Today’s building codes tend to focus on safety issues, like structural integrity, seismic soundness, and fire protection. Requirements for occupant health and comfort, though, are few and far in between. As a result, modern homes are not necessarily built with comfort in mind. And their biggest flaw can lie in their wood-framed envelope.
In this post, we will see how Logix ICF walls ensure occupants’ comfort in ways traditional stud walls never could.
Comfort is subjective. Our perception of it varies with age, gender, metabolic rate, lifestyle, and even our personalities. And while that’s so, there is still a consensus that noise, drafts, cold and hot spots, mold, vibration, and humidity are causes of discomfort. To curb these problems, we need walls that:
- are airtight
- reduce thermal bridging
- have a high thermal mass
- block noise
- don’t rot
Drafts are a common symptom of a leaky envelope. And that’s not all – thanks to small leaks in the exterior walls, vapors, odors, germs, allergens, and other contaminants get a free pass into a home. Some of these can lead to a bit of discomfort, while others may cause serious illnesses.
With an airtight envelope, you get control over air movement through a home’s walls. Instead of flowing unchecked, air has to cycle through a mechanical system and its filter. This way, temperature and humidity can stay in line with the dweller’s preference, while the filter blocks harmful pollutants.
Lack of Thermal Bridging
Have you ever felt a chill emanating from a wall? Or heat, for that matter? Cold and hot spots can be a nuisance, especially the wall in question abuts a bed, sofa, or crib. Caused by thermal bridging – heat’s ability to move unrestricted through a wall assembly – cold and hot spots are felt most when outdoor temperatures become extreme.
To stamp out this source of discomfort, a home’s wall assembly needs to keep a consistent, mean radiant temperature. As cold and hot spots are mostly found near windows, you need to choose the right product to create a thermal barrier around the opening. Logix Pro Buck does just this – it puts up an effective obstacle to heat trying to get in our out around the window bucks.
In a light-wood framed home, the exterior studs also act as a thermal bridge, leading to cold and hot spots where most owners don’t expect them – right in the middle of a solid wall. Logix ICF precludes this effect by swapping the studs for a solid concrete wall with a layer of continuous insulation on either side.
Those of us who live in 4-season climates rely on various systems to maintain an acceptable indoor temperature. But what if these systems break down? Or the power goes out, like it did in August 2003? With our reliance on technology, a lengthy power outage lands us right in the Dark Ages. Sadly, modern North American homes are the most susceptible to such failures. With conditioning systems off-line, their wood-framed walls are a laughable excuse for a thermal barrier.
So, if you live in a wood-framed home and your A/Cs or furnace shuts down, you can expect the outdoor temperatures to overwhelm the home without delay. On the other hand, if the walls have a high thermal mass, like those built with monolithic concrete and rigid insulation, the interior temperature will take many hours, if not days, to change.
In a recent lab trial of ICF walls in a similar scenario, the test chamber took 50 hours to see a temperature change high enough that the heating systems came back online. That’s over 2 full days – more than enough time to get the failed equipment up and running.
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Sound Transmission Reduction
Have you ever woken up to the sound of emergency sirens or a neighbor’s party? Whether it’s an urban, suburban, or rural area, disturbing levels of street noise can handily find their way through the walls of a wood-framed home. Logix ICF walls make a superb noise shield – with a concrete core of only 6 inches, these walls hit an STC rating of 50 – that’s enough to drown out loud speech altogether.
No Organic Components in The Wall Assembly
With traditional wood-frame homes, ample amounts of planning, labor, and expenses go into keeping the wall cavities dry. Yet, despite our best efforts, they often still get wet. When they do, the enclosed wooden structure becomes a breeding ground for rot, mold, and mildew outbreaks. These can lead to allergies, respiratory problems, and even failures of the home’s structural components.
With an ICF system such as Logix, walls stay free of organic matter. This simple change averts the possibility of moisture-driven rot, mold and mildew.
Wrapping it Up
Our single-family homes are built to hold their dead and live loads, weather natural disasters, and conserve energy. That said, they are not designed with occupant comfort in mind. Today’s building codes, while rightly focusing on safety, are blind to health and comfort.
By simply choosing Logix ICF for a home’s exterior walls, you can bring comfort back into the equation, while also boosting safety and energy efficiency. Unlike wood-framed walls, Logix ICF can:
- block air movement
- stop thermal bridging
- retain indoor temperatures in the event of equipment failures
- block most street noise
- prevent moisture-related problems that plague wood-framed structures