Logix ICF Logo

How Insulated Concrete Forms Offer Stability in the Face of Rising Lumber Prices

Print
Email
Build your home with high-performance insulated concrete forms and avoid the risk and uncertainty of price fluctuations. Learn more to see how a durable, energy-efficient ICF home is more affordable than ever.

The past year’s been quite the rollercoaster for lumber prices. Trading at about $0.28 per board foot in the first month of the COVID-19 pandemic, lumber tripled in price by September of 2020, coming in at roughly $1 per board foot. That wasn’t the end of the ride — after briefly dipping only 2 short months later, the cost per board foot then soared once again to the $1.40 it is at the time of writing. After a 400% jump in a single year, where lumber prices will go from now is anyone’s guess.

Building With ICF and Concrete Reduces Financial Risk and Uncertainty

As a builder, you’re used to uncertainties — that’s why you always aim to include a healthy contingency in your projects’ budgets. That said, it is a very risky proposition to “guesstimate” your costs for framing — a scope that can make up to 18% of the total construction costs, according to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB).

Sadly, if you’re building with lumber today, there’s no way to safely estimate the material costs for framing accurately.

On the other hand, concrete and ICF prices have seen far fewer fluctuations since March of 2020. This, despite the ongoing public health crisis, a wild election cycle, unprecedented financial relief packages, and economic conditions the likes of which we haven’t seen in generations.

This level of price stability means predictable construction costs, reduced risk, and a higher probability of meeting your projected expenditures.

By choosing ICF instead of lumber, you can retain control over a midrise building’s project costs even if the design cycle stretches out to 2 or more years (1+ years for single-family homes).

If you were to choose lumber, you’d subject your project to unnecessary risk, as the costs of wood could change drastically, wreaking havoc on your budget and financing arrangements.

March 2021 - Building Material Price Index

Don't miss a thing!

Subscribe for the latest in the ICF world, exclusive content, insider industry news and limited edition webcasts.

One Thing Is Now Certain About Lumber Prices — They’re Now on Par With the Costs of ICF Construction

It’s cheaper cost was the only edge that lumber ever had over ICF. Now that it’s gone, these numerous advantages of ICF homes come at almost no premium to the home or building owner:

  • Energy efficiency — ICF homes are airtight, have a high thermal mass, and their walls are free of thermal bridging. Thanks to these attributes, ICF homes keep warm indoor air from exfiltrating, retain heat longer when temperatures outdoor temperatures fall and block heat transfer through structural components.
  • Disaster resilience — ICF homes have proven resistance against the many natural disasters that plague North America, including earthquakes, wildfires, floods, and tornadoes.
  • Comfort — their airtight walls prevent cold drafts and block moisture ingress.

As a builder, you can now offer your buyers all these benefits for the price of a standard wood-frame dwelling while at the same time reducing your own risk of financial exposure to due the volatility of lumber prices.

ICF Can Also Streamline the Construction Process

That’s because ICF construction has far fewer moving parts than the traditional, stick-built wood-frame method. When you use a product like Logix ICF, each ICF block gives you 6 distinct building components:

  • Concrete
  • Reinforcement
  • Insulation
  • Air barrier
  • Vapor barrier
  • Furring strips
6 Construction Steps in One with Logix Insulated Concrete Forms

Not only do you not need to order these elements individually, but you also require fewer trades to get the job done.

Your framing crew, for instance, could quickly build an ICF basement and foundation on their own. In fact, building with ICF lets you have up to 50% less skilled labor as a percentage of your crew!

These efficiencies translate into a more streamlined construction process, fewer conflicts, and less potential for scheduling delays.

Being the “ICF Shell Specialist” Is a Profitable New Niche in the Cottage Industry

In a new trend, some ICF contractors now focus only on building the ICF shell: footings, slab, foundation, exterior walls, floors, roof, and openings, all of which can be built with a single crew.

In this case, everything else — from interior finishes to landscaping — rests with others (usually the owner-builder acting as the GC).

Many ICF shell specialists enjoy avoiding the headaches of dealing with multiple subcontractors, change orders, and substitution requests, and it’s a stellar way to insulate yourself from risk.

Wrapping It Up

The construction industry may be living through uncertain times, but one thing has definitely become clear: concrete and ICF are your best bet if you want to avoid the risk and uncertainty of price fluctuations.

What’s more, these materials no longer command a premium over the lower-performing lumber. This means that you can finally build comfortable, energy-efficient, durable homes without paying more.

Share Post

Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn
Pinterest

Save for Later

Email
Print
Logix Brands Editorial

Logix Brands Editorial

Delivering the latest in the ICF world, exclusive content, insider industry news, tips and insights into building better with Logix ICF. 

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

No spam, notifications only about new products, updates.

Most Recent

More For You

Get a Free Quote

Whether you’re an experienced ICF installer or considering ICF for the first time, we can help. Simply complete this short form for a free quote (or to ask any question at all!).

By submitting the form, you agree to our Terms and Conditions and our Privacy Policy. This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Contact Dealer

Contact Information

By submitting the form, you agree to our Terms and Conditions and our Privacy Policy. This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Projects

Building Soon

Whether you’re an experienced ICF installer or considering ICF for the first time, we can help. Simply complete this short form for a free quote (or to ask any question at all!).

By submitting the form, you agree to our Terms and Conditions and our Privacy Policy. This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

General/Technical Inquiry

Whether you’re an experienced ICF installer or considering ICF for the first time, we can help. Simply complete this short form for any general or technical questions.

By submitting the form, you agree to our Terms and Conditions and our Privacy Policy. This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Almost there...

For unlimited access to all of our technical and marketing resources, please enter your information. We will also email you a copy of each of the items you select for quick future reference.

By submitting the form, you agree to our Terms and Conditions and our Privacy Policy. This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Logix Brands Logo

Don’t Miss a Thing!