ICF or Stick-Built Garage Walls?
Last Post 25 Jan 2009 03:21 PM by Chirp Frog. 12 Replies.
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polakseUser is Offline
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22 Feb 2008 03:08 PM
 
Pardon my inexperience and ignorance, but I'm new to ICF (actually, I'm pretty new to residential construction, in general!)

I want to build a house using ICF exterior walls.  The house footprint (not including garage) is simple (only 6 corners) and about 1500 sqft.  At this point, I'm planning on using a continuous 6" thick ICF wall for the basement, 1st floor, and 2nd floor.  The garage (either 2 or 3 car, not decided yet) will be single story and attached to the side of the house.

I am using radiant heat throughout the house.  Basement will have tubes in the insulated slab, and the 1st and 2nd floors will utilize a WarmBoard subfloor.  I also want to install radiant heating tubes in the insulated garage slab (the house will be in a colder, mountainous climate).

Based on that info, I have some questions for you ICF gurus...

  1. With cost in mind (both initial construction and long-term utility), would you recommend building the garage walls using ICF as well?
  2. If so, should there be an ICF wall between the garage and the house?  or should the ICF wall be continuous around the house and garage, with a stick-built wall separating the garage from the house?
  3. If the garage wall is constructed using ICF, are there extra considerations to take into account, to prevent the garage slab and walls from cantilevering away from the house and basement walls?  Or do standard footings under the garage slab keep the house and garage tied together?
Thanks in advance for the help,
Scott
FarmboyUser is Offline
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22 Feb 2008 04:56 PM
Scott, I'm not an ICF guru, but did a cursory materials only cost comparison of ICF vs stick for my garage. 84LF of 6" ICF with rebar per manufacturers tables, 9'4" walls, (didn't include drywall on interior of ICF). OR stick built 2x6 walls 9'4" filled with 3-5" of Icynene foam, 1/2 drywall interior, 1/2" OSB exterior. I subtracted 180SF of wall for doors/windows but didn't account for common wall materials.

Results: 6" ICF/$3097 vs 2x6/$1614 so 6" ICF costs $1483 more in materials.
4" ICF/$2666 vs 2x6/$1614 so 4" ICF costs $1053 more in materials.

Response to your questions:
1. You will have to decide your acceptable cost threshold. I am going ICF around my garage.
2. If garage is ICF, then I would go 2x6 or larger for common wall and ensure it is constructed appropriately. If garage is stick, then most definitely I would make the common wall ICF...protect the living space.
3. Our home will be slab on grade with standard footings, including the garage floor. The garage floor will be level with home slab (wheelchair access, ADA) and will slope away from house. I sure hope the footings will keep it all together. Also plan radiant tubing everywhere, including garage.

You've come to the right place to seek info. I'm sure others can and will provide additional inputs.


James EggertUser is Offline
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23 Feb 2008 09:37 AM
Based on your simple explanation of your home, I would use ICFs for the garage foundation, use ICFs for the common wall, otherwise you wind up with a 2 story "U-shaped" ICF structure because you have no way to transition back to ICFs above the garage walls. You can detail the end of wall without connecting the completed perimeter, but a 2 story open end makes me somewaht nervous! This is not a detail you should run with if posted in this forum!!!

In doing the garage foundation with ICFs you don't need a different foundation sub, you can make the transition in wall hgts from the basement to the lesser hgt garage foundation. Keep in mind that as heating costs CONTINUE to rise, you very well make decide to leave the garage unheated, although having the radiant in place is a future selling point. This way you have the ICF envelope for the house, and you could insulate the garage frame walls only if you want to.

Keeping mind the typical code mandated 5/8 dw common wall between the house and garage, you may decide to leave the garage unfinished and select other items of value for the interior based on your lifestyle!

In general, if there is no living space above the garage, why spend the money to heat your car? Once in a protected environment like an unheated garage, it'll start....
Take Care
Jim

Design/Build/Consulting
"Not So Big" Design Proponent
FarmboyUser is Offline
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23 Feb 2008 10:23 AM
Jim is right about avoiding the "U shaped" ICF walls. I've run into this situation in another area of our house and the designer suggested we fill the gap with stick framing, but I wasn't comfortable...want ICF all the way around.

I should have read your house description more closely. My garage connects to a single storey section of the house so I don't have to account for a 2nd storey. Easy to go either ICF or stick for the common wall.



