Menards now carries Fox Block
Last Post 02 Sep 2009 06:11 PM by dmaceld. 20 Replies.
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ICFconstructionUser is Offline
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18 Jun 2009 07:42 AM
Here in Minnesota Menards has carried Fold-Form for years, it costs more than what I can buy most premium ICFs for. Recently Menards started carrying Fox Block, special order for now. This is good for our industry. If you are a contractor that does business with them, go to your local Menards and tell them they should inform customers of the option when the get a set of plans. Menards sells Fox blocks about $.80 less per sf than Fold-Form.
Brad Kvanbek - ICFconstruction.net
dmoravek1User is Offline
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18 Jun 2009 11:45 AM
Many Lowes have been special ordering BuildBlock Icf's for some time now. There available, but most people are just not made aware of it.
Chris JohnsonUser is Offline
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19 Jun 2009 02:26 AM
This can be both encouraging and discouraging news. It's great that there is another avenue to see ICF be promoted, unfortunately it has the potential to end up in the wrong persons hands i.e. someone with no experience attempting to install ICF without proper support from the factory or a distributor rep.

Chris Johnson - Pro ICF
North of 49
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19 Jun 2009 06:23 AM
Chris,
I would agree that the negatives could outweigh any positives for the ICF industry.
I can just see some 18 year old part time employee explaining the dos and don'ts of ICF construction to the local DIY crowd. You know that these 'big box' stores do not invest the time and money necessary into training qualified sales people.
Wes Shelby
Design Systems Group
Murray KY
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ICFconstructionUser is Offline
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19 Jun 2009 07:17 AM
There is that. DIYs have hurt the ICF industry more than anything else. They screw up their own project and then word gets out that the system is bad, whereas if it had been CMUs or wood framing a DIY screwed up, they would have been blamed instead of the system.

I avoid Home Depot and Lowes as they have a GC licence (at least in Minnesota) and compete with us and out GC customers. Menards does not.
Brad Kvanbek - ICFconstruction.net
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19 Jun 2009 08:43 AM
Railroad tycoon Jay Gould got a frosty reception in Jefferson, Texas, in the 1870s. Jefferson was then a steamboat town and unofficial port of entry for Texas, and saw no need to meet Gould's demands. The robber baron wrote "grass will grow in your streets" in the hotel register and struck out for a dusty little place called Dallas.

I researched ICFs thoroughly when I began planning my home two years ago. I decided the system was not DIYable, and too expensive by any other means. Would I have changed my mind if I had access to Fox Blocks in less-than-truckload quantities? I'll let you know in six weeks. I'm using ICFs for short stem walls under my slab on grade. I'll price it DIY; contracted materials and labor; and contracted labor only. Zero 18-year-olds involved in the decision; or multiple markups either, unless Menard's margin is ridiculous. The last I looked, Fox has a pricing calculator on its website. It is difficult to overestimate the threat the Internet poses to inefficient markets like ICF.

Jefferson dwindled from 35,000 souls to 3,000 within years of Gould's curse. It is a tourist town today, and one of the classic examples of the terror at the heart of America's commercial genius: Change or die.




buddenUser is Online
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19 Jun 2009 06:50 PM

> Jefferson dwindled from 35,000 souls to 3,000 within years of Gould's curse. It is a tourist town today, and one of the classic examples of the terror at the heart of America's commercial genius: Change or die.


Some of us would not regard this as a Bad Thing.
cking2User is Offline
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27 Aug 2009 12:41 PM
I bought about 100 straight 8" and 14 corners for a 22 by 20 foot addition (3 sides, 4th is the existing house)...at Menards

I got them on sale but they normally sell them for about what Fox Blocks charges with shipping. If you get a truckload, Fox gives you free shipping (but a truckload is a lot).

I am a DIY guy but IMHO pretty experienced and I have a69 year old retired engineer geezer (my dad) to help.

Ok, on DIYers...it won't take long to find a professional that is not worth a sh*** and not all DIY guys are created equal. If I was building with all wood or whatever, I would still do my homework and would get help with the parts I am not comfortable with. The fact that Fox Blocks look like LEGOs and are fun to put together does not fool anyone. C'mon, I just spent over $5000 on two truckloads of ICF, trusses, sheathing and shingles. You think I am just going to go buy my first hammer and start in without some homework?

There will always be people who don't take advice or believe bad advice no matter what the building material. I have seen plenty of bad buidling practices with wood (all of my previous homes that I worked on!) but that does not make me think that building with wood is crazy or a bad idea!

Simply put, I think 'most' DIYers are smart enough to know their limits.

-ck
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27 Aug 2009 07:29 PM
Never said anyone was stupid just my obsevations on jobs done by even "pro's" that I know were not properly consolidated. You were right math was not my strong suit but I know you are going to need 16.4457 yds of cement for your job not the 10 from another post. Oh and one for the pump.
cking2User is Offline
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27 Aug 2009 10:38 PM
Don't take too much stock in my rantings...but this forum does seem to dis the little guy a lot.
16 yards? Really? Even if I overestimate on Fox's site I get about 11. One for the pump is good to know though.

