Stay Up-to-Date on Insulated Concrete Forms with Fox Blocks

Energy Stick Facts

| Building Tips Using ICFs | November 1, 2012

  • Base

    The bottom of each Energy Stick has been shaped to insert into the top of the previous Energy Stick. The projection is 1/2” which is the same
    height as the projections on the block. This way if the projection is left on the bottom of row one, the Energy stick will rest on the footing or slab.

  • Top

    The top of each Energy Stick has a recess to accept the bottom of the next Energy Stick. This eliminates movement during concrete placement.

  • Connection

    The top of every Energy Stick has been designed to fit snug between the ties. The lower 18” has been designed to slide into the block loosely to increase production and then guide itself to connect to the top of the previous Energy Stick.

  • Shoulder

    Every Energy Stick has a specially designed shoulder as a stop to ensure every Energy Stick locks into the proper location.

  • Fox 1440

    The Energy Sticks have been designed to work well in the solid Fox Blocks line as well as the 1440 line.

  • R-Value

    Each Energy Stick layer will add R-9 to the wall. You can insert the energy stick on one or two faces to achieve the R-value desired. As an example you could add three Energy Stick layers into the 12” block giving as much as R- 48+ with 6” of concrete!

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The Fox Blocks Energy Stick

| Building Tips Using ICFs | October 15, 2012

Energy-StickHow do you improve an Insulated Concrete Form wall that already out-performs most wall systems in all climates? You move the concrete mass toward the living side of the wall. This unbalanced R-value will allow the mass to be closer to the living temperature of the conditioned space allowing for a more comfortable building.

The Fox Blocks design team had three goals:

  1. Move the mass away from the harsh temperatures;
  2. Increase R-value; and
  3. Build in reflective insulation.

Each stick is 8” wide, 32” tall, 2” thick and profiled to fit within all Fox Blocks. The reflective graphite coated Expanded Polystyrene is used to ensure an R-9 boost to the already high R-value of the Fox Blocks.

How to Use:

  1. Installation:

    Simply insert the patent pending Energy Sticks between the plastic ties and to the outside face of wall after every two rows of blocks have been placed.

  2. Corner Blocks:

    Fox Block corners are naturally thicker eliminating the need to insert Energy Sticks from the corner tie on. From the last straight tie to the corner tie you will need to wedge the Energy stick in place. A spot of expanding foam will also help to secure the Energy Stick from movement.

  3. Openings/Stacked Seams:

    Simply cut the Energy Stick to fit in locations that are narrower than 8”. When larger than 8” use expanding foam to hold cut Energy Sticks.

  4. Range of Use:

    Simply cut the Energy Stick to fit in locations that are narrower than 8”. When larger than 8” use expanding foam to hold cut Energy Sticks.

  5. Estimating:

    - 3 Energy Sticks for every block ordered.
    - One box = 36 Energy Sticks.
    - One box of Energy Sticks will fill 12 blocks

  6. Man Hours:

    Allow 4 minutes per box when inserting for the first time (= 950 square feet of wall per hour or .001 man hours per square foot)

  7. Bundle Sizes:

    Each box of 36 Energy Sticks = approximately 24” x 24” x 33”

Sizing and Actual R-Value

6” Block + 1 Energy Stick (R-30+*) = 4” Concrete
8” Block + 1 Energy Stick (R-30+*) = 6” Concrete
10” Block + 1 Energy Stick (R-30+*) = 8” Concrete
10” Block + 2 Energy Sticks (R-39+*) = 6” Concrete
12” Block + 1 Energy Stick (R-30+*) = 10” Concrete
12” Block + 2 Energy Sticks (R-39+*) = 8” Concrete
12” Block + 3 Energy Sticks (R-48+*) = 6” Concrete

* This represents the overall average wall R-value. As an example in wood frame construction a wall with R-19 bat insulation will have an overall average wall R-value of less than R-16 due to thermal bridging.

