White Papers & Research

The BuildBlock Comprehensive Guide Waterproofing

Waterproofing ICF Homes

The BuildBlock Comprehensive Guide to ICF Waterproofing demonstrates the most effective strategies for waterproofing ICF structures.   Waterproofing ICF homes is substantially different from standard concrete construction and is commonly overlooked or installed incorrectly. The BuildBlock Comprehensive Guide to Waterproofing is a 15 page educational manual that is free to download and is intended to be used in conjunction with other BuildBlock Technical Manuals. The strategies, advice, and information apply to any ICF construction below grade, large or small. Waterproofing is the last mile in ICF construction. Even if everything else has been done perfectly, a small mistake in waterproofing can ruin the experience of

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Common Misconceptions Regarding ICFs and Current Energy Codes

There are common misconceptions regarding ICFs and the current energy codes. While many people involved in the home design, construction and inspection process are familiar with the R-value requirements of a cavity wall, most do not understand that different standards apply to ICFs. Wall Types Cavity walls are usually wood or steel framed with insulation between framing members for the outside walls. Most single family structures in the United States are built this way. Cavity walls may meet local and national building codes, but lack the performance and resilience when compared with ICF mass walls. The International Energy Conservation Code

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White Paper- STC and Sound Performance of BuildBlock and BuildLock Knockdown Insulating Concrete Forms

BuildBlock ICFs can provide an STC Rating of 54 keeping noise pollution outside where it belongs. The STC rating of a wall assembly refers to its resistance to sound transmission. Sound is measured in decibels, (db) and is on a logarithmic scale, meaning that the values are not linear in nature, and a 50db sound is not twice as loud as a 25db sound. A doubling of volume would correspond approximately to a 10db change.  In construction, it is important to limit noise and sound transmission through walls. This is especially important in certain venues, such as movie theaters, concert halls and hotels. Airports and other

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White Paper: Cement Fiber Board Installation

“Lap siding is a popular exterior finish for both residential and commercial ICF jobs.  Cement-board siding is particularly popular, due to its durability, ease of installation and fire-resistant qualities. “ Clark Ricks, ICF Builder Magazine(http://www.icfmag.com/how-to/ht_exterior_finishes.html) Installing Cement Fiber Board siding over an ICF is becoming more prevalent. There is little instruction from the siding or backer board manufacturers, due to the variations among ICF blocks. BuildBlock Building Systems offers three different block styles. BuildBlock and BuildLock are similar and will be treated together. GlobalBlock has a much different attachment system and will be described separately. The starting point for any

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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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White Paper: The ICF Effect

Continuous R-Value, reduced air infiltration and thermal mass all make up the ICF Effect New energy codes, higher fuel prices and colder winters have all contributed to an increased awareness of energy efficient construction. For consumers and builders, this means a stronger focus on increased “R-value”of the building envelope. Understanding the history of code prescribed R-value will give perspective of this measurement as it is used today. Prior to the oil crisis in the 1970’s, energy was cheap and little focus was placed on insulation, as evidenced by the lack of any insulation in “midcentury” homes. The skyrocketing fuel prices triggered a need

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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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