Advantages of ICF House
There are many advantages of using ICF blocks to build your house:
Significant energy savings:
In a study by the Portland Cement Association, ICF house saved up to 50% on heating and cooling costs over wood-framed homes. The poured concrete walls provide an excellent thermal mass, which helps maintain an even indoor air temperature. This also allows you to spend less on a smaller HVAC system.
Severe weather resistance:
Concrete houses have survived tornadoes and hurricanes in areas where wood houses were flattened. When they are properly engineered, they should also withstand earthquakes.
Texas Tech University conducted a study to determine the suitability of ICFs for above-ground storm shelters, wood stud “missiles” fired under tornado conditions were unable to penetrate ICFs.
Significantly lower insurance premiums:
Insurance premiums can be up to 50% less with ICF homes, especially in areas where severe weather (hurricanes, tornadoes, etc.) is common.
Faster construction time:
ICF construction eliminates several steps as compared to wood construction (such as sheating and insulating exterior walls)
In many areas of the country, termites are a major problem. There is nothing for termites to eat in an ICF house.
Significant exterior noise reduction:
Studies have shown that about only one-third of exterior noise penetrates an ICF wall as compared to a wood-framed house.
The ICF walls themselves perform similar to a wood-framed wall with R-30 insulation. However, the actual R-value is actually R-40 or higher when air infiltration (leakage). ICF walls eliminate air leakage, which can represent 20 to 40% of the heat load requirements of a typical wood frame building.
Four times the fire resistance of wood-framed homes:
Traditional wood framed walls can withstand only 15 minutes to 1 hour of fire; whereas concrete walls can withstand up to 4 hours.
Using ICF blocks to construct a 2,000 square foot home will also save almost 50 trees. And they’re health-friendly, too: ICF blocks contain no formaldehyde or other toxic gases that could affect indoor air quality.