Whenever something breaks from tradition those stuck in the dark ages attempt to dispel it. They don’t look at the big picture benefits, only how it impacts them. While the use of insulated concrete forms has revolutionized the construction industry, and made the lives and businesses of those occupying ICF-constructed spaces better, a few critics have come out of the literal woodwork to knock it down. But the case for ICF is too strong to budge in the slightest. Regardless, for those that have had the dinosaurs of days past attempt to dissuade the use of ICF with perpetuated myths, we are here to provide clarity.
5 Quickly Dismissed Myths About Insulated Concrete Forms
1. ICF Constructed Buildings Are Too Expensive
Critics like to use this one the most. Does it cost more to build with ICF when compared to wood construction? If you only look at the initial capital expenditure then you may note a single-digit % difference. But that is shortsighted. One month after the building has been completed, occupants (residential, commercial, industrial, municipal) will realize the very real ROI. The thermal properties of ICF equates an immediate reduction in energy expenditure, which reduces monthly utility expenses by anywhere between 20-50% (common range). The savings don’t stop there. Occupants will also likely qualify for eco-efficiency tax breaks. Allow the following analogy. You can spend $1 today, and then $1 every month for the rest of your occupancy. Or, you can spend $1.09 today, and then .70 cents every month from there on in. Which scenario do you prefer?
2. ICF is Only Necessary for Cold Climates
ICF is absolutely necessary for cold climates. However, the very same thermal resistance (ICF has higher R-value – the measure of thermal resistance) that keeps a building interior warm in the harsh winter also keeps it cool in the summer and perfectly mild when moderate.
3. ICF isn’t Attractive
Critics treat “concrete” like a dirty word when it comes to aesthetics. But any traditional builder who states ICF buildings aren’t attractive hasn’t done their homework. ICF is the foundation, the interior. It can be enveloped in any form of building material you desire. You can install any exterior siding available, including brick, stucco, wood siding, vinyl siding, and more. Whether you prefer a heritage, cottage, or post-modern contemporary building, ICF can accommodate the preferred look.
4. ICF Requires ICF Building Expertise
Some try to scare general contractors away from using ICF by citing that only an ICF expert can effectively build with it. This is incorrect. The learning curve surrounding these ready-to-install concrete forms is shorter than any other form of construction. Plus, the use of Nudura (via Total ICF) products comes with the added benefit of ICF courses and programs so that you and your team can become Nudura-Trained ICF Installers.
5. ICFs Aren’t Recommended for Large Scale Projects
Some traditional builders may concede on their arguments when it comes to homes. It’s nearly impossible to argue against the superiority of ICF for home construction. They shift gears to state that for big commercial and municipal projects, ICF cannot accommodate the stringent requirements of either. This couldn’t be further from the truth. ICF is now being used as the trusted building method for schools. You can’t get much more validation than that, especially when the comfort and safety of community youth and educators are involved. The proof is in the pudding for large commercial enterprises too, as hotel franchises, including Hilton Hotels, are using ICF to build their accommodations.
The days of questioning ICF as a superior building concept are gone, leaving critics without a leg (or wooden stilt) to stand on. Thank you for taking the time to learn more about ICF and how it can help you build better homes and properties.