Are you thinking about building your foundation with ICF? If so, you must be weighing all the pros of cons of using the system instead of traditional in-situ concrete. We’ve made the job easy for you by discussing the typical advantages and disadvantages of a system like Logix ICF in this post. Read on to find out more!
The Pros of Building Foundations with ICF
More comfortable living space. Thanks to the 2 layers of continuous insulation, ICF basements are less prone to moisture ingress, dampness, and drafts.
Greater energy efficiency. ICF walls have 2 layers of continuous insulation, which give them airtightness and prevent heat loss through air movement. What’s more, these walls also come with a high thermal mass, which helps keep the indoor temps steady even as the outdoor temperatures plummet.
ICF walls are insulated inside and out. Not only is this great for comfort and energy efficiency, but the exterior foam layer keeps the concrete surface warm and condensate-free. This helps you avoid dangerous moisture build-up in your wall cavity.
You can get higher ceilings. There’s no need for special forming, and Logix 16- and 12-inch blocks let you easily configure wall heights.
It’s easy to hit any wall dimensions. Just make sure that you design your walls in 4-inch increments.
ICF foundations offer greater strength. Unlike traditional in-situ foundations, their ICF counterparts have both vertical and horizontal rebar. This additional reinforcement makes stronger, more durable foundations.
Rebar placement and engineering are easy. The rebar placement is already figured out for most basement configurations, so you don’t need to waste additional resources coming up with your prescriptive tables.
ICF ready mixes are handily available. You shouldn’t have any trouble getting your hands on a special, ICF ready mix.
No delays from employing additional trades. By building with an ICF system, such as Logix, you combine these 6 steps into 1:
- Steel reinforcement
- Air barrier
- Vapor barrier
- Furring strips
Since the ICF installer can build your ICF foundation wall without the help of other trades, you eliminate all the hassle, delays, waste, and communication issues that stem from employing too many subcontractors at once.
A simple option for DIYers. ICF systems such as Logix are easy to design and build simply because they have fewer moving parts than traditional wood-frame construction. As such, these systems are a top choice for owner-builders.
The Cons of Building Foundations with ICF
ICF construction is above and beyond most code requirements. If you choose to build with a system like Logix ICF, there’s no way you will just “meet” code; you’ll probably exceed the most stringent code requirements. For production builders looking to accomplish the bare minimum required to pass an inspection, this may seem like a needlessly expensive option.
Drywall may be required to serve as an ignition barrier. You may have to install drywall on your ICF walls’ interior face to meet the thermal and ignition barrier provisions of your local code. That said, this may be waived in many jurisdictions across the US, as long as the occupancy and foam thickness requirements are met.
You’ll need to finish the exposed foam strip at grade level. ICF foundations leave a strip of foam at grade level around your building’s perimeter. You’ll need to apply a finish to this strip, typically by parging.
Termite protection may be required. Since there’s a foam layer on the outside of the wall assembly, you may need termite protection if you live in an affected area.
You may need building officials to amend your permit. Switching your traditional in-situ foundation to ICF is easy. However, if you’re changing a set of drawings that’s been permitted already, you’ll have to resubmit it to your building department for another plan check.
Finding a good ICF installer can be tricky. That’s why we’ve created this handy resource for you.
You’ll need a concrete pump. Typically, you’ll need to get a concrete pump to pour your ICF foundation walls.
Wrapping It Up
Like any other building method, ICF construction has its pros and cons. If you’re considering using a system like Logix ICF for your foundation wall, your pros will include comfort, energy efficiency, ease of construction, and greater strength and durability. However, you’ll pay a slight premium for choosing this method, and you’ll have to do a few things differently on your construction site.