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Old 12-05-2007, 08:28 PM   #1
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Anyone use ICF for their foundation?


If so can you give me some rough cost estimates, sq footage, how much you saved, if you did? and anything you can about it

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Old 12-05-2007, 09:55 PM   #2
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Anyone use ICF for their foundation?


From what I have seen, you are better off using them for above grade since the result is far superior to a wood structure.

For a foundation, you cannot justify the cost of the ICF forms to save energy. It is more economical to use block and poured concrete and insulate with rigid foam. The temperature difference between the soil and interior is not nearly as great as the difference between interior and exterior above grade for most areas where energy is a big factor.

ICFs give you a great structure, but they are really not for DIYers or amateurs with little experience in pumping and pouring concrete walls (especially styrofoam). - If the forms don't shift or blow out, the mistakes can be hidden and never seen until too late.

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Old 12-05-2007, 11:01 PM   #3
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Depending on your area and local costs will dictate the cost of ICF vs. other methods.

Anywhere above grade ICF is one of the best systems to use. In my experience basement dampness and humidity is almost zero with ICF.

Also keep in mind that you are building a superior wall, don't forget the roof and proper sealing around the windows and doors; and for what it's worth if you are not planning infloor heating right now rough it in, you may want it in the future and the piping will be ready at a minimum cost today
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Old 12-06-2007, 07:16 PM   #4
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Anyone use ICF for their foundation?


Concrete masonry or chris...Can either of you give a description of the process for insulated concrete forms for a basement? You have to have a footer first? Anything special for the footer? Then set the form, anything special besides just stacking them? How do they stay together, any special support for them? Rebar or does the plastic in them act as rebar? Then pour the concrete, have to use a vibrater or just pour it in? thanks for knowledge
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Old 12-06-2007, 07:54 PM   #5
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I recommend a footing that is LEVEL, some guys will suspend a couple courses and pour making the footing intigrated(sp?) with the wall, very difficult to do. Your code/designer/engineer will dictate the amount of rebar (Size and Type) and it's location within the wall. Different areas - Different requirements. We use a bracing system that also incorporates the scaffolding, kind of a neat system. All concrete MUST be vibrated, those that tell you otherwise are foolish, the forms stay in place if you have a void you would never know it, rebar around openings (windows and doors) is usually quite concentrated and this is where voids a normally found. Concrete gets hung up on the bars or is starting to set from a previous pass and you can't see it, careful use and experience with a vibrator helps move the mud into place and provide excellent consolidation. Be Carefull, over vibrate and the pressure can be too great on the form and cause a bulge or worse a blow out.

Many manufactures promote the ease of building with ICF, in theory it is easy, but once the concrete is poured any errors are either not repairable or extremely costly to make right. Someone with no ICF experience who wants to do it themselves should at a minimum contract site visits and the concrete pour with an ICF contractor.
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Old 12-06-2007, 08:47 PM   #6
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Anyone use ICF for their foundation?


I second Chris' comments. - Especially about placement problems around/under windows. He is also right about the mistakes/problem being hidden because the forms are left on.

Not for an amateur unless he hires someone with experience in checking the bracing and pumping/placing concrete. - Hard to find a good part-timer.
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Old 12-06-2007, 09:53 PM   #7
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Hard to find a good part-timer.
Unless your willing to pay a few shackles
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Old 12-07-2007, 06:36 AM   #8
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Anyone use ICF for their foundation?


energy costs'll go down, don't bother using icf's,,, who needs r50 walls, anyway ? ? ?

w/o a doubt, i'd build from the reinforc'd conc footer to gables,,, yes, you'll need std foundation (footer) in place, 1st - we've got 2 #4 bars in ours here + a #5 4' o/c vertically,,, all tied, of course !

pencil vibrator altho we also have on hand a plate vibe for the window bucks, too,,, as chris mentions, that's where the conc can get hung
up,,, the built-in snaps hold horizontal rebar,,,

the conc mix's critical,,, plasticizers, wtr reducers, cement, rock, trunk for the pump hose, no coffee breaks when the pour starts :-)

system's been around since the mid-60s in europe,,, professionally, i can't imagine anyone stick building who wants to save utility $$$ or live in a more wind-resistant home,,, we look at an addl 6-8% for icf over stick but the payback's about 18mos due to reduc'd utility charges,,, obviously, savings'll continue forever as long as you're using energy,,, our present home's mid-50s stick but the country place'll be icf w/o a doubt.



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Old 12-07-2007, 07:16 AM   #9
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We have built 3 ICF homes now, and I still hear the same old line...getting really old now....."I think that is the neatest thing I have ever seen, but everyone else tells me it is a fad and so I am building my new home the "right" way".....makes you wonder where education money was spent when thy were in school.

I think the other resistance point is the form cost, which we all know could be half, and other trades resist them, from lack of understanding to just wanting things to stay with tradition.
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Old 12-07-2007, 07:17 AM   #10
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Anyone use ICF for their foundation?


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Originally Posted by TheSiege View Post
If so can you give me some rough cost estimates, sq footage, how much you saved, if you did? and anything you can about it
I hired a contractor to place the cement and do all my flatwork, and we got a credit of something in the range $10K for doing all the grunt work of stacking the blocks, bracing etc. This is on a 2138 Sqft house with a full 10' basement with a 3 car attached garage. ALL exterior walls are ICF.

