Pros and Cons of Insulated Concrete Forms

Pros and Cons of Insulated Concrete Forms

June 24, 2020

Insulated concrete forms (ICF) are an excellent way to add energy efficiency, durability and soundproofing to your custom-built home in Santa Fe, NM. Insulated concrete forms are becoming increasingly popular in home construction, thanks to their ability to keep utility costs low while adding strength and reducing the carbon footprint.

Is an insulated concrete form right for your home building project? Here is an overview of how they are made, and the advantages and drawbacks of using them.

How insulated concrete forms are constructed

Insulated concrete forms in Santa Fe, NM are made with two panels of thick foam, which are joined together by metal rods. Once they’re placed where the foundation will be constructed, concrete is poured between the two panels. This creates a thick, solid panel that’s already insulated.

These concrete-filled panels are used to create the foundation, but they can also be used to create the walls of a building. The result is an ultra-durable home with great soundproofing and excellent R-value.

Advantages and drawbacks of insulated concrete forms

Here’s a closer look at the pros and cons of insulated concrete forms:

  • Soundproofing: Whether you want to keep some sounds in your home or shut the rest of the world out, the soundproofing that ICF offers is unbeatable. Traditional wood and insulation construction can’t stack up to the power of concrete and foam insulation.
  • Energy saving: With the thick, insulated walls of an ICF-based home, you’ll prevent heat transfer between indoors and outdoors. Your HVAC system won’t have to work as hard to keep the temperature regulated, saving you money—in fact, homeowners see an average of 30 to 50 percent reductions in their utility bills with ICF.
  • Resistant to mold and rot: Mold can easily infiltrate wood construction, causing structural damage, major hassles and even health hazards. ICF is much less likely to suffer water damage, thanks to its foam and concrete construction.
  • Fire and weather resistant: Your ICF walls and foundation are resistant to fire and have even been known to stand up through hurricanes, which means you’ll save money on your insurance premiums when you go with this option. They’re called “1,000-year homes” for a reason.
  • Environmentally friendly: If you build your home with ICF and solar panels, you can achieve a “net zero” home—one whose carbon footprint is much lower than a traditionally-built home.
  • Cost effective: ICF used to be prohibitively expensive for the average homeowner, but today the cost is just about on par with wood construction. The average cost ranges from $14 to $20 per square foot.
  • Harder to remodel: When you have concrete and foam walls, remodeling is more difficult and labor intensive. Make sure you have a floor plan you can live with for decades, or be prepared for more expensive remodeling costs.
  • Somewhat less floor space: Because ICF walls are thicker than wood construction, you’ll have slightly less floor space than if you had opted for a wood structure. However, this tends to be an unnoticeable difference.

Interested in insulated concrete forms for your Santa Fe, NM home? Call Apple Construction LLC today to learn more.

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