9 Benefits of ICF Homes in Canada

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Insulated concrete form (ICF) homes in Canada can benefit both the builders and homeowners.

It helps the builders because it doesn't depend on wood (and its skyrocketing prices), and it’s fast and straightforward installation reduces labor needs.

Homeowners benefit from ICF because they create energy-efficient, disaster-resistant, healthy, durable, and low-maintenance homes that can accommodate any home plan and design, building for the future.

Canada homes

The Escalating Housing Market in Canada

The booming housing market in Canada shows no signs of slowing down - a situation that offers homebuilders an excellent opportunity to grow their business. However, several current trends in new home construction are challenging the bottom line for many contractors in Canada.

  • The increasing and unstable costs for both materials and labor make it difficult for builders to estimate construction projects.
  • Modern construction standards in Canada demand greater energy-efficiency and disaster-resistance in new homes. Including these features in traditional home construction can tremendously increase the cost.
  • Today's homeowners want low-maintenance, durable homes with excellent indoor environmental quality. To meet these demands and ensure a profit, builders must carefully design and budget, which adds time and expense to the project.
  • The latest proposals for Canada’s National Building Code (NBC) emphasize energy performance that puts in place energy-performance targets that contractors must achieve. Ultimately the 2020 codes aim to guide the Canadian construction industry towards the higher-performance levels expected by 2032. Builders may choose material and methods as long as the final structure achieves the required overall score.
  • Millennial homebuyers often opt for unique-contemporary home plans that can add time and expense to a project.
Canada housing market

Fortunately, the benefits of insulated concrete forms (ICFs) offer home builders a financially practical solution to all these trends, which helps protect their profit margin. ICFs will produce a high-performing, code-compliant, and healthy home that saves the homeowner money on utility bills, maintenance, and repairs.

9 Benefits of Building ICF Homes in Canada - For Builders and Homeowners

1. Lowers Labor and Material Costs

  • Fox Blocks ICF construction offers an ideal solution to rising home construction labor costs. Fox Blocks are fast and easy to install, saving both money and time. Unlike wood-framed walls, the Fox Blocks ICF wall assembly combines five steps into one: insulation, structure, air barrier, vapor retarder, and attachment.
  • Fox Blocks offer stable material pricing, unlike wood. ICF construction allows builders to estimate a building project more accurately and protect their net profits.

2. Energy-Efficient Homes

Winter in canada

Canada experiences harsh winters that can challenge many homeowners to pay their heating bills during the long, cold months. Consequently, today's new home buyers demand energy-efficient homes, like those built with ICF. ICF construction saves on operating costs every year, helps achieve the latest builder codes, creates comfortable homes, protects from weather events, and increases resale value.

  • Fox Blocks ICF wall system, with an R-value of 23 and high thermal mass, provides continuous insulation, stopping air leaks (thermal bridging) and moisture build-up within the wall system. Continuous insulation ensures an energy-efficient, comfortable, and affordable home, even during the coldest Candian winters. Importantly, advancing energy and building codes make ICFs a logical and efficient system for below-grade basement walls and above-grade high-performance walls. In contrast, conventional construction will require additional efforts to meet the new requirements in most of Canada.

3. Wind-Resistant Home Design

Canada reports 40 to 60 tornadoes a year, making it the second most tornado-prone country globally. Fortunately, homes built with Fox Blocks ICFs can protect a house and occupants from nature's destructive forces.

With steel-reinforced concrete, Fox Blocks ICF walls create a continuous load path that holds the roof, walls, floors, and foundation together during a dangerous wind event.

  • They can stand up to tornado and hurricane winds of over 200 MPH.
  • They can stop airborne debris moving at over 100 mph from penetrating the wall system.

4. Creates Fire-Resistant Houses

About 8,000 wildfires occur yearly throughout Canada, resulting in the burning of 2.5 million hectares/year (8.16 million acres/year) and the destruction of many homes and buildings. Therefore, the design of new homes in Canada must include fire-resistant products like ICF wall assemblies.

  • Fox Blocks ICF walls limit the spread of flames during a fire and can withstand constant exposure to intense flames - saving homeowners money on costly repairs after a fire. Fox Blocks ICFs have a fire-resistance ASTM E119 rating of 2-hours for the 4-inch blocks and 4-hours for the 6-inch blocks.
Fire Resistant Homes with Fox Blocks IC Fs 2

5. Earthquake-Resistant Houses

Many regions of Canada contain earthquake zones - areas where earthquakes occur in clusters. Fortunately, building a home in Canada with ICFs creates earthquake-resistant houses with shear walls that extend the entire height and sides of the house. During an earthquake, ICF construction withstands intense sideways (lateral) in-plane forces that push the top of the wall one way. Simultaneously, the bottom stays either stationary or is forced in the other direction (racking the wall).

6. Low-Maintenance and Durable Homes

Moisture- and pest-resistant ICF construction creates durable homes with low maintenance and reduced long-term repair costs.

  • With a perm rating less than 1.0, ICFs control moisture accumulation in the wall interior, which in conventional construction leads to the growth of mould and mildew, degrading a home's integrity and leading to expensive repairs.
  • Fox Blocks lack organic materials - the food of choice for termites - saving homeowners on long-term repairs caused by these destructive pests. However, for waterproofing and termite protection, Fox Blocks recommends Polyguard Products, Inc. 650 XTM, or 650 XTP membranes.
Fox blocks homes

7. Produces Healthy Homes

Today's families want healthy homes with excellent indoor air quality (IAQ) to live, work, and raise their children. Achieving superior IAQ requires the use of non-toxic and moisture-resistant building products, like ICF.

  • Moisture-resistant ICF walls ensure good IAQ because they stop the growth of unhealthy mould.
  • ICF walls lack toxic VOCs, which can cause liver or kidney damage and even cancer.
  • Airtight ICF walls, with mechanical ventilation, ensure a healthy indoor environment with low humidity and unpolluted air.

8. Walls Furnish Excellent Acoustics

Homeowners looking for a quiet and peaceful home that improves sleep, lowers stress, boosts concentration, and provides an overall healthier environment for the family should consider Fox Blocks ICF home construction.

  • ICF wall systems lessen sounds within a home from road noise and planes and between the interior walls. Fox Blocks have Sound Transmission Class ratings of STC 45-50+,
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9.Accommodates All Home Plans and Designs

Many millennial homebuyers want a house representing their unique style with custom angles, curved walls, cathedral ceilings, and long ceiling spans - all features that can add time and costs to a project, especially when working with wood. Fortunately, ICF's strength and flexibility offer a less complicated solution to custom home construction because builders can easily cut and shape ICF to accommodate all home designs and plans.

Building homes in canada

Why Build an ICF Home in Canada

ICF homes in Canada help builders maintain their profits because of ICFs stable pricing and quick construction compared to above and below grade conventional construction. ICF houses benefit homeowners and protect their investment because ICF creates energy-efficient, disaster-resistant, healthy, durable, and low-maintenance homes that can accommodate any home plan and design.

Please contact Fox Blocks for more information on the benefits of ICF homes in Canada.