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Contractors Can Use Traditional Building Measurements with ICF Studs when They Choose Fox Blocks

| Benefits of ICFs | October 1, 2012

You are a sheetrock, residential wood frame, commercial steel stud or siding contractor that has been trained, and are efficient with, a continuous 1 1/2” wide attachment surface @ 16” on center. Our team at Fox Blocks agrees with this tradition and have created our ICF with the same continuous 1 1/2” wide attachment surface but increased it to 8” on center. Just think, when attaching sheet rock or siding to Fox Blocks Insulated Concrete Forms, you can use the same training you understand and have used in the past.

Fox Blocks Stud Compared to Standard Wood Stud

Fox Blocks Stud Compared to Standard Wood Stud

Fox Blocks Studs

  • Recycled polypropelyne
  • LEED credits*
  • 120 lbs+ pullout/shear strength with screws**
  • Use screws that are the thickness of material plus 1 1/8” + in length.
  • If the screws that you are using do not hold try the next size longer. The tip of the screw must pass completly through the tie to achieve full strength.


Wood Stud Today

Standard Wood Stud Today

Wood Studs today

  • Much larger grain than 15 years ago
  • More knots and checks than 15 years ago
  • Reject screws more than 15 years ago
  • Prone to movement through seasons
  • Prone to rot when sealed with moisture
  • Prone to sheetrock / drywall repairs
  • Food for insects


Actual Fox Block Wall

Actual Fox Block Wall Showing Studs Clearly Defined

Actual Fox Blocks Wall

  • Studs clearly marked @ 8” o/c
  • Studs are in contact with each other verticaly
  • Studs burried into foam 5/8” for stucco application and thermal performance

Fox Blocks ICF’s

  • A full 1 1/2” wide
  • 8” o/c to achieve industry standard 16” o/c’s
  • No gap every 16” vertically due to ties touching
  • Minimal settling due to ties touching
  • Not effected by moisture, will not rot
  • Will not move through seasons
  • Eliminates most sheetrock / drywall repairs
  • No nutrients for insects
Other ICF Blocks Can Be Clunky

Other ICF Blocks are Not as User-Friendly as Fox Blocks

Other ICF’s

  • As narrow as 1” wide
  • As much as 1 3/4” gap every 16” vertically due to ties not touching
  • Settling due to ties not touching

Three Key Areas give You the True Accurate Cost of the ICF you Choose

| Building Tips Using ICFs | September 11, 2012

Insulated Concrete Forms

Insulated Concrete Form prior to cement pour

Calculating the true cost of installing ICF blocks means that you have to consider everything included- which may not be apparent at first.  Fox Blocks provides customers with tools that can be used to produce a realistic estimate that homeowners and contractors can take to the bank.  Check out our three tips below and download our Man Hour Rate Sheet for your next ICF project.

  1. ICF Block Cost. Most ICF’s fall to within $0.10 per square foot of each other in block cost which is a minor portion of the overall cost of the wall construction. You must get All-In landed ICF System cost to accurately compare.
  2. Ancillary Product Cost. Add in all ancillary products cost not in the block quote. A common example is most ICF’s require internal truss wire to give needed strength to the system. Know what’s required within system install guidelines to produce a straight wall. See other side for examples that will Save You Time & $$$$ on your next job.
  3. Man Hour Rate to Install. Eliminating tasks will shave hours/days off the project. Installation labor is the largest portion of overall ICF cost. Seek full disclosure on man hour rates to install the ICF system you are considering. Listening to experienced installing contractors and have gained an understanding of what ICF product attributes can make the difference between a streamlined, profitable job and one that is not.  Fox Blocks offers a Man Hour Rate Sheet on our website.

Tilt Up Construction and Insulated Concrete Forms

| Fox Blocks ICF Events | December 17, 2011

Fox Blocks worked the Tilt Up Concrete Association Expo in Kansas City, MO. It’s cool working for a company that gives you a green light to pursue some different market opportunities. The Tilt Up folks are not known for using much ICF, but Tilt up buildings are getting furred out and insulated so here we come with a great alternative.

We have a new product called the Fox Tilt Insulation Furring System; it’s basically a knockdown ICF panel with a very slick insert that some smart folks at our company engineered in-house. The Fox Tilt Insert is a sleeve in, ratcheting, structural embedment fastener into the concrete. It’s the heart of the system; it’s what mechanically fastens the insulation panel and the plastic furring studs to the concrete wall.

