate control. This means that the heating or cooling system is forced to work overtime to constantly compensate for the constant loss of cooled or warm air, and given how around half of a home’s energy usage goes toward the HVAC systems, this can add up fast. A homeowner may get a nasty surprise on their electric bill if the walls, attic, or windows are leaking too much cool or warm air.
By contrast, ICF walls have hollow spaces on the inside by design, and these spaces are exactly where pipes, wires, and most of all, foam insulation. With all that ready-made interior space, it is easy for construction crews to add a proper amount of foam insulation to a home that has ICF walls, and this will help prevent the loss of warm air in winter and cool air during summer, saving money on the electric bill since the HVAC system isn’t being overworked.