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ICF construction advice

Don Johnson

Don Johnson
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Question, we are getting close to starting our build in No Idaho and we have the option to go traditional wood framing or ICF foam block/concrete. Our GC is fine either way and explained that ICF used to be more expensive but with lumber costs where they are it is actually a bit cheaper. I have researched the pros and cons and want to hear from others their thoughts.

Thanks!
 

Rbcconst

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Question, we are getting close to starting our build in No Idaho and we have the option to go traditional wood framing or ICF foam block/concrete. Our GC is fine either way and explained that ICF used to be more expensive but with lumber costs where they are it is actually a bit cheaper. I have researched the pros and cons and want to hear from others their thoughts.

Thanks!
Pro’s great insulation and energy performance. Good for fire zones where traditional builds have a hard time getting insurance. Quiet inside. Very efficient home and cheaper to heat and cool.

Cons:
Your air seal will be at net zero so you better add a continuous ventilation system or the house will be stuffy all the time.

Electrical and plumbing are difficult to run and will likely cost more then traditional.

Remodeling in the future would be really expensive.

You need to make sure you have all the electrical you want because you will not easily add anything.

Overall its a win and great constructed house. I don’t think it would be less or equal in cost to traditional. Id say if you can do it I would but make sure to talk to someone who has done it and lives in one so you can pick there brain on mistakes they made.


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wallnutz

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We went in one in Colorado when it was still under construction. The guys working on it said it stayed almost exactly the same temperature all the time.
I agree with making sure you have everything you will ever need built in. The one we went in they had put extra PVC conduit in every room for future stuff.
 

Singleton

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ICF is great, you just have to plan the plumbing and electrical for today and tomorrow.
friend In WY is building with it. They went way overboard on electrical placement, but said it will allow us to update in the future without major issues. House is being wired for combination of lighting options (wall mounted, ceiling mounted, etc).
 

NicPaus

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If you search on here there are pictures of the 2 I built on my street. Was not a huge benefit with our weather here in So Cal. Mainly used them as I put in basements to gain sq ft as it was 2 on a lot. Electric was easier except setting boxes. Plumbing was a bitch. I ran all the waste lines and my Plumber buddy did all the supply. Basement pretty much stays same template always. I used 8" Fox blocks for basement 6" for first level and framed the second. Biggest hurdle was structural engineers not familiar with it.

Any place it snows or hot like Havasu would be a huge benefit. Easy to build I had done 1 project before and only had to sub out the HVAC and handrails. Rented the braces-scaffold from the Fox block sales rep. Same owners that bought them in 2013 and they have gone up $350K in value.
 

Xtrmwakeboarder

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There are some good reads on this forum. http://www.greenbuildingtalk.com/

I’m not an expert, but geeked out on the technology when doing some research. Eventually when I build my own house in N TX, it will be with ICF. To me, the benefits far outweigh the costs when building where there is real weather. “Tornados”

The only thing I’ve heard consistently is get someone that knows what they are doing. Possibly specializes in ICF. You do not want to be the test dummy.
 

rrrr

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The only thing I’ve heard consistently is get someone that knows what they are doing. Possibly specializes in ICF. You do not want to be the test dummy.
I was about to post the same comment. My wife's aunt built a house with ICF, and her husband had to almost live at the site to make sure it was built correctly.

Best of luck to you. Building a new home is an exciting part of one's life.
 

NicPaus

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The Fox Blocks sales rep was always there to answer questions. If you needed anything he would stop by. Level and square footings just like a framed house are key. I bought a hydraulic rebar bender and cutter that sped up the process. Used them on the last pour in place project I did as well. It was a lot of #8 rebar which was easy with the hydraulic bender and cutter. Much more time and effort to set up the pour in place.
 

TITTIES AND BEER

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I worked on 2 in st g , one the guy built it close To the Santa Clara river it was a mess he did owner build , he didn’t put enough bar in the cells he didn’t grout every cell nothing was square . Well back when st g had big floods the river came up big time undermined it and it just fell apart like flint stone blocks and went down the river .The other was done by a GC it was built like a brick shit house and turned out very nice , both got stuccoed , also did a hay bail house
 

Don Johnson

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Thanks everyone for the very useful input!

Had a conf call with my architect and GC yesterday and we have decided to go with ICF construction on the home and shop/adu. Our GC has done many builds with ICF and is very comfortable with the challenges ICF creates, he uses Fox which appears to be the leading manufacturer in this construction.
 

NicPaus

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With these crazy prices of lumber I would think most would be switching to ICF where the R value is needed. I would not hesitate to use FOX blocks again if I was to build another ICF house.
 

Xtrmwakeboarder

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Thanks everyone for the very useful input!

Had a conf call with my architect and GC yesterday and we have decided to go with ICF construction on the home and shop/adu. Our GC has done many builds with ICF and is very comfortable with the challenges ICF creates, he uses Fox which appears to be the leading manufacturer in this construction.
Awesome! Do a thread if you can.
 

spectras only

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Fellow at our racetrack is a GC. He owns Extremehomes in Penticton where I live. He builds a massive home for himself on 10 acres with ICF. We have hot weather in the summer and cold in the winter, especially in higher elevation his place is up in the mountain.
R ratings are highest with ICF, so it's a no brainer to use. As other's mentioned, you need good ventilation. Radon levels are common in the Okanagan region here, my house has low levels so I don't need airpump to mitigate. If your place is suspect to radon gas[ uranium in the area ] have air samples taken for analysis and consult the builder for air pump installation. I'll take a picture of his project next time I'll go to visit him.

GC finished this place for my buddy, using ICF for the added garages. One to the side of the house and the extra large garage for more toys, The main part of the house was already built on true concrete before my buddy bought the foundation on 10 acre. Place is nearly 3000 feet above sea level, so a bit more snow up there.
https://extremehomebuilders.com/penticton-custom-build/

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rrrr

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GC finished this place for my buddy, using ICF for the added garages. One to the side of the house and the extra large garage for more toys, The main part of the house was already built on true concrete before my buddy bought the foundation on 10 acre. Place is nearly 3000 feet above sea level, so a bit more snow up there.
https://extremehomebuilders.com/penticton-custom-build/

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That's a killer contemporary build. I really like it. The owners and the architect produced a home that is a great example of the genre. The construction materials and methods are an excellent choice for the climate challenges of the location.
 

TITTIES AND BEER

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I just remembered our basement is made out of these also , dont go dow their much
 
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