Insulated Concrete Forms (ICF) = Energy Efficiency + Strength + Sound Proofing + Insurance Savings
ICF was developed in the 1970s in New Mexico as a way to make buildings more energy efficient. The technology has come a long way since then and the concept has the additional benefit of strength which makes it a great fit for our coastal environment. ICF homes are also more quiet than a traditional wood frame house and are generally considered to be masonry structures by home insurance providers which can result in significant savings in insurance costs.
ICF is produced by a number of companies and comes in different configurations. The most common option used in our area is a 12" thick block wall which provides a 6" core of concrete to be poured continously around the home's parameter. We recommend that a sealed foam attic system be used in conjunction with ICF to maximize the benefits of a continously sealed wall system. ICF walls and a foam attic are also smart energy features that you will only have to invest in once as there is nothing to maintain or replace.
ICF does cost more than traditional wood frame structures but how much depends on the design of your home plan. We have typically found that ICF adds less than 10% to the total cost, if a home does not have to be elevated for flood clearance requirements. ICF is a great option for elevated/coastal homes as well but the additional cost does fluctuate more than a slab-on-grade style home.
Click on the link below if you would like more specific information on ICF.