How Insulated Concrete Foam Is Used How Insulated Concrete Foam Is Used

Insulated concrete foam (ICF) is an exterior wall system that has been taking the place of regular concrete foundations. Instead of going through the process of laying concrete forms, pouring concrete and them removing the forms, it is easier to just build the whole foundation with insulated concrete foam.

An ICF system boasts incredible strength, great insulating properties and low sound transmissions. Not only can these systems be used for your foundation, but they can also be used to build above-ground framing.


When working with ICF, look at the entire system rather than the single cost of a sheet. Because they are lighter, easier to work with and do not require many of the materials and steps involved with regular concrete foundations, it is a relatively inexpensive way to build a foundation. Costs range from $2 to $3 per square foot, while conventional means can be $6 to $7 per square foot.

Working with Insulated Concrete Foam

Working with ICF is much easier than doing normal form work. The pieces are all the same shape and size and are much lighter than working with wooden or metal forms. You can save a lot of time in the process by not having to set up vapor barrier, tear down forms or add insulation.

Why Use Insulated Concrete Foam?

ICF provides incredibly efficient insulation. It has an R-value that is much higher than regular foundations and building materials. It actually contains over 97 percent of the R-value it has even when it is installed when damp.

Boasting an incredible R-value of over 21, it has been estimated that the monthly heating and cooling costs are lowered by 75 percent. Most home owners can reduce the actual size of their heating units by over 50 percent.

How It's Used

Insulated concrete foam is generally thought of as being used for foundation purposes. It has been widely used for this purpose for several years, and many contractors exclusively using this type of foundation. A foundation system can be used in different ways:

  • Stackable Blocks - These come in a variety of shapes and sizes and are generally stacked on top of the each other, supported with braces and rebar.
  • Large Blocks - These are a block system, but they use more foam and steel while using less concrete.
  • Sheet Foam Systems - These require assembly on site. This is quite easy to do, but takes time to complete.

House Framing

Insulated concrete foam is quickly becoming very popular as a material used to build the actual  frame of a building. Because of its incredible insulating properties, many home owners are choosing to use an ICF as a means for building their home.

ICF is used today to help home owners decrease their energy consumption and build much more energy-efficient homes, either through the foundation, the frame of the home or both.

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