Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What's so great about an ICF house or building?
Comfort, quiet, energy savings, strength, durability, and style.
- Comfort: The sandwich of an insulator (foam) and massive structural material (concrete) provides a stable, even temperature inside and stops drafts.
- Quiet: The reduction in traffic and storm and lawn mower noise is striking. You have to experience it to appreciate it.
- Energy Savings: The superinsulation cuts fuel bills by 30-45% on average.
- Strength: Survival of hurricanes and floods has been demonstrated. Settling and vibration almost disappear.
- Durability: Concrete is a material for the ages. The walls do not rust or rot.
- Style: ICFs can take any conventional finish. Curves and odd angles are easy.
Q: How much do ICFs cost?
- Little or nothing extra.
- Studies have found that the cost of a new ICF home is about 1-5% more than an ordinary wood-frame home. Some new commercial buildings have actually been less expensive than they would have been with conventional wall materials. And since ICFs are still new, the costs are declining.
- For prices of particular brands, check out "Currently Available ICF systems". The brands highlighted in yellow have hot links to the sellers, who can give you detailed pricing information.
Q: How can I find someone who builds with ICFs?
On this web site's Directory of ICF Products and Services. It will take you to a list of ICF products and services. Click on "Contractors" for a list of U.S. and Canadian states and provinces. Pick yours for a list of ICF contractors in your state.
If you want more names, go to the Directory and click on "Distributors". These are the people who sell the product to contractors. Find the ones in your home state and contact them for the names of local contractors they deal with.
One final method is to ask the companies that produce the products. At the Directory click on "Insulating Concrete Forms" to get a table of all the brands of ICFs sold in the U.S. and Canada. The ones highlighted in yellow have hot links to their sellers, who can usually locate a local contractor for you.
Q: How can I get product prices, specifications, and so on?
Direct from the producers, who are listed on this web site's Directory of ICF Products and Services. There are over 40 producers of ICFs in North America, and this site lists them all. The ones highlighted in yellow have a page of basic information and a hot link to the seller's own web site, where you can get even more info or e-mail the producer with specific questions.
Many other pages of this site have general information about ICFs, including Types of ICFs and Building with ICFs .
Q: How can I get tips and techniques for building with ICFs?
Go to Building with ICFs, the ON-LINE CONSTRUCTION MANUAL , "Distributors" at the Directory of ICF Products and Services or "Insulating Concrete Forms" at the Directory.
Building with ICFs presents a brief, illustrated overview of how ICF buildings are constructed. It's a good place to start.
The "ON-LINE CONSTRUCTION MANUALl" breaks the construction process down into steps, with diagrams that present the most common ways to do each step plus messages from contractors about tricks they've developed and from ICF companies about what they recommend for each step.
The "Distributors" listed on the Directory are the people who sell the product to contractors. Most sell only one brand, but they can give you tremendous detail on that brand, and some can direct you to a job site where you can see construction in progress.
"Insulating Concrete Forms" at the Directory will give you a table of all the brands of ICFs sold in the U.S. and Canada. The ones highlighted in yellow have hot links to their sellers' sites, with lots more information and usually a way to contact the seller with specific questions.
Q: What other sources of information are there on ICFs?
Other sites, magazines, periodicals, trade associations--and you can find them listed here.
You can check our MAIN MENU to see if what you want is covered on this site. But you can also go to the INFORMATION SOURCES page for a comprehensive listing of the many other publications and organizations that have sprung up to serve the rapidly-growing ICF industry.