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Old 07-15-2007, 10:59 PM   #1
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Do you live in an ICF house?


Hello,

My wife and I are ready to build our dream home, and we are very strongly leaning towards an ICF construction. It's so new to us, but we honestly haven't come up any disadvantages of living in a concrete house.

I take that back. The ONLY disadvantage I am anticipating is worse TV and radio reception (we don't want cable). But I can deal with that...

I'd like to ask for comments of anyone that's been through the process of building an ICF house and has lived in an ICF house for a while (2+ years) ... what has your experience been? Do you like (love?) your ICF house? Any surprises (positive or negative)? Any reason why we shouldn't consider ICF?

Thanks in advance!
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Old 07-16-2007, 08:26 PM   #2
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Do you live in an ICF house?


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Insulating_concrete_forms

this has some pro's/con's... sorry I couldn't be more useful, but figured maybe you didn't check the wikiness before posting.
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Old 07-18-2007, 06:10 AM   #3
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Do you live in an ICF house?


I build ICF's and you won't be disappointed. If the energy savings were not enough, how about the insurance savings, sound proof, storm strength, termite proof...on and on.
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Old 07-18-2007, 06:39 AM   #4
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Do you live in an ICF house?


I'm kinda surprised you haven't received more comments...I too am interested, as we'll be moving in probably by the end of the week.

My wife and I built our house from the footing up, used ICF up to the roof trusses. We hired a local framer to set the trusses and sheet the roof, a contractor to install the shingles, and another to drywall. The block supplier placed the concrete, and did my flat work. The rest we did/have done.

In addition to those elements joasis listed, from working in the house especially the last couple of weeks while the weather is hot, the house without the AC on remains comfortable. The house has the coolness of a basement even upstairs.

If your building, there's many tweaks to the processes that you may not think about up front. For example fastening an interior wall to the exterior, you can't just add blocking and nail it off. Running utilities in the exterior walls can be a pain. If you don't have access to a foam cutter, buy one, the "only" way to cut out for wire runs and outlet boxes. Oh yeah...the large cans of foam can be your friend! Just don't get that &$^&##$*($*( on you or your clothes, DAMHIKT.

Don't forget to add a boat load of insulation to the attic, no sense having wall efficiency and skimping on the attic. We blew in an R45. We added radiant heat to all concrete flooring in the house; basement, garage, workshop, and covered porch. Our heating is with a Weil-McLain condensing boiler 93% efficient, using a heating coil in the air handler for the forced air, and indirect water heater for the domestic hot water, and it will supply the hot water for the radiant heat when we get ready to hook that up.

As for the TV reception -- IF your house design permits it, put the antenna up in the attic pointed in the general direction of where it needs to be. When the electrical is done, have them put lights in the attic (I used the porcelain sockets with the outlet) with a switch near the scuttle hole. Take off this circuit and put an outlet near the antenna for a booster. No ice problems, no lightening issues.

Post back with questions and I'm sure we can get you going, or confuse you more. Good luck
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Old 07-18-2007, 07:55 AM   #5
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Do you live in an ICF house?


A couple of suggestions I have heard from ICF home owners and people that live in real masonry homes (not just brick veneer).

1. Use a conventional basement instead of an ICF because it is hard to justify the cost difference where insulation is not that important. Waterproofing is and a concrete wall can be left bare in most municipalities.

2. Scrap the wood floor between the basement and the first floor. Use precast holllow core planks and get a 100% open basement with no sound transmission and no COLUMNS. Some plank types will allow you to use the cores for HVAC.

3. Be prepared to build another because people love to buy them when finished and you will not want to live in another lightweight, energy sucking house because of economics and comfort.
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Old 07-20-2007, 09:34 AM   #6
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Do you live in an ICF house?


We did an ICF basement and garage foundation. Did it myself with help from my dad. Based on what I learned I believe a complete ICF house to be a fine investment.

Couple pix of our project.







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Old 07-21-2007, 03:47 PM   #7
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Do you live in an ICF house?


What brand of block system did you use Comp1911?
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Old 07-21-2007, 09:51 PM   #8
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Do you live in an ICF house?


What is a ICF home?

I have never seen a foundation dug this low.

Is there no basement to the house?
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Old 07-23-2007, 06:15 AM   #9
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Do you live in an ICF house?


Quote:
Originally Posted by yummy mummy View Post
What is a ICF home?

I have never seen a foundation dug this low.

Is there no basement to the house?

ICF = Insulate Concrete Form, the most basic description is that you have an inner and outter piece of foam with concrete inside. All in all you end up with 5 to 6 inches of foam (2-1/2" x 2) and what ever thickness of concrete you want/need.

Here's a picture of our basement being poured early summer last year.
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Do you live in an ICF house?-endbasementpour_small.jpg  
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Old 07-23-2007, 06:52 AM   #10
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Do you live in an ICF house?


There is a 3-story ICF home being built right down the beach from us (Albemarle Sound waterfront - no basement). First that I've ever seen here.
What do those basic ICF houses usually cost per square foot vs. a conventional basic brick veneer (start at about $125 PSF here now)?
Thanks.
Mike
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Old 07-23-2007, 07:25 AM   #11
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Do you live in an ICF house?


Quote:
Originally Posted by joasis View Post
What brand of block system did you use Comp1911?
We used Reward.
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Old 07-23-2007, 07:31 AM   #12
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Do you live in an ICF house?


Quote:
Originally Posted by yummy mummy View Post
What is a ICF home?

I have never seen a foundation dug this low.

Is there no basement to the house?
If these questions were directed at me, heres what I think you are asking.

The first two pictures are in process and only show the first course of forms on the footing and all courses on the step footing.

It is a walkout basment as you can see in the third picture.

The fourth picure is of the garage foundation, also built with ICF's.

Hope this helps.

Also here is a pic of the completed house to show the final product.


Last edited by comp1911; 07-23-2007 at 07:45 AM.
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Old 07-23-2007, 07:39 AM   #13
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Do you live in an ICF house?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Swearingen View Post
There is a 3-story ICF home being built right down the beach from us (Albemarle Sound waterfront - no basement). First that I've ever seen here.
What do those basic ICF houses usually cost per square foot vs. a conventional basic brick veneer (start at about $125 PSF here now)?
Thanks.
Mike

Mike,

I've done all the work myself in our house knowing we were going to purchase more expensive fixtures and appliances flooring tile etc. That's why we did it. So again, not a real good barometer on costs. We'll be coming in at about $90 PSF including these items.
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Old 07-23-2007, 08:37 AM   #14
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Do you live in an ICF house?


Thanks for the explanation.

I have never seen foundations done like that before.
Where I live, I have seen wood forms and then the concrete poured in.
And of course, blocks.
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Old 07-23-2007, 08:42 AM   #15
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Do you live in an ICF house?


Quote:
Originally Posted by yummy mummy View Post
Thanks for the explanation.

I have never seen foundations done like that before.
Where I live, I have seen wood forms and then the concrete poured in.
And of course, blocks.
Sure. This is newer technology. The finished wall has a high R value around 30. It has its own problems like everything else but I'd use them again. They also cost a bit more. I paid $20 per block in 2005.
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