Asked & Answered

Asked & Answered: How Does Rebar Interact With BuildBlock Webs?

Asked-&-Answered

Reinforcing ICF Walls The plastic ties (or webs) in BuildBlock ICFs hold the two foam panels together and are embedded into the foam. This provides furring strips as well as options to place rebar in the proper position in the wall. Steel rebar reinforcement is required and the plastic webs help to hold it in place. This rebar gives concrete the additional strength needed to resist different types of pressures. It’s the combination of reinforcement and concrete that makes a BuildBlock wall so strong.  Since rebar can’t be made to be continuous for every project, lengths of rebar are cut and

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Footing to Wall Connections

Footing to Wall Connections The connection between the footing and an ICF wall is very important. Too often, this connection is omitted from the discussion about reinforcing an ICF wall. There are a number of factors that have to be taken into account. These include the wind loads, exposure categories and seismic zones. The typical connections between the footing and the ICF wall are either a keyway or dowels. Keyways are made by setting a 2×4 into the top of the footing when it is being poured, and floating the concrete flush with the top of the board. When this is removed, it leaves

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ICF Points to LEED

ICF Points to LEED Several green building standards have been created over the past several years to focus on reducing the environmental footprint that buildings have on local communities. Fortunately, Insulating Concrete Forms (ICFs) are a clear choice for building designers to maximize points in many of these ratings. A quick review of the 69 possible points available in the US Green Building Council Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) for New Construction identifies energy savings as the most heavily weighted criteria, with up to 10 points achievable for buildings designed for energy savings over requirements set in code standards.

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White Paper- ICFs Offer Shelter From the Storm

News of natural disasters appear almost daily in the media. While some events, such as floods and earthquakes, are restricted within certain geographic regions, wind storms respect no such bounds. Some areas of the country are more prone to tornadoes or hurricanes, but high wind gusts can hit anywhere. The potential for hurricane damage increases as more and more people willingly accept or ignore the associated risk of living in coastal areas. Yet, year after year, houses are demolished, and people lose their lives. The challenge is to rebuild in a way that will best weather the next storm, and

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White Paper- ICF Energy Tax Provisions

Energy Tax Provisions While energy savings of 10 – 15% can be achieved by improving appliances, lighting, and HVAC equipment, there is no doubt that more significant savings must start with improvements to the building envelope. Increasing the insulation values and tightening up the thermal envelope is the most effective and durable approach. This has been proven time and again with advanced building systems, such as Insulating Concrete Forms (ICFs). Yet builders are faced with the challenge of meeting homeowner demands for granite counter tops and luxury finishes. The obstacles to adopting new, more energy-efficient building methods are very real and require additional effort on the

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Asked & Answered: How Do I Design Door & Window Openings in an ICF Home?

Asked-&-Answered

Door & Window Openings in an ICF Home Generally, there is little difference in door and window placement in an ICF home when compared to standard wood-framed construction. The biggest thing to keep in mind are openings really close together or really close to corners. Since the supporting structure to the wall is the concrete inside the walls, you need to make sure there is enough in the right places to carry the weight of the rest of the structure. Door & window openings in an ICF home have two structural elements: post and lintel. The post is the support on either side

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Asked & Answered: EPS Foam and Fire Retardants

Asked-&-Answered

There are some misconceptions about EPS foam in the building industry. In this Asked & Answered we discuss how fire retardants used in EPS foam as used in building products.  EPS foam when used in building products contains a fire retardant added to the bead before it is expanded and molded. Additionally EPS foam with this fire retardant is not a fuel source. Also when exposed to high heat EPS foam doesn’t burn, it melts since it is expanded with steam and only contains air. The EPS foam used in packaging and shipping is not the same as EPS foam used in construction products.

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Asked & Answered: Why don’t walls with corners layout in even foot dimensions?

Asked-&-Answered

Why don’t walls with corners layout in even foot dimensions? This is an interesting question we receive occasionally from designers, engineers, and builders. It is possible to create a building that will have even foot dimensions. This is typically achieved by shortening blocks at some other point in the wall away from the corners since corners are one of the greatest challenges in any type of construction. A number of factors, from a product design perspective come into play when creating modular products that will be used in multiple ways and scale. A few challenges include: molding constraints (limitations on

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Asked & Answered: ICF Myths, Half-Truths, and Misconceptions

Asked-&-Answered

  Separate fact from fiction and dispel ICF Myths, Half-Truths, and Misconceptions. ICFs are too expensive… ICFs cost 3%-7% more on average compared to using traditional wood construction. This difference can be reduced by smaller HVAC requirements, energy-efficiency tax breaks, and lower utility bills. ICFs are too complicated to use… Building with ICFs is like any other technology. Make sure your ICF installer is well trained and is familiar with the product. ICFs in general are simple enough for DIY and even simpler than building with wood. I can get the same efficiency with wood… Wood structures can be built

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Form-A-Drain (FAD) Accessory Product Changes

The Form-A-Drain (FAD) product is no longer available with fabric attached to the lineals. This change to FAD happened for several reasons. There is a tendency for the fabric to blow off, or otherwise become unattached in shipping, variance of codes around the country and detailing different application scenarios for the fabric. Some jurisdictions prefer to have the fabric attached directly at the FAD, while others prefer to have a layer of stone against the drainage system, with silt cloth laid over the stone. With the variance in codes, and the storage and manufacturing issues with keeping two nearly identical products in stock,

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