ICF-Custom-Vacation-Home

After news hit that Albertans are to be hit hard by a new tax on vacation properties in the neighboring province of B.C., residents from Calgary to Edmonton are looking within, seeking custom second homes in Central Alberta where cities, towns, and resort communities such as Sylvan Lake, Red Deer, Gull Lake, Pine Lake, Blackfalds and beyond beckon for their leisure. Then there are those who live outside of Alberta, from the bookending provinces and across the border alike who are arriving in Alberta to soak up the bounty of all-season activities, amenities and festivities. Long story short, the vacation rental market here is about to boom louder than ever before. And given that these are vacation properties, builders are being tasked to deliver premium custom solutions that serve buyers’ needs, wants and whims. Whatever that trifecta may look like, one thing is for certain – there is no better building block for these houses than insulated concrete forms. Let’s find out why.

5 Reasons Why You Should Build Custom Vacation Homes with Insulated Concrete Forms

1. Creates a More Comfortable Vacation Experience

Buyers on the market for a vacation home are also on the market for comfort. The space will be a place they come to escape the day to day responsibilities that have afforded them a second home. Houses constructed from insulated concrete forms are inherently more pleasant to reside within than wood frame alternatives. Thanks to a tested R-value of nearly 24 (NUDURA) foundations built with ICF deliver superior thermal resistance which equates a warmer internal temperature through harsh winters and a cooler environment in  hot summers. Whether owners retreat to the property for cross country skiing, for wake-boarding on the lake, or both, they will arrive at a home that provides comfort even if the utilities have been off for months prior to their arrival.

In addition to optimal internal temperatures, ICF constructed homes are far more soundproof that traditional builds, with a Sound Transmission Class (or STC) of 50 (NUDURA). That means even if owners are arriving at the property in the thick of tourist season and all of the traffic, hoots, and hollers that come along with it, they’ll be as isolated from it as they want to be when peace and quiet are on the itinerary.

2. Lower Cost of Ownership

While buyers may be on the market for a second home, they aren’t looking to take on an expense that will break the bank, which means they need to mitigate the longterm cost of ownership. With the aforementioned thermal resistance, ongoing utility expenditure is dramatically reduced. Recent tests conducted by the Standards Council of Canada (SCC) and International Accreditation Service (IAS) found that a nearly 60 percent savings on monthly utilities is typical. Learn more about how ICF builds significantly reduce the longterm cost of home ownership, vacation properties included.

3. Protects Homes When Occupants Aren’t There

Vacation homes are exposed to threats that usual homes are not, given that they typically remain vacant for a significant portion of the year. For instance, without an owner occupant on site through all 12-months, precautionary measures that account for the arrival of extreme weather may not be taken in a timely manner. However, when the home is constructed with sturdy ICF blocks, the property stands a much better chance at making it through any storm that comes its way – including windstorms and tornados! NUDURA ICF homes are also much better equipped to face wildfires that are unfortunately becoming more common to Alberta, given that they boast a 4-hour+ fire resistance rating and also pass the firehouse stress test with flying colors.

4. Better Projected Future Market Value – A Wise Investment!

Buyers look at a vacation home as more than a retreat, they look at it as an investment, one where which they seek to turn a significant profit on resale should the time come. That means the home needs to increase in market value even amidst uncertain economic times. ICF homes provide for this better than any other custom build. The lower cost of monthly energy expenditure is certainly favourable on the bottom line, while ICF’s resilience to harsh weather reduces the cost of ongoing upkeep and repair and can even serve to reduce homeowners insurance premiums. Factor in the occupant benefits of greater live-in comfort and you have favorable market conditions for decades (or more) to come. Read more about how ICF homes attract investment and effectively increase the resale value of properties.

5. Increases Marketing Value for Those Seeking to Earn STR Income from Their Vacation Property 

In addition to having a greater potential to increase future market value, ICF homes are more marketable for vacation homeowners who seek to place the property on the short-term-rental (STR) market. Vacation rentals by owner have become a very viable means to driving monthly revenue in Alberta, with the rise of online services such as Airbnb and VRBO in addition to self-marketed initiatives. When an ICF vacation home is placed on the STR market, it instantly gains a competitive advantage in that it offers prospective renters with a more comfortable alternative for their vacation. In addition, given the well publicized eco-friendly status of the ICF green building initiative, insulated concrete forms are being marketed to eco-conscious travelers who seek to reduce their carbon footprint in all aspects of their life.


As you can see, insulated concrete form construction is tailor-made to fill all of the gaps and capitalize on the untapped opportunities in the vacation home construction market. Contact Total ICF to discuss how we can help you gain access to the best possible ICF products and accessories (NUDURA) on the market today.