Tornado Slide Standard ICF walls withstand wind speeds of 200mph or more
protecting you from flying debris and other dangers from tornadoes and hurricanes.
ICFs are stronger than
tornadoes and hurricanes.
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4-hour-fire ICFs have a 4-hour fire rating. ICFs withstand more than 4 hours of continuous fire and remain structurally sound protecting your home and belongings. ICFs are just one part to your wildfire protection strategy. Learn More Here! earthquake resistant ICFs are stable, even in an earthquake. ICFs withstand more than 4 hours of continuous fire and remain structurally sound protecting your home and belongings. ICFs are just one part to your wildfire protection strategy. Learn More Here!

ICFs are Safe & Disaster Resilient

Insulating Concrete Forms create a monolithic concrete wall that is 10 times stronger than wood-framed structures, ensuring your home is safe & disaster resistant. The greatest benefit of an ICF home is the peace of mind that comes with being surrounded by the strength of concrete and steel.

ICFs combine concrete, steel, and foam to create an impenetrable barrier and unshakable walls, ensuring your home is safe & disaster resistant. 

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Safe from Tornadoes and Hurricanes

Debris driven by high winds presents the greatest hazard to homeowners and their homes during tornadoes and hurricanes. Wood frame walls offer little protection from airborne hazards, while concrete walls are proven to resist the impact of wind-driven debris.

Fire Resistant

Because concrete, steel, and foam are all nonflammable, an ICF wall is also great at resisting wildfires and stopping the spread.

Stable in an Earthquake

Concrete homes can be among the safest and most durable types of structures in an earthquake. Homes built with reinforced concrete walls have a record of surviving earthquakes intact and structurally sound.

Whether you’re facing an earthquake, wildfire, hurricane, or even a tornado – you can rest assured knowing you’re safe behind solid ICF walls.

Comparison of major construction materials and their ability to protect during natural disasters.

A Growing Threat 

Whether a tornado, fire, earthquake, hurricane, or flooding; natural disasters are a growing threat capable of total destruction. That’s why it’s important to have a frank conversation about disaster resilience in home construction. When building a disaster resistant home, you’re choosing to put faith in materials. You want a space that is safe, clean, aesthetically pleasing, long lasting, and the list goes on. It’s a very personal investment of time, energy, and yes, money. You need the structure of the home to be reliable and predictable.  One of the trademarks of natural disasters is their ability to be unpredictable. Wind speeds will surge, storm formations change course, and both fire and flood can carve an independent path through neighborhoods and communities. So when choosing the building materials that make up a home, it’s important to know that your foundation, walls, and roof will stay safe & disaster resistant no whatever is thrown at them.

Wood Construction

First, let’s take a look at how most homes are built; wood. Like I stated above, it’s important that building materials be predictable. And in the case of wood, it is. We know exactly what we get when a building is framed and formed out of lumber.

  • High winds easily blow through wood-framed homes.
  • Flying debris can penetrate walls.
  • Water causes wood to rot and flooding can quickly make a house permanently uninhabitable from mold, mildew, etc.
  • Wood burns (obviously) but the ability for flames to spread in wood-framed construction can be detrimental to both home and human life.

These are just a few of the drawbacks of wood. We shouldn’t have to mention (but I will) termites, energy consumption, sound attenuation, and air quality. All of which leaves much to be desired for the owner of a wood-frame home, unfortunately. Residential construction has relied on lumber for centuries. It’s what we know. And while we understand the comfort that comes from tradition, it’s short-sighted to ignore everything else that we know about the limitations of wood, especially when it is not the only option.

Concrete Construction

So let’s look at another option; concrete. Just like wood, concrete is predictable, but that’s where the similarities end. If you take a look at the bullet points
above, you’ll see how concrete offers a solution to each of the challenges that wood faces in regards to natural disasters, making them safe & disaster resistant.

  • Steel reinforced concrete stands up strong to wind and earthquakes.
  • Flying debris is stopped in its tracks.
  • Concrete doesn’t weaken or rot when in contact with water.
  • Concrete simply doesn’t burn.

It’s easy to see that when it comes to disaster resilience, concrete outperforms wood in every way.

Insulating Concrete Forms (ICFs) take steel reinforced concrete to the next level by making it simple to build with. One product allows you to form, frame, furr, sheath, insulate, and soundproof the home, saving time and labor. When the home is complete, it boasts all of the benefits of a concrete building while also being extremely energy efficient, quiet, and healthy.

ICF Homes Are Built To Last

Unfortunately, most wood-frame homes simply don’t have the strength to withstand damage from tornadoes or hurricanes. Below are images of tornado damage to wood-frame homes in Joplin, Missouri.

Sadly, a majority of these homeowners, architects, city planners, and general contractors will choose to rebuild using the same materials that were just proven inadequate in the face of disaster. We see it every year across the country. We return to wood after tornadoes in Oklahoma, fires in California, and hurricanes in Louisiana. But we deserve better. It’s time to end the constant cycle of build, destroy, repeat. Our motto at BuildBlock is “Build it Once, Build it for Life” and we take pride in providing products that make that idea a reality. Now, it’s time to stand up to Mother Nature. To challenge ourselves to be forward-thinking and build towards a future that promotes our health and safety as a top priority.

For more information on the disaster resistant benefits of BuildBlock, click here.

Information on the energy performance benefits of ICFs can be found here.

To learn more about ICF construction, click here.

ICF Disaster Resistant October 8, 2012