You think Fox's material calculator is that far off?
scicfUser is Offline
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27 Aug 2009 10:45 PM
every nine blocks of 6 inch is a yard of concrete. Slightly more on corners.
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28 Aug 2009 07:07 AM
I always do the math the long way, once you understand it, you can apply it to anything. It is the teach a man to fish thing. Just take your wall sf x .67 (for 8") / 27 (cf in a cy) and you get your cubic yards.

I do tend to dis the DIY and inexperienced ICF contractor because it is difficult to do a very good job. A DIY would have an easier time with CMUs and wood framing as there is no re-dos with ICFs. Bad jobs have resulted in a difficult to shake reputation, if DIYs do a bad job with stick framing only the workmanship is blamed. But with a less tested method the method is blamed.
Brad Kvanbek - ICFconstruction.net
cking2User is Offline
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28 Aug 2009 07:44 AM
Thanks for the help. I do appreciate it.

If I take the published volume per block I get about 14 yards. (I actually have 92 straights and 14 corners.)

So, Fox Blocks publishes a volume in their specs, do you think I can rely on that or does your calculations take into account waste/etc. and some extra just in case?

On CMUs, I seriously can't imagine that being easier for me at least. I have never set up forms (old style or ICF) but I have done footings and helped with old style form pours so maybe I just feel pretty comgfortable with concrete. I have never liked CMUs in any case.

But, IMHO, I think any trade will be FAR worse off by poor quality contractors than DIYers. But I can appreciate your feelings on this and as I am not in the business you probably have more experience with people's conceptions than I.

So I guess it is in your best interest to help me. Ha-ha...ck
icfcontractorUser is Offline
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28 Aug 2009 02:38 PM
cking2,

I apologize if you feel a little run over by some of the professionals on this site. When you have been around the ICF industry for awhile you will pick up on the fact that many consumers i.e. home owners, contractors, engineers, designers and architects tend to remember the bad or nightmare experiences people have and rarely remember the great successes. Many of the "pros" that have been around awhile have become very protective of our industry and try hard to give it good name.

As for ICFs being a DIYer project or not depends. Something I always tell homeowners who come to me wanting to build their own project is this, “I can teach you the rudimentary skills to properly install a SIMPLE project in a day.” The one thing I cannot teach you is how to be a good concrete contractor in a day. Pour day is things day this go right or things go wrong. So I usually try to dissuade folks from at least pouring their own project.

Here is why. I am going to list some things a good concrete contractor should be taking into mind and possibly adjusting or changing before, during, and after pour day. (Anyone else wants to chime in feel free.)

1. Forms properly installed. This is a big one, this be done on a continuous basis by the installers and I usually independently verify the forms are ready to pour.
2. Weak spots. Usually most systems take the pour very easily if you don't manipulate the form. I.e. cut, penetrate, or break. You have to pay attention to the weak spots during the pour.
3. Right size pump truck, with the right equipment, and a good operator. This is huge and you only know this information by experience. A pump operator can make the day easy or hard.
4. Right concrete mix. I have learned through trial and error not to trust a concrete company’s mix design by name alone, every concrete company’s idea of an ICF mix is different. I personally look at their mix designs and tweak them as necessary or give them my own. This alone can make or break a pour.
5. Weather. This affects so many things such a labor needed, concrete mix, speed at which to pour, flow ability of the concrete, temp of the aggregate at the plant, and so on.
6. Distance your jobsite is from your ready mix plant. You might need a retardant in your mud.
7. Proper stinger. If you don't own the right one then you need to find the right one well before pour day. Not just any stinger will do.
8. Is the jobsite ready and prepared to receive a concrete pump and concrete mixer trucks? I.e. wash out area or eco pan, properly prepared driveway or access point, the list goes on.
9. Have you made sure that the Concrete plant and the pump are coordinated? Don't want to pay for a pump to sit and idle for 3 hours, nor do you want to have to send a mixer truck back full.
10. Help. Do you have the right number of people for the job? Most people short themselves on pour day and it can be a nightmare.
WOW, we aren't even pouring yet and it is getting complicated. I'll just list some of the pouring issues and let other people chime in.
11. Finally pour day. Is the truck slumped correctly?
12. Does the vibrator size fit the slump being poured? Higher the slump less vibration needed to do the same job.
13. Does the vibrator operator actually know their job and what proper consolidation looks like?
14. Does the person on the hose know what to look for with flow ability, rebar congestion, and a myriad of other things? (Read the ACIs recommendations on the placement concrete)
15. Does the crew know what to do in the event of a blow out? Are all the necessary tools at hand?
16. ...

As you can see cking2 only experience teaches you these things and how to work with it when some one throws you a curve.

