Get Quicker Winter Construction with ICF

Winter construction

Many builders in the northern U.S. and Canada prefer to build in the spring and summer months, due to warmer weather conditions. However, delays can push project completions into the frigid winter months, creating problems because frozen ground makes traditional concrete pours difficult, causing further completion delays. Unfortunately, builders often must pay a penalty for not completing the job on time.

Fortunately, contractors can safely extend their building season into the winter months with Insulated Concrete Form (ICF) walls and foundation. ICFs quickly deliver energy-efficient, durable, safe, and eco-friendly homes and buildings even during the harshest winter conditions.

Winter Construction with ICF

Concerns with Conventional Concrete Pours in Cold Temperatures

Building during frigid winter weather presents several challenges, particularly when it comes to conventional concrete pouring.

Conventional concrete pouring exposes the concrete to the cold. A problem because after pouring concrete, it must cure at temperatures above 40° F for 24 hours; otherwise, the hydration reaction stops, preventing the concrete from gaining strength. Furthermore, the chemical balance of the concrete will break if the concrete freezes before achieving 500 psi. Once the concrete reaches a compressive strength of at least 500 psi, freezing will not affect its strength.

Traditional concrete pours require special consideration to ensure the concrete obtains the needed strength before freezing. During cold weather, conventional concrete walls require windbreaks, insulated formwork, and heaters, significantly delaying completion time and increasing construction costs.

ICF Allows for Quick and Efficient Building in the Winter

Efficient building

During freezing winter temperatures in the northern U.S. and Canada, builders can efficiently use insulated concrete forms (ICFs) to continue their work on the same schedule as they do during the summer months. ICF allows builders to complete a winter build much faster than buildings dependent on traditional concrete pours. ICF walls also ensure a durable, long-lasting structure because ICF resists condensation and damaging mold growth, unlike wood-frame construction.

Quick and Cold-Resistant ICF Construction

The high insulating properties of ICF permit placing concrete into above- and below-grade ICFs with ambient temperatures as low as -5° F (-15° Celsius), only requiring protection at the top of the wall or exposed edges with insulation or an insulating blanket to retain the heat in the concrete. In cold weather applications Ready-Mix suppliers typical mix concrete with hot water. The insulated forms protect the concrete from freezing or rapid drying, and insulation layers contain the heat, created within the concrete during the curing process, to stay within the wall actually adding strength to the curing process. ICF construction drastically extends your construction season, possibly allowing you to pour year-round, hastening completions and lessening weather-related delays.

ICFs Design Provides Superior Thermal Mass

ICF panel design includes inherently high thermal mass concrete sandwiched and isolated between two continuous panels of expanded polystyrene (EPS) foam, significantly lessening the outward flow of heat through the wall. With R-values above 23, ICFs create cozy and warm homes throughout the cold winter months, reducing mechanical heating use by 60 percent.

The high thermal mass ICF walls reduce energy consumption during the winter by maximizing solar gains. ICF uses its thermal mass to absorb heat energy from sun-facing windows, along with the heat produced from lighting, cooking, and appliance use. The absorbed heat gradually releases in the night as temperatures drop, keeping the home warm and reducing the need for mechanical heating.

Durable, Moisture-Resistance ICF Protects Against Condensation

Cold weather can diminish a building’s durability, particularly with a wood-framed home. In the cold winter, air leaks outward through wood-framed walls, eventually causing the moisture in the air to turn to frost. Warming temperatures in the spring melt the frost, creating rot, damaging your walls and ceiling, and degrading the integrity of your home.

Fortunately, durable, airtight, and moisture-resistant ICF walls resist condensation year-round, including the winter months, and, therefore will resist structurally damaging and unhealthy mold.

Why Fox Blocks ICFs are the Best Wall System for Cold Winter Climates

During frigid weather, Fox Blocks ICF construction, for above- and below-grade walls allows builders to stay on schedule and extend their outdoor working season.

Fox Blocks ICFs allow placing concrete into above- and below-grade ICFs during freezing temperatures, only needing to top the form with insulating blankets for protection. Fox Blocks insulated forms keep the concrete from freezing so the curing process can complete, quickening completions and reducing cold-weather-related delays.

The Fox Blocks Series, all-in-one wall assembly, makes it fast and simple to install. Fox Blocks wall systems blend five construction steps into one, insulation, structure, air barrier, vapor retarder, and attachment — quickening project delivery time by eliminating the need to coordinate various trades.

Fox blocks winter construction

After completing construction, Fox Blocks ICFs provide many other benefits in harsh winter climates.

Fox Blocks exceed ASHRAE/ANSI 90.1 energy code requirements, creating warm, comfortable, and healthy homes and buildings with superb moisture resistance and energy performance. Fox Blocks offers a solid continuous monolithic concrete wall with a perm rating of less than 1.0, controlling moisture infiltration and stopping the mold growth. Fox Blocks also provide continuous insulation with an R-value of 23, ensuring an airtight building envelope with better performance than wood-frame construction.

Improve your business plan by extending your building season for below and above walls by using Fox Blocks. Get a jump on the competition.

Please contact Fox Blocks professionals for more on quick winter construction with ICF.