How BuildBlock ICFs are Made
Insulating Concrete Forms, or ICFs are they are known, have become one of the most efficient building materials available today for both homes and commercial buildings. ICFs come in many different shapes and sizes depending on the project. Today we will take a look at how ICFs are made. But first, what exactly are ICFs? Insulating concrete forms (ICFs) are hollow foam blocks that are stacked and lock together in the shape of the outside walls of a home or building, reinforced with steel rebar, and then filled with concrete. The forms stay in place and provide insulation and are finished inside and out. This idea was invented in the 1940s and has evolved over the past 70 years using new materials to increase both strength and energy efficiency. Modern ICFs use two types of materials to create the forms which are left in place to provide insulation and disaster resistance.
The first component of ICFs is Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) foam that make the insulating panels. The foam panels hold in the concrete during the pour and provide high insulation after the home is built. Expanded polystyrene (EPS) is a rigid and tough, closed-cell foam that is used for disposable trays, plates, bowls, cups, and food packaging. The fact that EPS is so great at keeping your coffee warm and soda cold is what makes it perfect for doing the same to your house. The second component is Polypropylene plastic webs which bridge the two panels together and provide screw and attachment points for bracing and alignment and attaching finishes to the walls such as stucco, EIFS, brick, siding, on the outside and sheetrock or plaster on the inside. Expanded Polystyrene foams are produced using blowing agents that form bubbles and expand the foam. BuildBlock Plastic webs are made from high density plastic. BuildBlock combines both new material and recycled material in the finished product. Any scrap is recycled yet again for future use. The BuildBlock webs have a screw pullout strength of more than 150lbs on the entire web, and 450lbs in the high density attachment points.
The BuildBlock ICF Webs are loaded into specially designed molds. The two pieces of this mold will lock together and the very light foam beads will flow into the mold. Hot steam is then pumped into the mold and the beads rapidly expand and stick together. After just a few minutes the mold separates and the finished block is pushed out. ICFs are one of the cleanest materials to manufacture. The beads are expanded using only steam, any extra beads can be recovered and recycled. Most foam molding facilities have very little waste. The ICF blocks are closely inspected to ensure they meet strict quality standards. They are then interlocked together, stacked in bundles, and packaged for storage and transport. These ICF blocks will continue to dry for the next few days and are now ready for use in your next building project.
One of the greatest benefits of ICF blocks is they are very light weight. Each ICF weighs roughly 7 pounds. One ICF takes the place of 6 concrete masonry unites, CMU’s, or cinder blocks. And each cinder block weighs 35 pounds each. ICFs are so easy to move around even the youngest construction helpers can do it. There are a different number of forms in bundles based on the type of form and the size of the block, but most all BuildBlock ICFs are packaged in 4-foot x 4-foot x 4-foot cubes. This makes it very easy to store them in the warehouse, load and transport as well as unload and move around your job-site.
Building with ICFs gives you one of the most energy efficient and safe structures possible today. The increased cost of ICF in new home construction is easily offset with 30-70% monthly energy savings and that adds up over the life of your home. And with the increased danger of wildfire, earthquakes, tornadoes, and hurricanes, and ICF home gives you the added peace of mind you and your family deserve. Traditional wood frame structures are no match for the awesome power of Mother Nature. ICFs can be used to build virtually any home plan, using any finish – brick, stucco, siding, and more. And when complete your home will look just like any other on the block. Ultimately you will be left with a much more quite, energy efficient and safer home for your family.
How BuildBlock ICFs are Made: Spanish