Installer Training Series, Video

BuildBlock ICF Installer Training Series: Trades and Finishes

Trades and Finishes

Welcome to the final video in the BuildBlock ICF Installer Training Series, Trades and Finishes. This video series is intended to be an educational walk through of the ICF building process. From the early planning phases to pouring concrete and finishing walls, this series will provide the basic knowledge you need to have a successful BuildBlock ICF build.


In video number 19 we discuss block attachment points as well as the different needs during the rest of the construction process. We also identify different types of exterior and interior finishes.

The videos in this series are produced as a companion to the BuildBlock Installation and Technical Manuals available for free download on the Publications Page or for purchase via the BuildBlock Online Store. You can view more videos in this series via the BuildBlock Blog or by subscribing to the BuildBlock YouTube Page. For a more in depth training experience, you can take the free Online ICF Installer Training Series.

Video Transcript

Trades and Finishes

Ensuring that all walls are straight, level, and plumb is the job of every ICF installer. Long after the installer has finished, others must apply their trades to finish construction.

In this video, we will discuss block attachment points and the different needs during the rest of the construction process. We will identify different types of exterior finishes and discuss types of interior coverings required by building codes to finish an ICF wall.

Attaching to an ICF Wall

The 8 embedded BuildBlock webs, spaced every 6-inches center to center provide frequent and strong attachment points for any wall attachment needs. The web attachment flange is 15-inches tall and 1.5 inches wide. The entire face of each web provides more than 150lbs of pull out strength.

The easiest way to find an attachment point after the wall is covered is to measure ¾ of an inch from an inside corner. This will place you in the center of a web. From there you will find webs every six inches center to center along the entire wall. If the wall was built with a common or vertical seam you may want to measure from each corner.

Each BuildBlock web includes two High-Density Attachment Points on each side of the block every 4 inches from the top or bottom of the block and 8 inches apart vertically. This means that every 8 inches vertically there is a high-density attachment point providing more than 450-lbs of pull out strength.

Additional interior attachment options may be installed in certain areas to facilitate finish attachments for items like curtain rods, cabinetry, hand rails, and safety rails. If necessary, the foam can be removed and the reinforcement attached to the concrete core using tapcon screws or secured in place using spray foam adhesive.

Plan ahead and note any special attachment needs before stacking the ICF wall. This will save time and provide superior results in your project. Identify any embedment locations before the wall is poured. In some areas, brick ties or other anchors will need to be installed for finishes before, during, or after the pour.

Exterior Finishes

ICF structures when finished look like any other building. Traditional finishes such as brick, stone, traditional stucco, EIFS, or BuildCrete can be used. Siding including vinyl, cement, and fiberboard are also easily installed. Follow manufacturer’s instructions for installation.

Interior Finishes

The International Residential Code (IRC) requires ICF blocks that are exposed to the building interior be finished with an approved 15 minute thermal barrier such as a ½ inch thick gypsum wallboard or other suitable coatings. This wallboard will be installed vertically and attached to the cross tie flanges with number 6, coarse thread, gypsum wallboard screws that are a minimum 1-5/8 inch long.

Comply with national or local code requirements and manufacturer specifications for attachment spacing. Ensures that screws must penetrate a minimum of ¼ inch through the flange. Other approved finishes such as BuildCrete Plaster may also be used.

BuildCrete Stucco & Plaster

BuildCrete exterior stucco or interior plaster are superior one-coat finishing products for ICF walls and other surfaces. BuildCrete Stucco is impact resistant to 3,500 psi and delivers a 100% waterproof exterior finish that can be painted if necessary. BuildCrete Plaster is a superior interior finishing product, impact resistant to 8,500 psi. Each of these products can be troweled or sprayed on. In one step, a scratch coat is applied to the wall, a fiberglass mesh is embedded and the stucco or plaster is applied to the full thickness.

As BuildCrete cures, it crystallizes growing microscopic crystals into the EPS foam surface creating a mechanical bond to the entire surface of the wall making it nearly impossible to separate. Combined with the embedded mesh BuildCrete delivers superior performance to any other product.

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