The Straight Scoop
ICF - Fact vs. Fiction

There has always been misinformation spread about ICF forms. Today we set the record straight.

ICFs Are Too Expensive

The Cost of ICF Construction

If you have done much research on ICF construction you have most likely come across a post or comment somewhere on the internet claiming that ICF construction is WAY MORE EXPENSIVE then stick-built structures.

We are not sure where these commenters are getting their data but simply is not true. Yes they do cost more but when all costs and benefits are considered we think you will find this difference minimal.

  • The total cost to construct an ICF home is typically 7-10% more than a stick-built home.
  • Consider now that an ICF structure is somewhere between 30-60% more energy efficient.  That will save year after year on your energy bills.
  • Due to the increased energy efficiency and thermal-mass, your home's HVAC system can be downsized saving on equipment costs.

Stick Built Can Be As Efficienct as ICF

This has to be one of the greatest stories ever told by traditional builders.

It is quite possible for a stick-built home to have the same R-Value - and quite possibly a higher R-Value -  than an ICF home, but that is where the efficiency battle ends.  There are two major differences between stick-built homes and ICF homes and no matter what a builder does they can never measure up to an ICF home.

Thermal Mass - The concrete walls of an ICF home will always, ALWAYS, have a larger thermal mass than a stick-built home.  This large thermal mass allows for a much more gradual transition between the interior air temperature and the exterior air temperature, greatly improving the efficiency of an ICF home.

Air Infiltration - While stick-built structures have come a long way with the addition of zip panels and other materials, these homes still can not match the near-zero air infiltration  achievable with ICF.

Deeper Dive
A Further Look At Thermal Mass and Air Infiltration

Thermal Mass

Effects of Thermal Mass

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Air Infiltration

“Controlling heat flow, airflow, moisture flow and solar and other radiation will control the interactions among the physical elements of the building, its occupants and the environment. Of these four, airflow “merits major consideration mainly because of its influence on heat and moisture flow” (Hutcheon, 1953). Airflow carries moisture that impacts a material's long-term performance (serviceability) and structural integrity (durability). Airflow also affects building behavior in a fire (spread of smoke and other toxic gases, supply of oxygen), indoor air quality (distribution of pollutants and location of microbial reservoirs) and thermal energy use. One of the key strategies in the control of airflow is the use of air barriers.”

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