The Advantages Of Insulated Concrete Forms
Building with insulated concrete forms is easy and can be learned quickly. The process is also simple and can take less time than other kinds of building such as wood frame construction. It also offers several advantages such as increased strength and durability and better insulation.
All of the walls of the house can be created in a two stage process. First, the formwork is created using lightweight insular panels. Reinforcing steel rebar is placed inside the gap which is then filled with concrete. After it sets the panels are left in place to create efficient insulation against noise and heat. They also provide perfect channeling for electrical wiring and water pipes as they are easy to cut into.
Concrete is stronger and would last longer than wood framed buildings. Because it is quicker and simpler, it can also cost up to 40% less than other construction methods. There are also fewer stages involved, and so it would save time and labor.
Above grade construction, however, can cost slightly more than wood frame construction. The advantage is that it is more insulated, and so there will be long-term savings in energy costs. This type of building will also tend to last longer and so will have a higher resale value. These factors more than makeup for the slightly higher initial investment.
The panels that are used are lightweight and easy to handle. They are interlocking which keeps them in place during and after construction. Either a single material is used like polystyrene or polyurethane foam or polystyrene beads or wood fibers can be bonded in cement. These all form very effective thermal and acoustic insulation.
After all the formwork has been put in place, then it can be filled up with concrete. This can only be done in stages of one to feet in height at a time. Filling up more than that would put too much pressure on the soft panels and this would probably lead to a blowout near the bottom. Each stage should be agitated with a vibrator to make sure that it settles properly and that there are not air pockets, and that honeycombing does not form.
When the concrete has set, and all the electrical and plumbing channels have been laid then, the walls can be finished with gypsum board or some coating. On the outside walls, you could also finish off with brickwork or siding. Polystyrene on outside walls should be treated with insecticide and waterproofed if it will be exposed to the elements at all.
As the walls are poured directly onto the floor slabs, there should be no gaps where insects could get through. There is also no risk of wood rot or boring insects, and this is another big advantage. This type of construction is not only more secure but more comfortable and requires less maintenance.
On the downside, it is more difficult to do alterations and change doorways and windows. Once you have cut openings, however, they don't normally require additional reinforcement. Overall insulated concrete forms constitute a better investment while at the same time creating a more comfortable home.