10 Steps for Building a Home with Insulated Concrete Form Blocks

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An ICF home, like one built with Fox Blocks, provides many of the essential features that today’s homeowner is looking for: excellent indoor environmental quality (IEQ), energy-efficiency, and disaster-resistance. Specifically, ICF homeowners can expect the following benefits over a wood-frame home: 20 percent or more energy savings, 10-30 percent less outside air infiltration,a 4-hour fire rating, twice the strength, and three times quieter.

Building an ICF home saves energy, money, and improves the safety and comfort of its occupants. Additional advantages of building a Fox Blocks ICF home include easy and low-risk construction, and pest- and moisture-resistance.

Reduce Building Steps with an ICF Wall System

Because Fox Blocks is an all-in-one wall assembly, building a Fox Blocks ICF home is fast and low-risk. The Fox Blocks Wall System combines five construction steps into one, including structure, insulation, air barrier, vapor retarder, and attachment. This feature greatly accelerates project delivery by eliminating the need to coordinate multiple trades, while achieving all of the wall system’s objectives.

By following a few basic steps, a trained professional can efficiently and safely construct a home with Fox Blocks ICF.

10 Steps For Building an ICF Home

Step 1. Excavation and site preparation.

Step 2. Form the footings and reinforce per engineer’s instructions.

Step 3. Place the concrete footing forms. Finish concrete to make a level surface for stacking the ICF blocks.


Step 4. Stack the Fox Blocks forms - blocks.


The Fox Blocks Series blocks include two pieces of 1.5 pcf density modified two ⅝ inches expanded polystyrene (EPS) foam panels. The panels are locked six to eight inches apart with molded plastic ties made of polypropylene (PP) regrind resin. The first row of the ICF wall stacks directly on the footing.

  1. First, place the Fox Blocks Series - corner block on each corner of the structure.
  2. Next, lay the Fox Blocks Series - straight blocks towards the center of each wall segment.
  3. Use HV Clips on the corners webs to connect the blocks and pull them snugly together.
  4. Place horizontal rebar in the clips at the top of the internal webs within the block cavity. The clips securely hold the rebar and eliminate the need for wire tying. Repeat step 4 for each course of blocks.
  5. When installing the second course of the block, reverse the corner blocks. Reversing the second course corner blocks offsets these blocks from the first row in a running bond pattern.
  6. At this point, use a transit level to check that the wall is level and that the footings have not dropped. If the wall is not level, place shims or trim the block as required. Also, check the wall for correct length and height.
  7. Install Fox Bucks in the door and window openings. The Bucks stay in place permanently and are used to hold back the concrete, provide attachment and insulation between the concrete and window/door frames. All kinds of doors and windows are attachable to the Fox Bucks.
  8. Install the additional courses of blocks by continuing to overlap the courses so that all joints are locked by both above and below by interlocking blocks.
  9. Stack the block to the full wall height for single story construction or just above floor height for multi-story construction.

Step 5: Install vertical alignment bracing around the entire structure to secure the walls. The bracing keeps the walls straight and plumb. The bracing also allows for alignment adjustment before and during the concrete pour. In addition, the bracing serves the additional purpose of providing a secure and safe framework to support scaffolding planks.


Step 6: It is critical to inspect all the reinforcement, strapping, and bracing before placing concrete into the Fox Blocks.

Step 7: Place the concrete into the walls using a boom or line pump. Placing the concrete in lifts at about four feet at a time. Continue to place the concrete until the top of the wall is reached. It is necessary to have an experienced concrete person on site for this step, proper placement and consolidation are needed to ensure the highest quality and integrity of the wall.

  • Improper concrete placement can cause a blowout. A blowout results in a delay and cleanup.
  • Sufficient vibration while placing the concrete is crucial for preventing the formation of air pockets and voids. Air pockets and voids can lessen the strength of a home, along with the home's resistance to moisture, air, and insect intrusion.

Step 8: Use a mechanical vibrator to internally vibrate the concrete and remove all air pockets within the wall.

Step 9: Level off the concrete until it is even with the block top, then wet set anchor bolts into the concrete block top. The anchor bolts are used later to install the top plate, mud sill, for the installation of rafters or trusses.

Step 10: Remove the bracing and clean bracing.


How Fox Blocks Can Help

Building an ICF home requires qualified professionals that understand the complexities and challenges of constructing an ICF home. A properly built ICF home has a tight building envelope and strong structural integrity.

Let a Fox Blocks professional help answer your technical questions, connect you with a distributor or review your ICF home plans for cost estimating.