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Cost and Benefits of Insulating Concrete Forms
for Residential Construction

November 2001, 30 pages

With ICFs, you get what you pay for. . . and more

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Costs and Benefits:

Strength. Durability, Efficiency. Safety. If you're looking to add these features to your home, look to ICFs to do the job.

Relative to standard housing construction practices, ICF construction offers multiple performance benefits. ICF construction also adds about five to ten percent to the cost of a typical new home.

Based on this increase in price, it is generally more practical to consider ICF construction because of its collective benefits, rather than any single one:

  • Structural Safety . ICF construction resists damage to walls, protecting occupants from fire, extreme wind, earthquakes, and flooding.
  • Comfort . Because ICF walls are well insulated, ICF construction keeps a home warmer in winter and cooler in summer, and helps soundproof a home against outdoor noise. Typical wood walls have a sound transmission class rating of 35 to 49, while ICFs rate between 48 and 58.
  • Energy Efficiency . Because of superior insulation, a home built with ICFs is more energy efficient. The energy bill of a home built with ICFs can be $35 a month less than that of a wood-frame home upgraded to achieve similar energy performance.

During a tornado, a tree fell on this house built with ICFs, but did remarkably little damage. Adjacent homes were destroyed.

Photo: Reward Wall Systems, Omaha, Nebraska

Content updated on 1/2/2007

Related Resources
Economical ICF Connections
ICF: Installed Cost and Acoustic Performance
ICF: Comparative Thermal Performance
Insulating Concrete Forms in Residential Construction
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