Lite Form Insulating Concrete Forming System?

Old 03-21-05, 09:49 PM
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Question Lite Form Insulating Concrete Forming System?

I was wondering if anyone has used this product. We are building a new home and my husband is pretty adament that we use this. Can anyone give me any input and price ranges?

Old 03-22-05, 07:39 AM
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Form Insulating Concrete Forming System

The ICF system is not always as easy as it seems. If done right, it can provide a home many times superior to wood construction and many time more durable. After you have lived in a concrete or masonry home you won't settle for anything else, as has been shown in most other contries. Wood is a minority building system in the rest of the civilized world.

ICFs are more expensive than wood, but is a better long-term investment.

Items to consider are:

1. Stacking the forms is not as easy as it seems despite the light weight. They must be stacked square and vertical. The flexible nature of the product makes it difficult.

2. The forms must be braced well to resist wind, that can rack the forms so they are difficult to bring back before pouring concrete. Corners and other non-symetrical areas should be areas of concern during the pouring of concrete. Concrete exerts high forces that are difficult to restrain until it has set up.

3. Learn the proper way to place concrete. You do not pour it!! Wood butchers pour it. Permanent forms are a good way to hide poor concrete placement.

4. Forget about all the traditional concepts of moisture barriers and vapor barriers - they are based on the performance in conventional residential frame construction. Use common sense considering the properties of the materials used and the climate.

5. Take a good look at avoiding the wood floor that will shrink and pull away from the structure, eliminating any lateral support it may provide. In time, any wood in the house will shrink much more than the concrete.

6. Rethink the traditional over-sized furnace designed for lightweight, leaky, flexible structures. Systems for wood homes are designed to compensate for the variable properties of fiberglas when installed in many different ways. Recognized the thermal benefits of the mass of the house (thermal inertia). Do not oversize the furnace and invest in an air-to-air or other efficient make-up and ventilation system. The comfort level of this type of house is superior to any other type of construction.

I hope this helps a little.

Old 03-23-05, 10:49 AM
Join Date: Mar 2001
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Sounds like my wife about 2 years ago. I looked into ICF construction prior to building my current house. I too am comvinced it is the best way to build a new house. However I did not do so, due to several factors:

1 Cost, the ICF manufacturers say it "normally" costs 2 - 5% more to build an ICF house vs wood frame. I found it more like 10%. Yes I understand the long-term advantages, but my budget was stretched already without the extra 10%.

2 Good quality ICF builders. I could not find what I considered a good quality builder in my area that I was comfortable with. I interviewed a couple, but never got a comfortable feeling / rapport with them. They also did not have a good enough track record for me.

3 Price estimates were hard to get. Understandably the contractors did not want to spend their time & efforts on a client that was not committed, but equally understandably I did not want to spend $1,000 - 2,000 to obtain a firm quote / estimate only to find out it was 10% out of my price range.

4 Finally, we felt that the ICF type of construction would not be understood by potential future buyers and could negatively effect the ultimate resale of the house. Something I still consider an issue.

Despite all of the above, I am still solidly convinced ICF is the best building method out there, its just not widely accepted yet. There are times now when the Southwest corner room in my current house is hot during the summer, when I hear road noise, or hear the wind howl during a storm that I wish I had been more persistent in building an ICF house. Oh well that will have to wait 15 - 20 years until the next house. Retirement house with no kids around. Good luck.
Old 03-24-05, 06:37 AM
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We built my parents house with this system. It is like putting up legos. My brother and I read the instructions and we had neighbors over to do it one weekend. When it came to the corners everyone was puzzled and went to the old house to talk to my dad. When they came out my 12 year old brother was allready half done with one corner. It takes a kid to understand a lego system I guess. It does take alot of bracing(bottom, sides, ladder system on top, 2x4 bracing from ground to ladder system.) All of this the manufacture tells you how to do and is very simple. Our forms were strong and correct. Not one blow out if done right. My parents love it and so do I. When I get enough money I will do it myself some day. Some people say that it cost to much for all that bracing but you use it in the building of the home inside. No waste!! We followed the exact instruction and no problems. I know of someone here in nebraska that does these exact forms and he never has had a problem if done right and that is the key. No shortcuts. Are you planning on doing it yourself or hiring a contractor?
Old 03-24-05, 09:43 AM
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Great info! Thank you so much. You are in Nebraska too?

My husband is building the home on his own. Taking off 4 months to do so and hopefully we are able to get a CO by then and finish the rest over time. The basement construction plan is very easy. It simply has 4 90 degree angles. Did it really only take one weekend? That is amazing, does that include pouring in the forms and the floor?

Also, since you have done this, can you tell me if you were able to pour all at once or if you had do to it in lifts. We have 9' basement walls and would love to pour it all at once but I have heard different things about what you can and can't do.

Thanks again!
Old 03-24-05, 12:41 PM
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E-mail me at ...and I can tell you more or even on the phone. Don't be afraid of doing it yourself. If you follow the instructions you will have no problem. If you are in nebraska I can tell you where some homes are that you can look at. I will tell you the pro and cons af other companies and some not what to do things as well. I am a contractor myself in omaha.
It is a good product and is alot of fun but time consuming work. We had some prep work done first before we put the forms in place. Yes. We poured 8' walls all at one time in one afternoon.

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Last edited by majakdragon; 03-24-05 at 04:08 PM. Reason: Email address not permitted in posts
Old 03-24-05, 03:57 PM
Join Date: Mar 2005
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Form Insulating Concrete Forming System?

One of the best sources for information on ICF homes is on the Reward site. Use Reward and ICF on Google. For other systems use ICF and concrete. Reward has the most complete information including design information and construction details. Each is about 50 pages of PDF print-outs.

This system has licensed dealer in most areas. The licensing company is located in Omaha, NE.

One word of warning - This applies to all concrete placement. Do not get too anxious and pour a portion full height and move on to another portion. Also check the walls for plumbness as you pour and vibrate the concrete.

Pour up a few feet, move on to another section and so forth around the structure. Then go back and repeat this again, vibrating the fresh concrete into the previously placed concrete until you get to the full height of the wall. When you have completed go back and check the elevation of the wall to make sure the top is level. Use a water level or laser or anything, but do not measure from the top of the forms. This will make everything that is done later much easier.

Pouring the concrete too fast to the full height all at once causes segregation and permits watter to bleed out forming weak spots and channels for possible cracks and leakage. Because the wall is covered, you will never know if the wall is really good or not.


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