ICF vs Solid poured Concrete walls
Last Post 31 Oct 2014 08:48 PM by sailawayrb. 111 Replies.
Printer Friendly
Sort:
PrevPrev NextNext
You are not authorized to post a reply.
Page 1 of 612345 > >>
Author Messages Not Resolved
sphingersUser is Offline
New Member
New Member
Send Private Message
Posts:13

--
21 Jan 2013 04:36 PM
I am in the process of selecting a builder to build an energy efficient home.  After some research I have been leaning towards using ICF construction, Low E windows, Sprayed Expandable polyurethane under the roof, Solar, etc..

Anyway I have spoken to one contractor who state that ICF is "way too expensive" and it is much cheaper to use solid poured concrete instead. He claims there isn't much of an energy difference and is easier to finish.  Can anyone tell me the major differences between the two (as they both are poured concrete) and what are the real energy differences?

By the way the home will be in Central Florida....HOT.

Thanks!


BrucePolycreteUser is Offline
Basic Member
Basic Member
Send Private Message
Posts:435

--
21 Jan 2013 04:51 PM
If he's a small residential home builder, there's no telling what his specific agenda is. ICF is not way more expensive than traditional poured concrete. Particularly in Florida, since you have local manufacturers. If you use traditional concrete forming, the contractor will have to handle forms twice, and each time will take longer per sqft than ICF. He will also have to add insulation -- remember, traditional concrete has almost zero R value. Finishing costs are no different unless you plan to just paint the interior of the concrete wall. I suggest you find a contractor accustomed to working with ICF and get his price. Hell, get three or four, there should be no shortage of ICF builders in your area.


jdebreeUser is Offline
Basic Member
Basic Member
Send Private Message
Posts:329

--
21 Jan 2013 05:16 PM
If that contractor thinks that there's not much of an energy difference between ICF and poured concrete, you need a different contractor.


ICFHybridUser is Offline
Veteran Member
Veteran Member
Send Private Message
Posts:2918

--
21 Jan 2013 07:34 PM
Yep, same BS I heard when talking to contractors who didn't know much at all about ICF.


LbearUser is Offline
Veteran Member
Veteran Member
Send Private Message
Posts:2305
Avatar

--
21 Jan 2013 08:37 PM
Posted By jdebree on 21 Jan 2013 05:16 PM
If that contractor thinks that there's not much of an energy difference between ICF and poured concrete, you need a different contractor.

Exactly.

I'm sorry but your contractor is a moron. Run, run as far away from him as you can and find someone who knows what they are talking about.


onesojournerUser is Offline
New Member
New Member
Send Private Message
Posts:30

--
22 Jan 2013 09:05 AM
The construction industry is afraid of anything new. I think it really comes down to laziness.


http://icftfsystemshome.blogspot.com/
sphingersUser is Offline
New Member
New Member
Send Private Message
Posts:13

--
22 Jan 2013 10:25 AM
Thank you very much for your help. I have heard some issues with siding or stucco sticking to the Outer foam. Does something specialized have to be done? I imagine folks who use ICF have figured out a way to side it w/o problems.


BrucePolycreteUser is Offline
Basic Member
Basic Member
Send Private Message
Posts:435

--
22 Jan 2013 10:43 AM
There are many "stucco-type" finishes for ICF. All of the top manufacturers make products specifically for ICF. You should look at Gigacrete and PermaCrete. Just Google them and you'll find them. Both are highly respected top quality companies.


smartwallUser is Offline
Advanced Member
Advanced Member
Send Private Message
Posts:586
Avatar

--
22 Jan 2013 11:10 AM
You have quite a few icf manufacturers molding their blocks in Orlando so shipping should not be a problem