Jim is right about
polakseUser is Offline
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23 Feb 2008 02:11 PM
Good advice all around, thanks.  The garage would also act as a workshop, which is why I'm interested in keeping it insulated/heated.  But it may be more economical to build the garage out of 2x6 sticks, insulate well, and have some baseboard or ceiling radiant that I can turn on prior to working out there.  Then make the common house wall ICF all the way up to the roof, so I have a complete ICF envelope for the house.  I think that's my plan for now.

Thanks again,
Scott
irnivekUser is Offline
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23 Feb 2008 07:40 PM
We advocate both full ICF garage, and partition wall between living and garage. Some homeowners who have opted out, wish they had spent the money to do it best....

1/An ICF garage is easily converted into a great room or in-law apartment.
2/Often the garage is an extra buffer for noise pollution
3/Depending on the curcumstances, transitioning from ICF to frame garage will make insulators, framers whine and they upcharge the consumer.
4/If ICF person is on site already they have bracing and pump already job costed. We tell the consumer they basically get our labor for free for the partition wall and the cost works out close to the same with better finished product....


Bottom line is, why not spend the money on the structure, for at the end of the job, all the money will be spent anyways and better on the structure than frills.....
Add your frills later.


Kevin
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26 Feb 2008 04:57 PM
Some questions I might ask is what do you intend to do in the garage, how much noise might that activity make, and what is on the other side of that partition wall? You have indicated at least some desire for a workshop, I don't know what kind of equipment you are using but I have a fairly large air compressor in my garage and when that thing comes on it is loud. With an ICF partition wall, you cannot hear that in the room on the other side of the garage. Just something to think about. Me, I would ICF the garage and ICF the partition wall.
polakseUser is Offline
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27 Feb 2008 11:21 AM
Posted By KCMOKen on 02/26/2008 4:57 PM
Some questions I might ask is what do you intend to do in the garage, how much noise might that activity make, and what is on the other side of that partition wall? ...
Nothing that makes much noise, although I do have an air compressor (it's smaller, and not too loud).  On the other side of the wall is the mudroom and laundry.  I think I've reached the conclusion to do the garage in ICF as well as the shared/partition wall... if I end up going with ICF.  My budget is really tight.  I'm starting to lean towards the direction of an ICF basement with stick framing for the 1st and 2nd story: 2x6 on 24" centers, advanced/efficient framing, rigid exterior insulation, blown insulation inbetween studs, airtight drywall envelope.  The house will be in a colder area with up to 10,000 HDD (deg F), and I'm having a hard time justifying the cost of ICF.  If the house was in a warmer climate, especially where termites and/or strong winds/storms are present, then the safety and durability of ICF would make the decision easy.  But for me, my primary goal is low energy use (both during construction and after).

southwindUser is Offline
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02 Mar 2008 09:44 AM

Garages normally use a large number of block and most of our clients opted for stick frame unless we had someone that intended on spending a lot of time in the garage. And yes, I would build the wall between the house and garage with ICF.

I would say we built 20% of garages with ICF.

 

p2a3w4e5User is Offline
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07 Mar 2008 11:19 AM
But how you are going to coneect garage if the garage footing is higher than basement footing?
FTMbuilderUser is Offline
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24 Jan 2009 10:30 AM
I was just wondering what your price on foam was for this project? At $2.00 a sf I am coming up with a cost of $1512 for foam leaving $102 for 2x6/ sheetrock, and OSB? can you help me with you math?
ICFconstructionUser is Offline
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24 Jan 2009 11:27 PM
Most of ours are all ICF, garage walls and house between house and garage. If you are planing on heating the garage yes. I find that an ICF garage makes a good man-home, but you need to put a lock on the door to the house so the wife can't get in.
Brad Kvanbek - ICFconstruction.net
Chirp FrogUser is Offline
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25 Jan 2009 03:21 PM
May I recommend that you speak with homeowners that have built full structure icf and those that have bullt the way you are leaning. The icf occupants are sure to straighten you right up.Do you still plan on using radiate heat throughout? This type of heating is expensive. Your investment into full structure icf construction would provide a greater ROI than the heating system. The icf will pay for itself during the life of numerous heating systems. Icf will outlast and outperform any stickframed system out there. What type of cooling system is planned?Themal mass and radiate heat make for warm feet and cool heads. Where is the mass with stickframe?


Stacking one block at a time!

What were your cooling plans?
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