When you say foundation, are you also thinking basement or are you thinking just the foundation? I would think you'd be hard pressed to realize any benefit with just a foundation, there are other more cost effective ways to put in an insulated foundation. The full basement is a different animal, at present ours isn't finished, and with just the heat from forced air system...it stays nice and warm.

Like I said I built the house didn't GC the builders, for everything except the crete, and I have right at $95/sqft in the house, not including the land.

When working with ICF's you really have to keep on top of your game...mistakes can be corrected, costly or not guaranteed to be dusty.
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Old 12-07-2007, 07:43 AM   #11
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Anyone use ICF for their foundation?


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Concrete masonry or chris...Can either of you give a description of the process for insulated concrete forms for a basement? You have to have a footer first? Anything special for the footer? Then set the form, anything special besides just stacking them? How do they stay together, any special support for them? Rebar or does the plastic in them act as rebar? Then pour the concrete, have to use a vibrater or just pour it in? thanks for knowledge
Our footings are the same for as any foundation, if your going to do this for your self....highly recommend the form-a-drain kills 2 birds with one stone. Our order went like this footing, glue first row of blocks to the footing, pour the basement floor, then stack the basement walls. During the massive rains we had at the time, we always had a hard surface to work from.

From what I have seen blocks vary from MFG to MFG, so you'll have to either provide your block details or do additional research. Polysteel blocks have a tongue and groove configuration that fits tightly together. When you assemble a wall, each block has a special polyurethane glue applied to the bottom and the abutting end. So when you get done, every block is glued to it's neighbor.

At lease with our building inspector, the block and it's internal components do not qualify for reinforcement, so at that rate it's just bonus material. The internal reinforcement are there to hold the blocks together. The basement walls in our house are 13" thick (8" concrete) there's a 2' by 2' grid of #4, #6 around all window bucks. Upstairs walls are 11" thick (6" concrete) vertical rebar ever 4' and horizontal every 2'. Same around all windows and lintels.

When we poured each lift was around 3' deep. We followed that with a vibrator. Each lift was vibrated together...just meaning the shaft extended from the current lift into the previous one. To date, I have not found a single void. I don't have any experience with any other blocks but we were very satisfied with the Polysteel, the braced well and didn't have anything close to a blow out. That's a bonus.
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Old 12-07-2007, 10:45 AM   #12
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"I think that is the neatest thing I have ever seen, but everyone else tells me it is a fad and so I am building my new home the "right" way".

What is the right way? Do you tell potential clients lumber was used as a temporary structure material that North America has forgot to quit using?

You live in Tornado Alley, how about the pictures from the aftermath, you see a bunch of twigs strewn all about and a lowly Concrete home still standing or a safe room.

Calfiornia has the infamous wild fires, why is it the evening news shows photos of burned down house and yet the chimney is still standing? or back when I first moved here a fire gutted a community, insurance company adjusters showed up and out of 50 or so homes 3 were still standing, scorced but standing, further inquiry showed a concrete structure survived.

ICF makes it all the better for insulating values. Concrete gives it the strength and durability.

Sorry got of the OP topic
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Old 12-07-2007, 06:26 PM   #13
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Anyone use ICF for their foundation?


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Originally Posted by ponch37300 View Post
Concrete masonry or chris...Can either of you give a description of the process for insulated concrete forms for a basement? You have to have a footer first? Anything special for the footer? Then set the form, anything special besides just stacking them? How do they stay together, any special support for them? Rebar or does the plastic in them act as rebar? Then pour the concrete, have to use a vibrater or just pour it in? thanks for knowledge
Start here:http://www.insulatingconcretehomes.com/ and then ask the questions. This is the company I buy my blocks from.
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Old 12-11-2009, 03:02 PM   #14
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I used the TF system, which is not a block system but a vertical ICF. See below for the cost break down on the material. The shipping was $1700.00 on top of the cost of the forms but when I calculated the cost to build I saved around $3,500.00. You don't have to fur out or insulate any exterior walls which equates to decrease in construction costs. I was an first timer with this system and learned a bunch. As stated by So-elitecrete above the mix is very important. Rock pockets will not be seen and if there are any problems you will be done with your home before they are detected. If you are planning on using the IFC method for a basement then a dipple board waterproof system covering the wall and FOOTING would be recommended. See hard costs below.


The prices for TF System forms are as follows:

Full height for 225 linear feet of wall 9' 6" tall x 8" thick concrete = $7,282.14
128 linear feet of 9' 6" tall and 102 linear feet of 5' 6" tall x 8" thick concrete = $6,604.82
35 linear feet with one corner set of 3' tall x 8" thick crete = $ 398.84
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Old 12-11-2009, 04:07 PM   #15
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Anyone use ICF for their foundation?


We are using the Logix ICF as basis for design in an upcoming 7 floor hotel we are working on here in Louisville. If you really want to learn about ICF start with the website linked above or get on some of the manufacturers websites and get information. Everyone I talked to was incredibly helpful (except Owens Corning fyi) and were very accommodating to any questions we had as an office. The local distributors here have also been incredibly helpful with design advice for us and the structural engineer on best practices, steel sizing etc.

ICF may be over kill for just your foundation but if you plan on doing you entire house with it I personally think you will be very satisfied.

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