jacktcaUser is Offline
Basic Member
Basic Member
Send Private Message
Posts:177

--
22 Jan 2013 01:53 PM
Everyone has a mistake or two that stands out as "the big blunder" in their building experience. You are about to repeat the same big mistake I made. I was going to build a small 8'x10' bathroom using ICF's. I already had the foundations and slab with the vertical rebars sticking out. Along comes the neighbor and his mason buddy. They explained to me how I am stupid and naive and they are smart and expert and know it all. His buddy wanted to earn a buck and make the wall out of concrete blocks instead because he was familiar with that way of doing things and didn't know a thing about ICFs. Dummy me agreed. They told me I could line the insides with styrofoam after the fact. The only problem with this logic is that insulation of any kind does not adhere to concrete easily. I had to have insulation. During the winter the high desert gets freezing cold, often 20F. Water pipes and faucets inside the bathroom freeze and subsequently leak or burst. I could have used 2x4's and fiberglass insulation inside and then the already cramped bathroom walls would be 24 inches less than 8'x10'. The inside of the bathroom would be 6'x8'. I ended up using 2"x2" (actual size 1.5") furring strips and 1.5" styrofoam to line the inside walls. On top of that I used 1/4" durarock drywall. I could have also used styrofoam on the outside of the walls but again I would have to connect and tie it to the walls somehow. Anyway, to make a long story short, it was a long difficult arduous task to fix this mess created by the mason who wanted to earn a buck and build the thing the old fashioned way because it's the only way he knew how. Lesson to be learned here is that when you start talking ICF to people who build things they interpret what you are saying as "I want to make it out of concrete" and that translates to "I can do that just as well out of concrete blocks or concrete pour". But it's not the same thing. Not even close. They're trying to sell you something that they know how to do well. You'll be stuck with something you never wanted in the first place and won't know how to fix easily.


BrianBaronUser is Offline
New Member
New Member
Send Private Message
Posts:76

--
22 Jan 2013 02:29 PM
Better tends to cost more, all of the things you listed cost money, as I am sure you already have found. Good windows, Quality and well done spray foam, solar, and yes... ICF cost more than building a cheap trac home. Much like a Mercedes costs more than a Kia, you get what you pay for. Contractors that have no experience with today's energy efficient building methods are the Achilles heel of our industry today, but with the changing codes they may be faced with adaptation vs. early retirement as it will no longer be an option.

Find a builder that has experience building energy efficient homes and has a passion for it, that is the one you want to team up with. The end result you get will be something that you love, and will pay you back the extra money you spent when your AC cycles a tenth as much as your neighbors, or less...

Good luck on your journey, and don't let a lazy builder deter you from what you truly want your home to be!


papitoheadUser is Offline
New Member
New Member
Send Private Message
Posts:12

--
22 Jan 2013 04:56 PM
I agree with all the comments here. Most builders just want your business their way. So shop around and make the right decision.


LbearUser is Offline
Veteran Member
Veteran Member
Send Private Message
Posts:2305
Avatar

--
22 Jan 2013 07:00 PM
Posted By BrianBaron on 22 Jan 2013 02:29 PM
  Contractors that have no experience with today's energy efficient building methods are the Achilles heel of our industry today, but with the changing codes they may be faced with adaptation vs. early retirement as it will no longer be an option.


I agree. I talked with one builder not too long ago who is totally against the 2012 IRC and the tight energy requirements. He has been building for 30 years and while a good builder, he refuses to see the reasoning behind making tighter and more energy efficient homes. He comes from the school that houses need to leak air through the walls as houses need to breathe. He doesn't see the value in putting more insulation within the walls, it's R-19 fiberglass batts (Zone 4) and anything over that is overkill in his opinion. I don't even bother bringing up anything energy wise, as it's no use trying to convince him.

When I brought up ICF, he thought it was total overkill and a waste of money. He uses CMU and then frames out the interior walls and stuffs R-19 fiberglass batts between the studs.

Either these builders get with the progress or they need to retire or find something else to do. The 2012 IRC will have a hard time being accepted in many areas and many builders will resist the change.




Dana1User is Offline
Senior Member
Senior Member
Send Private Message
Posts:5533

--
23 Jan 2013 11:09 AM
Posted By Lbear on 22 Jan 2013 07:00 PM
Posted By BrianBaron on 22 Jan 2013 02:29 PM
  Contractors that have no experience with today's energy efficient building methods are the Achilles heel of our industry today, but with the changing codes they may be faced with adaptation vs. early retirement as it will no longer be an option.


I agree. I talked with one builder not too long ago who is totally against the 2012 IRC and the tight energy requirements. He has been building for 30 years and while a good builder, he refuses to see the reasoning behind making tighter and more energy efficient homes. He comes from the school that houses need to leak air through the walls as houses need to breathe. He doesn't see the value in putting more insulation within the walls, it's R-19 fiberglass batts (Zone 4) and anything over that is overkill in his opinion. I don't even bother bringing up anything energy wise, as it's no use trying to convince him.

