Tuesday, January 26, 2010

ICF - insulated concrete forms

 We chose to use ICF's for the foundation of the house.  Ours I believe are from Eco-block.  The concrete contractor had used them before and was comfortable with using them.  The IFC's cost a bit more but it  gave us the advantage of being quicker to setup and it would insulate the slab which would help with the radiant floor.  It also has the added benefit of protecting from frost heave.

Frost Protected Shallow foundations

If you are thinking of using ICF's I would recommend looking into a way to protect the foam that is above grade.  It needs to be protected from the sun and also from sharp objects and abuse.  Ours ended up being covered with a latex type of plaster.

I was driving by a strip mall under construction and noticed that there was a crew applying a plaster over the rigid foam insulation.  I stopped by and talked to the owner of the plaster company and talked to him about what I needed to cover my ICF's.  After talking to him he convinced me that it would be worth my money to have two of his guys come and do it for me.  It was a small job that would require special scratch coats and final coats.  He came and looked at my foundation later in the day and said they could do it in two mornings, one for the scratch coat and one for the finish.  For a couple hundred bucks it looked really good and has held up perfectly.  I regret that I can not tell you the name of the product use.

The other issue that we encounter was how to use the ICF's and pour a slab floor.  What we came up with was to break the Styrofoam on the inside walls down about 4 inches and leave the outside Styrofoam at full height.  The wall would be poured flush with the lower inside wall.  Then the slab would be poured to the outside  foam.

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