Last year Fox Blocks decided we could add speed and value to the Tilt Up industry and it took all of 2 weeks to get the Fox Tilt insert engineered, mold made, and production started. I can’t stop grinning about the capabilities of our parent Airlite Plastics.

The Tilt Up Expo featured an outdoor exhibition of technologies and we did an actual concrete pour into a sample tilt up panel that had Fox Tilt as underlayment, and as a wet set array. You can see this demonstration in the video above.

A unique and interesting feature of this video is you will see me doing physical labor. A rare and wonderful thing – it is not to be missed. The real heavy lifting and knowledge base came from our associate Brian Smith; he has done multiple projects with this method and is true industry proponent. I edited the video and he is not in it much. It appears I am the expert. I don’t know how that happens.

Here are some fun things to consider. The Fox Tilt Insert stands ¾” from face of foam and therefore does not interfere with any rebar. Existing engineering applies. The Fox Tilt Insulation Panel is a flat panel; the thickness of the concrete remains the same. Existing engineering applies. All we are doing is providing a mechanically fastened insulation and furring system to either the interior or exterior face (or both if the sales guy is really good) of the tilt up wall.

So the reason this was so much fun at the Tilt Up Expo was showing off how fast we can do this and at how little it costs. So if you see a tilt up project specified to be furred out and insulated, or if you see a tilt up project that is specified as a concrete sandwich with the foam in the middle (yikes!) let us know. There’s a good possibility there’s a funner way to get the job done.

Las Vegas Goes Green with ICFs

| Fox Blocks in the Field | December 14, 2011

Thanks to Randy and Bart, many Las Vegas fire stations will be now be built using Fox Blocks core 6″ insulated concrete forms. An exciting example of excellent work between a regional manager and a top flight local dealer.

International GreenBuild Trade Show in Toronto

| Fox Blocks ICF Events | October 19, 2011

GreenBuild Expo 2011 TorontoFox Blocks ICF exhibited at the USGBC GreenBuild Show in Toronto a few weeks back. This was the first time the GreenBuild Show has been held in a city outside of the USA. Toronto was an excellent location for such an event, as it is located just across Lake Ontario from Rochester, NY. Held in the heart of the city, the Toronto Convention Centre is surrounded by hotels and restaurants. Further, it is beside the Air Canada Centre, the sports arena which is home to the Toronto Maple Leafs and Toronto Raptors, as well as the GreenBuild Opening Keynote Celebration and Maroon 5 concert.

More relevant is that Toronto’s financial district has embraced sustainable design and construction. Over the past few years developers have observed that LEED registered buildings lease more quickly and with rent premiums of up to 30%. Coupled with this is the fact that Toronto has a district cooling system utilizing the cool water from Lake Ontario, and BOMA has implemented energy conservation retrofit programs with the electrical and gas utilities. With so many of these GREEN activities ongoing in the city Toronto was a natural host for the Greenbuild Show.

The GreenBuild show was a success. The EXPO was larger, up by 30% to over 900 exhibitors. Unfortunately attendance was down by 15% at a little over 23,000 attendees. This decline was likely due to two factors, the economy and also that the location was outside of the USA. However the show was attended by architects, engineers, developers, contractors, building material suppliers of which Fox Blocks was one, and green entrepreneurs. It was a truly international EXPO with participants coming from a total of 108 countries. The interest level of the attendees was upbeat and everyone was networking. We at Fox Blocks found the show very worth while, we learned a great deal, met old friends and made many new contacts.

All in all it was an excellent show.

Build to Resist Tornadoes: Storm Safe ICF Structures

| Benefits of ICFs | May 19, 2011

Fox Blocks ICF wishes to extend condolences to all those families who have lost loved ones from the storms over the past few days. We have all seen the reports and it is just tragic.

More than 300 lives have been lost and many more injured. Property damage was extensive where ever the 148 tornadoes touched down. This year’s storm season is anticipated to be severe, worse than usual, and it has only started.