ICF Contractor

PS This is why they write volumes of books on the subject.
ICFconstructionUser is Offline
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28 Aug 2009 03:37 PM
I was at Menards today, asking about 6" as I might be short on next weeks job. They don't have 6" at the distribution warehouse so it would be a couple weeks. 8" they have in WI so 3-5 days.
Brad Kvanbek - ICFconstruction.net
woulfccUser is Offline
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29 Aug 2009 10:04 AM
Oh ya just ask the guy in the orange smock he know how to install and pour walls? Good luck on that.
Changing How the World BUILDS!
Green , Done , Easy
Woulf c.c. of Wisconsin
cking2User is Offline
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29 Aug 2009 10:07 AM
Posted By woulfcc on 08/29/2009 10:04 AM
Oh ya just ask the guy in the orange smock he know how to install and pour walls? Good luck on that.


you got your colors wrong...
dmaceldUser is Offline
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31 Aug 2009 09:57 PM
Posted By cking2 on 08/28/2009 7:44 AM
Thanks for the help. I do appreciate it.

If I take the published volume per block I get about 14 yards. (I actually have 92 straights and 14 corners.)

So, Fox Blocks publishes a volume in their specs, do you think I can rely on that or does your calculations take into account waste/etc. and some extra just in case?

Unless you're very experienced with placing concrete I suggest you have a concrete contractor do the the pour. Let him do the volume calculation also.

I consider myself a pretty competent DIYer (engineer by training and profession) but I hired a concrete man to do my concrete work. He calculated the volume of concrete we needed for the footings and for the first part of the wall pour, which came up to just above the floor level. I also calculated the volume needed. My numbers were very close to his.

When it came time to do the wall pour we were crunched for time. I calculated the wall volume using BuildBlock numbers. I came up with about 63 to 63 1/2 cy. Adding for pumper and margin of safety I settled on 66 cy. Because of the time crunch I didn't deduct for the rebar. It can't be that much anyway, right? Because my numbers had been so good the two previous times the concrete man said he'll trust them. Well, you guessed it. We ran long. Near the end of the pour when we started pumping from the next to last truck, which was 60 cy,  Paul put the pressure on me to decide yes or no on the last truck of 6 yds. I wanted to wait because it was beginning to look like we were going to be close to full up in the wall, but relented to his pressure and said order the last truck with 6 yds. It turned out the wall was full up at the end of 60 yds. By that time the last truck was on site. We had no choice but to send him back. That hurt! That was a close to $700 mistake, literally money dumped on the ground at the concrete plant. I wasn't ready to use the concrete anywhere else.

I went back and relooked at my calculations, and refined them as tight as I could, deducting door and window openings to the 1/2" and deducting for rebar and everything else I could figure would impact the volume. It still came out at about 61 1/2 yds. To this day I cannot figure out why the wall was full at 60 yds. I could find no voids anywhere, even under the window openings or in the corners. We were getting great self-consolidation with the concrete, but maybe it was entrapping air bubbles to the tune of several yards. I don't know. All I know is everywhere I probed, and the two or three places I peeled off the foam, there were no voids. Would things have been different if Paul had done the calculation? Probably, but I'm not sure he wouldn't have ended up being a little bit long also, just not near as much.

So, unless you are totally comfortable with being responsible for a possible and costly difference between the estimated and actual concrete volume, let your concrete man do the numbers. Being under can cost as much or more than being over, especially if you're only a 1/2 yd short!

Even a retired engineer can build a house successfully w/ GBT help!
James EggertUser is Offline
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02 Sep 2009 06:05 AM
"Many of the "pros" that have been around awhile have become very protective of our industry and try hard to give it good name"

To say nothing of the time spent learning how to use these forms safely and properly! That learning curve is why there are cost differentials for any project. To just give away what I consider acquired business acumen so someone can DIY their project is a MY choice of how much info I want to provide.

As stated above, everyone wants to do it, then blames a product for their lack of responsibility or knowledge.

You could also call it the "school of hard knocks"!

ICF Contractor......GREAT LIST!
#16- coffee, donuts, brewskis when everything is done for the day!
Take Care
Jim

Design/Build/Consulting
"Not So Big" Design Proponent
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02 Sep 2009 02:51 PM
Why you were long on concrete?  Hmmm...do you really think that the batch plant mixes up exactly one yard that arrives out of the chute exactly one yard?     No way, no how.  Very close, within ACI 304 spec, but not exact.  Now multiply that by 10 trucks. 

You're taking an engineer's mentality and applying it to real life.  Rule of thumb, alot better to dump a load you don't need than to find yourself in need of load that won't appear. 

Besides batch plant error, you have pump priming, webbing, internal bucks, tie wire, conduit, plumbing, etc. in addition to rebar that you have to take into account.  However, while you may get your volume needed calculations, that has very little to do with what flows from the chute.  All in all, your pour in my book was a success.  I usually have something formed up if I think I'll have some extra.  Better on my property than elsewhere.  BTW, that 6 yards may have ended up in the driver's diy project.  GREAT and completely legitatime fringe benefit of driving. 



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