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Old 01-16-2015, 09:20 AM
Location: Central Atlantic Region, though consults worldwide
266 posts, read 316,231 times
Reputation: 95


Originally Posted by BBMW View Post

What construction methods do you prefer over ICF.

As far as the thickness of the ICF foam, I've seen some mfgrs that are making asymmetric blocks. Would this address they issue you're talking about?

Do you prefer the waffle style ICFs or flat interior? As far as the flat wall systems, I know you can go thicker, but most seem to standardize on 6" concrete thickness. Unless you where going more than two stories, would there be any need to go thicker? Any, by what you're saying, I assume you upgrade the rebar thickness/placement density from the standard specs.

Wafflecrete systems are nice, no doubt about structural integrity.

Open D is also correct. Most all ICFs foam forms are over priced relative to other foam products, economy of scale. Not always the case though.

Of the major foam manufactures who also sell ICFs products, such are priced to ride a profit wave driven by specialized ICF form makers. Granted, the major manufactures pre-cut the material for use with respective ICF products, the cost per sf is outrageous compared to 4x8 board stock foams. I prefer post and beam ICFs because these types not only use less concrete they also possess a vastly higher resistance value.

There is little a grout filled CMU (block) wall with steel inserted can't do that solid concrete wall do. I kinda hate to say this but more often than not concrete structures can be a bit overboard, 6-8 inches at most for the bulk of applicable projects.

As for CMU: Without getting into to many details: Suppose one dry stacked CMU in a checkerboard fashion, overlaying corners working upward. Black means a CMU block occupying a space, white means an open void for future concrete fill. A wee dab of construction grade polyurethane adhesive secures each block in place. Steel, of course is installed. Whether the interior or exterior surface- standard foam, cement board, plastic sheeting w/wallboard, or even FRP is applied with adhesive.

Would one not only save on concrete and need for a mason, also obtain the normal benefits of masonry, and still install remarkably fast? Vibrated concrete seeps into all nooks and crannies to lock all as a monolithic system. Do not worry about concrete bonding to CMU or CMU to CMU bonded with concrete - it will in unavoidable ways. Install a 4-5" slump at controlled elevations every 20-30 minutes or so and there you have a one day-two day finished pour.

Pouring at controlled elevations is vital for some ICFs because every ICF & CF has its unique resistance to lateral force of wet concrete. Of course, all the necessary utilities are pipes in, as well as other fasteners. Heck, you can even laser level the top of form to true level and trim ready the top or sill plate with anchor bolts ready to cap off a bond beam for the system.

So, if interested in saving money, still want the fast install, and better economics... do not think any project is limited to one certain method or solely limited to a single system - albeit traditional singe system or unorthodox or hybrid also being of equal delivered effective. ICF, insulated concrete form... there really are no limits (except safety) as to what any form be. The only true attention to detail not mentioned is square, straight, plumb, and true.

ICF, despite its "lego-like" nature, is and always will be initially a "remain in place" form system. That is to say, unless one removes the interior foam and re-installs the foam on the exterior, where it should be.

Concrete is masonry, time is money. Anything that can accelerate finished product without sacrificing safety, quality, adaptability, and benefit is mighty fine with me.

Just provoking thought.

Great Post!

FYI: Anyone interested in knowing advantage of embedding hePex within concrete walls DM me. Let's just say earth temps are a fantastic source of aiding thermal regulation of concrete temps, year round. Install a solar PV pump or a low watt pump and you've got a winning combo.
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Old 01-16-2015, 09:27 AM
Location: Central Atlantic Region, though consults worldwide
266 posts, read 316,231 times
Reputation: 95
Originally Posted by tijlover View Post
I've seen houses under construction in Mexico using this method, but I didn't realize the forms were the expensive part, I thought it was the concrete!

At any rate, if I could afford it, and being a true paranoiac about fires, I'd sleep much better in one of these houses.

Only when concrete or other non combustible surface upon which a sheetrock or like material is placed will offer you true piece of mind about fire resistance.

The normal ICF is foam. Some foams do offer little or no fuel to open flame so keep your eyes open for that quality.

You may desire a stucco or plaster coat applied directly to the concrete structure. If this then is your desire for near ultimate fire protection, I recommend a minimum of R-20 with inclusion of a radiant with venting system on the exterior.

You'll just be amazed of the comfort and energy conservation...

Note: There other ways to achieve the piece of mind you seek, vastly more affordable and euqally safe.

Nice post!
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Old 01-31-2015, 12:38 PM
10,824 posts, read 9,251,107 times
Reputation: 6525

Your CMU idea seems interesting but a bit overly complicated. It doesn't address insulation at all until after the fact (ie, build the structural wall, then insulate it.) It seems like it would be a slower build than ICF (working with smaller pieces that are heavier to deal with for the same area covered. In the end, you still need rebar and concrete pours. From what your saying, the only downside you see from ICF, is the cost of the blocks themselves. I would think the speed and ease of construction might offset that.
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