Insulated Concrete Forms (ICFs) are becoming an increasingly popular option among owners, builders, and designers for both below grade and above grade applications for numerous reasons, including:
Recently, a comprehensive study by CLEB LABORATORIES was conducted comparing the thermal performance of a traditional wood framed wall to that of a 6” ICF. The results show the ICF wall had 60% LESS ENERGY loss that its wood counterpart. In other words, an ICF structure could yield UP TO 60% IN SAVINGS every month for the life of the structure! This difference is due to several factors, including the continuous insulation of an ICF (ie, no thermal bridging at studs), the inherent air-tightness of a solid concrete wall, and the thermal mass effect of a large volume of concrete. You can view the Press Release and Full Report HERE.
The #1 reason Prairie ICF’s customers choose to build with ICF is for the energy efficiency. However, the most common feedback we hear is that the home/commercial building is extremely quiet. With a Sound Transmission Class (STC) rating of 50+ (for 6” and greater core size), NUDURA’s Insulated Concrete Forms are an effective barrier against noise caused by traffic, wind, etc.
At the core of a completed ICF wall is steel-reinforced concrete. By combining concrete (high compressive strength) with steel (high tensile strength), ICF walls provide unmatched levels of strength. Hurricane ratings of up to 402km/h (250mph) can ensure occupant safety in the harshest conditions (watch a Debris Impact Test on a NUDURA wall HERE).
Forms, such as NUDURA, comprised of Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) are a totally inert product with no off-gassing of CFC’s or HCFC’s. Also, EPS foam has no nutritional value to allow for growth of mold. Lastly, the air-tight design of an ICF building allows the mechanical system to control the heating, cooling, and ventilation - by virtually eliminating the passive movement of outdoor air, a healthier living/working environment is created.
Fire ratings up to 4 hours vs. only 20 minutes for wood framed buildings ensure high levels of occupant safety. Several insurance providers are now even offering DISCOUNTED INSURANCE PREMIUMS for full ICF homes!