Unprecedented severe weather events are striking the country with greater and greater frequency. From uncontainable wildfires in the West to snowstorms in the Gulf Coast, tornadoes in Tennessee to mega-drought in the Rocky Mountains, forces of nature are putting our buildings to the test like never before.
And frankly, many common building materials, such as OSB and insulated metal panels, aren’t up to the task. Wood-based OSB panels shrink and swell in the presence of moisture and are also at heightened risk of fire and insect damage. Insulated metal panels have notoriously poor sound insulation, which makes them a poor choice in areas prone to heavy winds, and are easily corroded when introduced to water, with rust leading to diminished R-value.
Due to these types of limitations, contractors are increasingly turning to insulated concrete forms (ICF) as a framing solution. ICF framing involves placing concrete and reinforced steel into hollow panels--made of expanded polystyrene insulation--separated by cross ties to provide a concrete core of up to 12 inches. Before placing the concrete, the interlocking panels are stacked and locked into place, becoming further fortified once the concrete sets.
This type of construction provides many benefits when building back areas ravaged by natural disaster. Some of the most pertinent include:
Termite, mold, and pest resistance
Best-in-class fire protection
Virtually no cracks or crevices in the framing, creating an airtight structure for unparalleled energy efficiency
High thermal mass for less drastic temperature fluctuations
An STC sound rating over 50
While these few examples are impressive in and of themselves, they cannot adequately tell the whole story of ICF’s prowess as a framing solution.
Keep reading the following infographic by Fox Blocks to find out about everything you should know regarding ICF construction.