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Insulated Concrete Form (ICF) Buildings

In the Mix with Cemstone’s Business Development Engineers

John Lee, P.E. & Jim Grothaus, P.E.

February 22, 2024

For decades, Cemstone has committed resources to working closely with ICF manufacturers, the best ICF builders and installers in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, and beyond. ICFs, short for Insulated Concrete Forms, are a double insulated stay in place concrete forming system for above and below grade walls. ICFs are made of expanded polystyrene (EPS), which serves as the insulation, and recycled plastic ties which are used to hold the insulation panels together. ICF’s are designed to be stacked, locked together, and then filled with concrete to create a solid, insulated wall. Discover below the advantages of using ICFs and the building types into which they are most commonly integrated.

what are the benefits of BUILDING WITH icfs?

Insulated concrete forms are a major player in the change towards sustainable, ​resilient and high-performance construction for all building types.

So, what specific benefits do ICFs offer over traditional options like wood, and what factors should compel more owners, designers, and builders to adopt this method of construction?

Building Performance:

  • Affordability: ICFs save money through ease of construction, fewer trades on site, low maintenance and greatly reduced energy costs over time.
  • Increased Insulation: ICF buildings offer continuous insulation, which make the nearly 60% more energy efficient when compared to traditional wood framing.
  • Sound Attenuation: Due to the insulation (EPS) and the concrete, ICF structures are very quiet.
  • Environmental: ICF walls are nearly 60% more efficient in heating and cooling a building. They can contribute to the LEED rating system and are often used with Passive House construction.

Health and Safety:

  • Health: ICFs do not support mold growth, and there is no off-gassing which improves indoor air quality.
  • Safety: ICF structures withstand tornado winds up to 200 mph and are fire-resistant, enhancing safety and security.
common Insulated concrete form buildings

Based on the many benefits, ICFs are now being used to construct the following types of structures across the country in lieu of steel or wood:

  • Educational facilities
  • University and college dormitories
  • Multi-family housing
  • Single-family housing
  • Senior housing
  • Hotels
  • Office buildings
  • Places of worship
  • Movie theaters
  • 911 critical facilities such as fire stations and clinics
  • Municipal buildings

To learn more about ICFs and to see if it’s the right fit for your project, contact Cemstone’s Business Development Engineers. Jim Grothaus, P.E. and John Lee, P.E. will use the latest industry tools to analyze your specific job-site and offer you recommendations with the goal of creating a successful, cost effective, long lasting concrete building.