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Using ICFs to build the entire shell of the house?

February 10th, 2008

A new option has presented itself to us for the framing of the house.

We had initially planned on using Insulating Concrete Forms (ICFs) for the foundation walls of the house, but it has been suggested by a number of people that we may want to consider using ICFs for the entire shell. Some of the benefits include

  • Longer lasting and more durable than wood-frame construction
  • Fire resistant
  • Termite proof
  • Improved sound resistance
  • Highly insulative
  • Extremely low thermal bridging

We’re still working out what the cost of switching from the high-efficiency wall design we have now to an ICF would be, but we think it’s an excellent candidate.

We recognize there may be added embodied energy from using so much concrete, but if the house will stand for 1000 (?) years instead of 100-200 years for a wood-frame house, that seems worthwhile.

Our current ICF of choice would be Durisol, since they use recycled materials instead of styrofoam to structure the wall, and additional insulation is provided by mineral wool (Roxul).


Posted by Colin