ICF stands for Insulated Concrete Form, a proven and innovative method of construction. Don’t let the word “concrete” intimidate you into thinking that we’re talking about a cumbersome heavy-duty method requiring crews of masonry experts. The forms are made of lightweight foam. The concrete which provides the structural integrity of the building is poured in place only after the lightweight forms are set up. Quick Forming Walls Reduce Labor Costs With traditional construction methods, a concrete or block foundation is laid, followed by timber or block framing, most commonly a combination of both. Heavyweight block and lumber methods require significant time and muscle power, as well as variously skilled tradesmen just to get through the primary framing phase of the project. Traditional construction can be hampered by weather, material delivery delays, and contractor absences and postponements. Not so with the ICF strategy. Walls go up fast and strong, with much less manpower. Expanded Polystyrene Foam (EPS) used to make the ICFs is extremely lightweight. Two men or women can put up a wall where six or more may have been required using traditional framing or blocking techniques. The forms are easily cut or modified with a handsaw. A cordless Sawzall can be used for longer cuts, so construction can begin even before 120-volt power is available at the site. One Job, One Contractor Coordinating independent contractors can be quite a project in itself with traditional construction. With ICF projects a single contractor accomplishes construction of the foundation, framing, forming, insulation, and waterproofing. These are jobs which might require five separate contracting trades otherwise. DIY Potential of ICF Construction There aren’t many homeowners who would contemplate tackling the challenge of building a home themselves, using traditional building methods. The ICF process, however, is easy to learn for first time builders consulting with a skilled and licensed ICF trainer. Since ICF requires only basic tools and results in extremely strong concrete walls, there is no better construction strategy for the Do-It-Yourself inclined homeowner. ICF dealers usually have tools, alignment equipment and scaffolding available for rent, so it isn’t necessary to purchase these items for just one job. Energy Efficiency for More Savings When construction is complete the resulting ICF home is much more energy efficient than traditionally built homes. This enables the use of smaller heating and cooling equipment. According to this report at Proudgreenhome, savings of 20-25% can be expected in annual heating and cooling costs. Check out our website for more information on how to get your ICF project underway.