Insulated concrete forms (ICFs) are typically purchased from a local lumber yard or building material retailer. At the time of writing this article, the purchase price of a regular 16” x 48” ICF block from a local dealer is in the $22-$25 range, depending on what region/country it is purchased in.
So, how much will it cost to build a basement or house with ICFs compared to regular construction?
Every home, designer, builder and homeowner is different, and there are many variables in play that make it difficult to arrive at a general rule of thumb to accurately answer that question.
Nonetheless, here is an example that illustrates general ICF construction pricing given typical lumber prices and prevailing interest rates:
Below grade, ie for your basement, the overall cost of an ICF-constructed basement should be similar to a conventionally constructed one that is framed and insulated to R-20 or better.
Above grade, walls built with ICFs can cost in the range of $5-$8/sq. ft. more than ordinary 2 x 6 stick-framed walls. (However, this price gap has all but disappeared with the spikes to lumber prices in summer of 2020 and winter of 2021.)
Now let’s consider a bungalow with 2,000 sq. ft. of living space and 1,800 sq. ft. of above grade walls. Here is what the different costs on that might look like, prior to lumber price spikes in 2020 and 2021:
$150/sq. ft. – Budget price to build the home conventionally
$300,000 – Budget price for a conventional build (assume $150/sq. ft. x 2,000 sq. ft. of floor area)
$12,600 – Additional cost to build above grade walls with ICFs (assume $7/sq. ft. premium x 1,800 sq. ft. of above grade walls )
4.2% – Cost premium to build with ICFs [($312,600 -$300,000)/$300,000)
$59/month – Additional monthly payment to finance the premium of $12,600
So, in this case, if your total heating, cooling, insurance and annual maintenance savings are more than $59/month (which is all but certain with super-insulated ICFs) then building an ICF home will actually be LESS EXPENSIVE and cash flow positive compared to building a lower quality, lower value stick-framed home.
It’s important to note as well that the cost of soft wood lumber is far more volatile than ICF pricing, so when the cost of softwood lumber spikes — as it did for instance in the spring of 2018 and is doing again in summer 2020/winter 2021 — the cost of regular wood-frame walls will actually approach the cost of high-performance ICF walls.
Here’s some more food for thought.
In some coastal areas, builders are now offering new homes built with Logix ICF at no extra cost versus the same home built with basic masonry walls, which is a customary construction method in those regions. In this case, all your monthly savings will go right into your pocket!
For more information on the costs of ICF and how they compare, visit our FAQ post here: Do ICF Homes Cost More?
Request a quote, get more information, or talk to a Logix Advisor by contacting us today.