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Concrete Homes

Homes Built With ICF's

Cast-in-Place Walls

After A Hurricane...

HOMES BUILT WITH CONCRETE WALLS Using ICF’s (Insulated Concrete Forms)

Just like the computer sciences, where innovations seem to come fast and furious, the construction industry has finally had a break through with the use of ICFs (Insulated Concrete Forms), as a system of home building using concrete walls.

Volatile lumber price gyrations, sudden supply disruptions exacerbated by the US-Canada Softwood Lumber Agreement, and rising environmental concerns have prompted the concrete industry and many builders to take a look at concrete as a cost-effective, quality alternative to wood-frame construction.
For the homeowner the advantages of a concrete home building system over wood framing are tremendous: superior strength, durability, greater energy efficiency and disaster resistance, less maintenance requirements increased sound absorption, proven resistance to fire, higher living comfort through good indoor air quality, and a lesser environmental impact. Moreover, concrete itself can be recycled. For the builders, the advantages of using an ICF system are that the costs are less volatile than lumber, elimination of the insulation contractor and the site waste is reduced substantially.
Great efforts from the Portland Cement Association (PCA) are being made to educate builders and homeowners about concrete walls systems as a great option to home building. According to a recent PCA survey the awareness of ICFs and number of homes built using above-grade concrete walls had an impressive 350% increase since 1993.
Consumers like the solid feel of a home built with ICFs. They can be built to look like any other home whether contemplating colonial, contemporary or any other design. Homes built with ICFs have thicker walls and deeper window wells that add to their beauty, and they can be clad with any traditional lap siding material, brick or stucco.
ICFs are interlocking blocks of stay-in-place polystyrene insulation (8" thick x 1’ tall x 4’ wide), reinforced with steel, and filled in with concrete providing for the homeowner a stable foundation for the attachments of wall coverings, in addition to a superior effective R-value rating.
Because of the unparalleled strength of concrete, houses built with ICFs can withstand winds up to 120 miles per hour. In fact, some insurance companies offer discounts on homeowner policies for houses built from concrete. They are perfect for areas subject to hurricanes, floods and tornadoes.
Concrete houses also stand up to another force of nature – fire. Concrete itself does not burn, of course, and the materials used to construct ICFs are treated with flame-retardant additives. When subjected to intense heat, these additives emit fumes no more toxic than those given off by burning wood.
Figures vary according to square footage, but in general, homeowners can expect to pay roughly up to 10 percent more per sq. ft. for a house with concrete frame than for one with traditional wood frame. Keep in mind, however, that the above-standard insulating properties of concrete can reduce utility bills and because of the increased energy efficiency of a concrete house, heating and cooling equipment can be physically smaller than in a conventionally wood framed house.

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