Insulated concrete forms or ICF are stacked in the shape of walls. Steel fibers or steel re-bars are used to strengthen the wall further, and reinforced concrete is put in the hollow center. This creates a layer of good insulation. Continuous insulation reduces the thermal bridging through the wall. The most common ICF types are hollow blocks. However, you can also find plank and panel ICF systems in the market.
Blocks systems use hollow core blocks, which are stacked and interlocked like Legos. These blocks are generally 12 to 16 inches tall and 4 feet in length.
Panel systems are generally 1 to 4 feet tall and 4 to 8 feet long with a flat rectangular shape. They are connected via ties or brackets.
Plank systems are generally 4 to 8 feet long and 8 to 12 inches tall. They are connected with eyes or brackets.
A few important considerations when looking for the best ICF block would be excellent dealer and manufacturer support, regional manufacturing and local inventory, code compliance, easy installation and finally, energy efficiency. Here are some crucial tips to help choose the best ICF.
- Go for a manufacturer and dealer who offers superior support levels. There are a few crucial support areas that an ICF manufacturer should emphasize.
- Knowledgeable regional managers who ensure installers have been through the company training program.
- Availability of professionals to visit the job site to train the workers and solve issues
- Technical representative’s availability on the phone to answer questions during the construction
The ICF system should be really available in the location of the project. Some suppliers ship from a limited distance while others transport their products nationwide, but the cost is higher in this case. The price quote must always include the shipping charges.
For the ICF block system, approval by the building code of the model depending on the project location is essential. The ICF system should also be in accordance with other building codes depending on the region.
The ICF block system should be easy to assemble compared to the plank or panel ICF systems. This is what makes the block ICF system a better choice. The block systems arrive in a completely pre-assembled manner at the job site. All the job crew has to do is with the units back together. In the case of the panel as well as plank systems, however, more jobsite assembly is needed. Therefore, pre-assembled units are a better selection, especially if the labour charges are high and construction time is limited.
R-value of an ICF product is a measurement of how effectively the ICF block stops the heat transfer.
Finding the best ICF block would depend on your needs and requirements at the construction site. There are many types of ICF blocks available with LitCore. You can discuss with them which type of requirements and needs to have and buy the ICF accordingly. For more information, click here – LitCore.ie.