But this loss of life, injury and property damage does not have to be a normal experience America must just accept. Insulating Concrete Form (ICF) wall technology is a well known cost effective building system which due to its inherent features of the strength of its reinforced concrete core, and weight / high mass, resists the forces of nature much better that typical frame walls when in the path of a tornado.

Research by Texas Tech Wind Science and Engineering Research Center has demonstrated that ICF walls better protect occupants of houses from windblown debris, than frame walls. Being hit by windblown debris is the most common cause of injury during tornadoes.

FEMA has published documentation on how to build storm shelters using ICF walls. Take that a step further and make your next house a whole house storm shelter!

The Portland Cement Association (PCA) has reports documenting the abilities of concrete walls to resist the forces of calamitous storms. So, this loss of life, injury and property damage is something we can protect against. So why not just do it? It requires change and many people are reluctant to change. But we have made similar changes in the past.

Historically, mankind has had to deal with the risk of fire in towns and cities. At first it was just accepted as a risk of urban living. But we learned to control the risk by having fire departments and a system of fire hydrants throughout cities.

America has a similar opportunity to build to resist tornados. Build with Fox Blocks ICF walls. It may cost a little more up front but you will sleep at night knowing you have a solid defense for you and your family. As well you will enjoy the other well known benefits of Fox Blocks ICF walls which include: reduced energy costs, a quiet home, fire resistant construction, and a more durable structure. How could you accept anything less for your family?

Consider the alternatives and build, or re-build, with Fox Blocks ICF walls.

Industry Standard ICF’s: Feedback from Contractors

| Benefits of ICFs | May 19, 2011

January through April is when we plant our seeds for the year by displaying our product for the market in trade shows. I’ve participated in these trade shows for 17 years now in the ICF industry and it has always been the same old thing, but this year was notably different. Coast to coast we witnessed an interesting shift. Each show we were in, we listened to the contractors to understand what they needed. These same contractors have all used multiple brands of ICF’s and settled on the one they felt was the best. It is very evident that the three brands most commonly named are considered the best in the industry. Not surprising is the fact that all of these were 4’ long and had ties at 8” on center, which has become the industry standard.

This team I have joined has been in the industry long enough (add us up and we have over 200 years experience!) that a lot of the contractors know us. Out of courtesy, these contractors have been stopping at our booths to say hi and end up asking why we think we are better. We would just smile and without really comparing, just list the facts: all of our corners have two ties on the short end to eliminate rotation during concrete placement, our blocks are reversible which allows for one corner does all, our ties are a full 1 ½” wide, same as wood or metal studs (industry standard), and they touch each other vertically allowing attachment at any point in the wall, etc.

In other words we just plain had fun as the contractors would finish our sentences and then call other contractors into our booth to explain the benefits. I have never had a year as fun as I’m having right now and to be honest we are just getting going. It is exciting for a company that listens to the contractor again. Our R & D list is getting as long as it was in the old Blue Maxx era and I can’t wait to share what’s on it. I have also been on many installs this year and have seen the maturity in this growing ICF industry.

The top three ICF’s have created a strong industry that has withstood several recessions and yet continues to grow. Whatever brand of ICF you are using; believe in it, install it with excellence and the jobs will continue to come to you.


Insulated Concrete Form manufacturer of Fox Blocks is exhibiting at AIA National Convention: New Orleans: May 12-14

| Fox Blocks ICF Events | May 12, 2011

I hope this note finds you well. My thoughts and prayers go out to those affected by the recent storms and those that are now being affected by the flood waters.

I am reaching out to you to let you know that Fox Blocks is exhibiting at the AIA National Convention being held here in New Orleans now through May 14th. Our booth number is 2806 and we will be displaying our Fox Blocks ICF Wall system and all of the new construction advantages associated with the design and use of our Fox Blocks ICF. Please stop by to visit us or send your attending clients by the exhibit hall to see us.

D.C. Mangimelli, II
Regional Sales Manager
Fox Blocks, EPS Division- Airlite Plastics Company
Insulating Concrete Form Wall Systems
Mobile: 770.527.8720