Alberta has a geology unlike any other region in Canada. There are thousands of metres of bedrock formations that underlie the expanse of the province, and while digging, blasting, and jackhammering through the rock hard element can be a challenge, it is often worth the effort. That’s because a home built on bedrock has a strong foundation. For example, studies have shown that homes on solid bedrock tend to shake less than those on sediments or reclaimed lands because the bedrock itself shakes considerably less. So how to you take advantage of Mother Nature’s own form of foundation without passing a substantial cost to blast and jackhammer a flat surface on to the client? With ICF of course.
3 Reasons Why Insulated Concrete Forms Are Better for Building on Alberta Bedrock
Easy to Match ICF to the Natural Shape of the Bedrock
We spend a lot of time heralding the insulation benefits of insulated concrete forms, but in this case another key advantage (over traditional methods) shines through. Because NUDURA ICFs are made of expanded polystyrene foam, it can easily be cut to complement the organic shape of the bedrock. How does it work? While we’re happy to show you in one of our Central Alberta ICF training programs, we can run through the basics, just to give you a general idea.
Start by preassembling the ICF forms into long pieces, then cut and scribe them to fit the contours of the bedrock profile. With that out of the way, proceed to drill holes into the bedrock and vertically anchor steel reinforcing rods so that they are spaced anywhere between one and four feet (contingent upon surface undulations). Firmly attach the forms to the rods to the point that they lay tight against the bedrock while you pour the concrete. Whether you are adding a basement or otherwise, you will leave the ICF forms in place and be ready to build on an even and extremely sturdy surface. Simply put, a feat such as this is virtually impossible when using standard forms / concrete blocks.
Easy Transport to the Location
If you’re building a custom home for a client and it is being built on bedrock, there is a good chance that the site will be located in a less than convenient area, when compared to traditional housing developments in the province. Have a look at this Bedrock Geology Map of Alberta for reference.
Once again, we see another benefit of insulated concrete forms unfold. Not only is ICF better for building on bedrock because they can be custom-fit to the unique contours of the rock, they are ideal because they’re lightweight and easily shipped to the site. This will not only expedite the process, it will reduce the cost of transport. You can even transport ICF by boat with ease, should someone get a permit to build on Island Lake, a northern (4 hours from Red Deer) zone characterized by Lea Park Formation bedrock.
Experts All Agree
Simply Google “ICF foundation on bedrock” (or is that how you found this article?) and you’ve find a list of results singing the praises of insulated concrete forms. Home improvement advice columnists such as Steve Maxwell (Toronto Star / The Chronicle Herald / Ottawa Citizen) answers practically every bedrock building solution Q & A with ICF:
“Insulated concrete forms (ICFs) are definitely the best option for building on bedrock. They’re made of foam, so they’re easy to cut to fit the undulations of the rock.” (Steve Maxwell – Home Improvement Columnist)
Of course, not all ICF products are created equal. Only NUDURA ICF can provide Alberta builders with the optimal solution they need for building on some of the most unique geography in the country. And thankfully, you’ve come to the right place, as Total ICF is the go-to supplier of NUDURA insulated concrete forms in the central region of the province. Contact us today and find out how you can build a better home on bedrock, one that would even make Fred Flintstone proud.