When I brought up ICF, he thought it was total overkill and a waste of money. He uses CMU and then frames out the interior walls and stuffs R-19 fiberglass batts between the studs.

Either these builders get with the progress or they need to retire or find something else to do. The 2012 IRC will have a hard time being accepted in many areas and many builders will resist the change.



A good builder knows the difference between being vapor-open enough for water vapor to  "breathe"  it's way out compared to being air-permeable.  This guy is FAR from what I'd describe as a "good builder", even if his stuff is all straight, flat, & plumb, with good finish detail quality.

Building air-leaky barely-insulated homes is pretty forgiving from a moisture management point of view, since air-transported moisture leaves almost as quickly as it arrives, especially when the materials are warmer due to lower R values.  But that type of resilience is paid for in much higher energy use than necessary.  It's not that tough to build a resilient structure that is also energy efficient.

Building to IRC 2012 in zone 4 isn't tough, not tough at all- the guy should just get out of the business.  (Seriously- under IRC 2012 a zone-4 stick built wall is only an R20 2x6 cavity fill or R13 + 5c.i. proposition. In a 2x6 wall that can be had with 2.5lb density damp-sprayed cellulose or high-density batts, at only a modest uptick in installed cost from the miserable-performance low density R19.)


galoreUser is Offline
New Member
New Member
Send Private Message
Posts:40

--
23 Jan 2013 09:36 PM
My all-concrete house (basement, 2 floors above ground, concrete floors & roof) has poured-in-place concrete walls. Not ICF (which I think are a very good product). I used 4" EPS on the outside of the concrete walls for insulation. The EPS was placed inside the concrete forms before the concrete was poured. The concrete and the EPS bond extremely well and my walls have the insulation on the outside, where it counts the most. I have all the thermal mass on the inside, in spades (8" concrete walls, 4" concrete floors & roof, 6" concrete interior walls).


robinncUser is Offline
Basic Member
Basic Member
Send Private Message
Posts:491

--
23 Jan 2013 10:16 PM
Why would you use 6" concrete for the 'interior' walls?


galoreUser is Offline
New Member
New Member
Send Private Message
Posts:40

--
23 Jan 2013 10:30 PM
Because I like the solid feel.


BrianBaronUser is Offline
New Member
New Member
Send Private Message
Posts:76

--
24 Jan 2013 12:27 PM
Posted By galore on 23 Jan 2013 10:30 PM
Because I like the solid feel.


So... 4" was sufficient for the floor and roof, but not a interior wall??


jonrUser is Online
Veteran Member
Veteran Member
Send Private Message
Posts:4297

--
24 Jan 2013 06:09 PM
Not ICF ... I used 4" EPS on the outside of the concrete walls for insulation.

A perfectly reasonable design if the price is right. But don't expect the concrete's thermal mass to be of any help when the AC is running 24x7.

I think you can do better than spray polyurethane for a roof.


galoreUser is Offline
New Member
New Member
Send Private Message
Posts:40

--
24 Jan 2013 07:28 PM
The 6" interior walls are that thick because I like the look and feel of thick walls.

Also jonr must have misunderstood. The roof insulation is 24" of type II EPS, sloping.
Not 4", that would be silly and not code compliant.
I don't know why my AC would run all the time with R19 walls, R108 roof, triple pane passive house certified windows and lots of thermal mass inside?!


You are not authorized to post a reply.
Page 1 of 612345 > >>


Active Forums 4.1
Membership Membership: Latest New User Latest: mrudella New Today New Today: 5 New Yesterday New Yesterday: 3 User Count Overall: 28861
People Online People Online: Visitors Visitors: 248 Members Members: 24 Total Total: 272

GreenBuildingTalk

Welcome to GreenBuildingTalk, the largest, most active forum on green building. While you can browse the site as a guest, you need to register in order to post.

Register Member Login Forum Home

Search Directory

Professionals Products

Get Free Quotes

Tell us about your building project and get free quotes from green building professionals. It's fast & easy! Click here to get your free quote.

Site Sponsors

For Advertising Info:
Call 866-316-5300 or 312-223-1600

Professionals Serving Your Area:

Newsletter

Read the latest GBT Newsletter!

Copyright 2011 by BuildCentral, Inc.   Terms Of Use  Privacy Statement  Free Quotes  Professional Directory  Advertising Programs