The construction industry has undergone several technological developments in the last few years. New inventions, such as the use of sustainable building materials, prefabricated buildings, effective contractor scheduling software, and automated machinery, have simplified building design and construction. Concrete building constructions have advanced, with brick-laying robots and insulated concrete forms increasingly becoming popular.
Insulated concrete forms are innovative building materials made from polystyrene foam. ICF was primarily used to build the foundations of commercial structures. However, more builders have realized its benefits and currently use ICF in walls of single and multiple-story buildings. Below are the benefits of using ICF for building construction. However, these benefits can only be realized by hiring construction experts like Excel Builders.
1. Better Thermal Insulation
ICFs are well known for their extreme thermal efficiency, providing better insulation and effectively eliminating the need for homeowners to install conventional thermal insulation appliances. Most homes constructed using ICF blocks easily achieve the “A” insulation rating for their energy efficiency.
Living in a house with high energy efficiency means that homeowners need less energy to heat their homes, significantly lowering energy bills. Though not surprising, homeowners who use insulated concrete forms enjoy over 60% reduction in HVAC bills. ICF walls also allow homeowners to downsize their HVAC units, reducing installation and maintenance costs.
ICF walls also resist moisture, rot, and mold growth. This makes them an excellent choice of material for constructing the basement. Along with these resistance properties, the additional thermal efficiency means you shouldn’t necessarily install thermal insulation in the basement. However, this depends on how cold it gets in your region.
2. Better Structural Integrity
Insulated concrete forms are durable and provide better structural integrity than wood and other construction materials. As mentioned, they are resistant to moisture, rot, mold growth, and other elements that affect a building’s structural integrity. ICF walls are also resistant to tough weather conditions and seismic activity.
The durability of insulated concrete forms is attributed to the steel ties used between ICF blocks. These links solidify ICF walls and keep them intact all through. ICF homes can survive arson, wildfires, storm surge, and even impact from drunk drivers. They also offer blast and ballistic protection, making ICF blocks a favorite construction material for military and law enforcement.
Due to its durability, weather shelters and buildings in areas that experience severe climatic conditions currently prefer using insulated concrete forms. Homeowners who use disaster-proof construction materials, such as ICF, now enjoy low insurance premiums.
3. Faster Building Speed
Building using insulated concrete forms is easy and not labor-intensive. ICF blocks are made from polystyrene, which makes them lightweight. The middle is also hollow to accommodate concrete and steel ties. ICF blocks are designed with grids that interlock, allowing for seamless stacking. This simplifies the construction process, as it involves stacking ICF blocks, like Lego blocks.
ICFs’ fabrication style significantly reduces the time that would otherwise be spent on aligning blocks in conventional building styles. Contractors can also save time by using a concrete pump to pour concrete to fill the hollow blocks. While this might cost slightly more than traditional building techniques, it saves on labor costs, which evens the cost difference.
4. It Provides Better Acoustic Insulation
Noise pollution has, of late, become a concern for most homeowners due to the dense population, busier nightlife, and more operational cars and machinery. While avoiding noise pollution is almost impossible, homeowners can proactively minimize their exposure to noise pollution by using construction materials that provide better acoustic insulation.
ICF is a good option for homeowners who want a peaceful home environment, regardless of noise problems in their surroundings. Unlike other construction materials, where soundproofing becomes an afterthought, ICF offers natural soundproofing abilities. These blocks are incredibly thick and solid, minimizing sound permutation.
Insulated concrete foams are an excellent choice for residential structures where peace and tranquility are vital. They are also excellent for commercial structures, such as movie theaters, where soundproofing is a must for the primary functioning of the building. ICF eliminates the budget for conventional insulation.
5. Easy Installation of Plumbing and Wiring
Insulated concrete forms make it easier for builders to install plumbing and wiring. They can easily cut or drill grooves through the foam to pass the plumbing and wiring components. This can’t be compared with conventional building materials, where pipes and wires go through segments that should be sealed using spray foam insulation.
Using insulated concrete forms for construction is beneficial in many ways. However, working with new and unfamiliar construction materials can prove challenging, especially for new homeowners. If you are in this fold, consider hiring construction experts who’ve specialized in using ICF blocks.