Insulated Concrete Forms (ICFs) are an advanced home building system we use for both above-grade exterior and below-grade foundation walls on new custom homes. ICFs themselves are interlocking foam block forms which are reinforced with steel rebar and filled with a special high-strength concrete mix.
Benefits of Insulated Concrete Forms
Given the steel and concrete at the core of this system, ICF walls can lend your new home substantial strength and disaster-resilience.
ICF structural systems can help create a quiet interior environment, especially useful where ambient noise nuisance/ pollution exist.
With a concrete core 6, 8, or 10 inches thick, buffered by dual layers of insulating foam, ICF walls enhance thermal stability when compared to significant fluctuation with ambient temperatures. Given the change of seasons or even weather-weirding, there may be dramatic swings in outdoor air temperatures where you live. Insulated concrete walls serve as a thermal “fly-wheel”, carrying a steady temperature forward for a longer time period through the simple mass of concrete: a form of thermodynamic inertia. Steady indoor temperatures usually lead to greater comfort.
ICF structural systems are usually very air-tight, dramatically reducing heat exchange through home infiltration (outside air coming in) and exfiltration (inside conditioned air escaping out). They offer R20~R30 thermal performance, which compares favorably to many light-frame wall systems. The thermal “fly-wheel” effect referenced above also enhances their beneficial energy influence on an indoor environment. To enhance this effect however, we strongly recommend an asymetrical ICF block – where more insulation is positioned exterior of the concrete core. This allows the building-enclosure core thermal inertia to influence the indoor environment better, longer. In the mountains surrounding Smith Mountain Lake, here in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, elevation matters for ambient temperature. A symmetrical ICF block may work at ‘lake level’, where the winter temperature is much like the piedmont through the Mid-Atlantic. On a local ‘hill’ elevation of 2,000 feet or higher, however, average winter temperatures are more like the Ohio Valley region – demanding a better (read, asymmetrical) ICF format.
Smith Mountain Lake’s Experienced ICF Builder
At Timber Ridge Craftsmen, we are experienced with designing, specifying, and installing ICF walls and can easily recommend this robust enclosure system. ICFs provide strength, durability, energy-efficiency, and quietness in one unified system.
If you are interested in building a timber frame, post and beam, or log home that features ICFs, get in touch with our team of expert designers and builders. We are proud to be one of the finest custom home builders in the Smith Mountain Lake region, serving Roanoke, Bedford, and Franklin Counties.