How Building a Concrete ICF Home Saves on Initial and Long-Term Costs
Building and owning a modern concrete home built with Fox Blocks ICF saves money and time during construction. Energy-efficient, durable, and disaster-resistant Fox Blocks ICF homes also provide long-term financial savings.
Cost Considerations When Building a Concrete Home
More and more builders and homeowners recognize the advantages of energy-efficient, high-performance and disaster-resistant concrete homes. However, some still avoid the method over cost concerns. When looking at cost consideration for building a concrete house, builders and homeowners must evaluate material choices along with the initial and long-term expenses of building and owning a concrete home.
Cost Comparison Between Material Choices for Concrete Home Construction
For modern concrete home construction in the U.S., builders can choose from two common types: concrete masonry units (CMU) and insulated concrete form (ICF). The two methods share several benefits that make them a high-quality wall product for home construction:
- Durability: ICF and CMU wall systems create durable homes that resist wind, moisture, fire, rot, and mold.
- Energy-Efficiency: The mass walls of ICF and CMU produce tight building envelopes and energy-efficient homes.
- Excellent Indoor Environmental Quality (IEQ): ICF and CMU provide suburb IEQ (air quality, thermal conditions, etc.) inside the home.
However, ICF provides a significant advantage over CMU. ICF saves money and time during construction compared to CMU construction.
Building Costs of ICF vs. CMU
When considering the cost of building a concrete home, builders will save money if they choose ICF over CMU. Building with ICFs, like Fox Blocks, allows for faster and simpler construction over CMU. In fact, ICFs take half the time to construct than CMU walls. Therefore, ICF wall systems save money, lessen labor, and reduce construction risks over CMU wall systems.
How Fox Blocks ICF Saves Money During Construction
Building a concrete house with Fox Blocks all-in-one wall assembly allows for fast and low-risk construction. The Fox Blocks Wall Assembly combines five building steps into one, including structure, air barrier, insulation, vapor retarder, and attachment. The all-in-one wall system eliminates the need to coordinate multiple trades, which significantly quickens project delivery while still achieving all of the wall system's goals. Fox Blocks typical construction enables a high-performance wall assembly for a net zero ready home.
Initial and Long-Term Cost Considerations When Building an ICF Concrete Home
Initial Building Costs of ICF Construction
- ICF construction costs 3 to 5 percent more, or $2 to $4 more per square foot of floor area than wood-frame construction. This cost difference could be minimized in comparison to a high-performance wood framed assembly.
- If a homeowner selects a wood-frame home plan, it will require some modification to accommodate ICF construction because the ICF walls are wider (12+ inches) than wood-framed walls (5 to 6 inches). With the modification of the wood-frame home plan, the extra-wide walls of ICF walls lessen the square footage of the structure and increase the cost per square footage of constructing an ICF home.
Long-Term Financial Savings of an ICF Home
The long-term financial benefits of ICF more than make up for the initial higher construction costs:
- ICF construction gives builders a fast and easy method to install a wall system, which saves both time and money.
- ICFs create homes that lessen maintenance and repair because they resist rot and degradation, which further saves the homeowners money.
- ICFs produce homes that stand up to severe wind events, which can save the homeowners the expense of repairing and rebuilding after storms, fires, or earthquakes.
- ICF creates energy-efficient homes, which saves money. In fact, an ICF home requires 32 percent less energy to cool and 44 percent less energy to heat than a wood-framed house.
High-Quality Fox Blocks Products for Building a Concrete ICF Wall
To ensure the long-term financial benefits of concrete homes, builders must use high-quality construction materials, like Fox Blocks products. The design of high-quality Fox Blocks products, for below and above grade walls, ensures ease of use and structural integrity for all the needs of concrete homes. Contractors can utilize the many combinations of Fox Block's building solutions to save time and money to meet the requirements of a home’s design.
Fox Blocks Building Solutions
- The Fox Blocks Series comprises two pieces of 1.5 pcf density modified two and ⅝ inches expanded polystyrene (EPS) foam panels. Molded plastic ties, made of polypropylene (PP) regrind resin, lock the panels six to eight inches apart. The series comes in numerous configurations to meet the needs of any design: straight, curved, T, radius, and more.
- The panelized and energy-efficient Fox Blocks Compact delivers flat, which cuts freight costs.
- The Fox Blocks Reveal product provides builders with an innovative one-sided form that permits insulation on one side of the wall and bare concrete on the opposite side. Contractors will find the Fox Blocks Reveal ideal for elevator shafts, stairwells, walls, gymnasiums, parking garages, and certain floor line details.
- Fox Blocks' line of accessory products makes a project's construction easier. Fox Blocks meets all your needs from window and door bucks to the only patented ICF masonry anchor on the market.
What Makes Fox Blocks Products High-Quality ICF Materials
- Energy-efficient Fox Blocks, with high thermal mass and an R-value of 23, surpass ASHRAE/ANSI 90.1 energy code requirements.
- Fox Blocks' solid continuous monolithic concrete wall and perm rating of less than 1.0, controls moisture accumulation in the wall system and stops the growth of mold, mildew, and rot.
- Disaster-resistant Fox Blocks with steel-reinforced concrete can withstand tornado and hurricane winds of over 200 MPH, and projectile debris moving over 100 MPH.
- Fox Blocks achieve a Sound Transmission Classification (ASTM E90) of 4-inch=STC 46, 6- and 8-inch = STC 50+.
- Fox Blocks contain few to no VOCs.
- Fire-resistant Fox Blocks produce a fire-resistance rating (ASTM E119) of 4 hours for the 6-inch blocks and 2 hours for the 4-inch blocks.
- Fox Blocks lacks organic materials (food of choice of termites), which makes them less prone to termite damage. For waterproofing and termite protection, Fox Blocks recommends Polyguard Products, Inc. 650 XTM, or 650 XTP membranes.
- Fox Blocks is a User friendly product, easy to install, flexible in design and reduces on-site waste.
The True Costs of Building and Owning a Modern Concrete Home
Building a modern concrete home with Fox Blocks ICF saves money and time over CMU construction. Notably, homeowners can offset the slightly higher initial cost of building with ICF over traditional methods (like wood-frame construction) with long-term financial savings. A high-quality ICF product, like Fox Blocks, creates energy-efficient, durable, disaster-resistant, and low maintenance homes, all of which save money forever.
For details on the cost to build an ICF concrete home, builders can estimate ICF material and labor costs by visiting the Fox Blocks Project Estimator.