Today’s homeowner is more conscious than ever before when it comes to the construction of their abode. It has gone beyond aesthetics and function, as they prepare for natural disasters both common and uncommon to their locale. What are these impending threats? Tornados, windstorms, and wildfires get a lot of the press, but floods are the most frequent natural hazard in Canada. Today, we are taking a good look at the topic so that local architects, designers, developers and builders can make an educated choice before moving forward with their next residential project.

Why Use Insulated Concrete Forms to Flood-Proof Homes in Central Alberta

Flooding is a Real Threat in Alberta

Some people think of flood risk as being relatively low in prairie land. However, it wasn’t that long ago (June 19/2013) that the province experienced heavy rainfall that triggered the worst flood in the history of Alberta. It was coined by the provincial government as being catastrophic and the damage to homes displaced an estimated 100,000 residents. This was no one-off event. Let’s consider Red Deer and the surrounding area as an example.

Flood hazard areas exist along an approximate 18 km stretch of the Red Deer River through Red Deer. The headwaters of the river are found in the Rocky Mountains which poses a concern. While the threats from ice and snow melt have been somewhat abated since the construction of the Dickson Dam, damage to the structure could result in another catastrophe. But that’s not the big concern, open water flooding is. Intense Alberta summer rainstorms on their own or together with spring rainfall/snowmelt deliver high flows that commonly occur in June and can remain through until July. Have a look at the Red Deer flood hazard map (courtesy of the Government of Alberta) below:

Flood Hazard Map for Red Deer River

The winding Red Deer River opens up many homes to the threat of flooding. Then there are the numerous other waterways and lakes that dot the entirety of Central Alberta. Of course, these same geographic wonders also make for attractive residential developments. Households flock from all over the country to build (or take up residence within) a waterfront home in Alberta. This should increase property value, but all that it takes is an especially wet season to drive down the demand, value, and the local economy, unless there is a solution. That solution, is to build homes with insulated concrete forms. Keep reading.

ICF Withstands the Threat of Flooding

Insulated concrete forms gained international recognition after the most destructive and costliest natural disaster in the history of the United States – Hurricane Katrina. All that it took were two photos to get industrialized nations talking about ICF:

ICF Flood Protection

The home depicted (two different angles) was the only one left standing in a community ravaged by the hurricane and rampant floodwaters. That home, was built using insulated concrete forms.

ICF is the answer for flood resilient building and architectural design. NUDURA products (supplied in Central Alberta by Total ICF) are resistant to water ingress thanks to non-absorbent Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) which is used in the insulating concrete formwork. Together with a solid monolithic steel reinforced concrete core, EPS provides superior structural stability during the harshest of flood hazards. NUDURA also offers a Waterproofing Membrane which comes in the form of a peel and stick membrane that adheres to the EPS foam. The membrane accommodates damp-proofing and waterproofing requirements for all building codes in North America, Alberta included.


Moving forward, developers looking to erect waterfront properties in Red Deer County, Sylvan Lake, Gull Lake and the entire surrounding region where flood risk exists had best meet the demand of today’s home buyer by building with insulated concrete forms. Contact Total ICF today to lay the foundation.