ICF Construction in Michigan - Everything You Need to Know

Everything You Need to Know About ICF Construction in Michigan

In Michigan, insulated concrete form (ICF) home construction provides a superior framing option for creating energy-efficient and storm-resistant homes, which is vital to combating Michigan's frigid winters and increasing severe storms and flooding, especially since scientists predict an increase in tornado activity, partially in tornado-prone southern Michigan.

ICF homes Michigan offer several other significant benefits to builders and homeowners:

  • Moisture- and termite-resistant ICFs create long-lasting homes with less long-term maintenance and repair costs.

  • Fire-resistant ICFs will help protect Michigan homes from the increasing threat of wildfires in Michigan due to rising temperatures and drier weather.

  • They are non--toxic and mold-resistant to support a healthy indoor environment.

  • ICF creates sound-proof homes.

  • Fast and easy-to-install ICFs require less labor and hasten project delivery time - vital for today's builders who struggle with labor and material shortages.

Five Advantages of ICF Construction in Michigan

Fox Blocks ICFs create energy-efficient, long-lasting, strong, disaster-resistant, healthy, and sound-proof homes. Important to builders, and readily available, ICF homes assemble quickly with less labor than traditional building methods, like wood framing.


1. Energy-Efficient ICF Houses in Michigan

In January, Michigan temperatures often drop below 0° F (-17.8° C) and as low as -20° F (-28.9° C) in the northern regions, like Petoskey and Traverse City. The wind chill factor also increases the cold exponentially with temperatures below -50° F (-45° C). Therefore, building affordable homes that protect families against the long and intense Michigan winters requires energy-efficient materials, like Fox Blocks ICFs.

High-thermal mass Fox Blocks ICFs, (R-value of 23) create homes with tight building envelopes to protect the occupants' health and comfort by creating houses with manageable energy bills. In addition, ICF above- and below-grade wall systems provide continuous insulation (CI) that minimizes thermal bridging and heat loss to keep the house warm and dry.

Fox Blocks manufactures ICFs with two 2 ⅝" thick, Type II expanded polystyrene (EPS) insulation panels. EPS insulation creates wall systems with long-term thermal resistance, compared to XPS and Polyiso insulations(both lose R-value over time). As a result, Fox Blocks surpasses all climate zones' ASHRAE/ANSI 90.1 energy code mandates.


2. Durable and Strong ICFs

Fox Blocks ICFs create long-lasting houses that minimize expensive repairs and maintenance due to moisture infiltration, termites, and structural deterioration.

  • Solid continuous monolithic concrete ICF walls, with a perm rating of less than 1.0, will stop warm, moist indoor air infiltration into the cold cavities in the exterior walls. ICFs also allows moisture that accumulates in the wall system to evaporate, and prevent the growth of structurally damaging mold, rot, and mildew.

  • Creates a superior termite-resistant wall system for termite-prone Michigan. They lack the organic material that termites eat, making them less prone to termites than wood. Fox Blocks recommends Polyguard Products, Inc. 650 XTM or 650 XTP waterproofing membranes for added termite protection.

  • Provides a curing environment for concrete walls, resulting in concrete with about twice the compressive strength of poured concrete, which is vital for Michigan foundations.

  • Research comparing ICF walls, wood, and steel-framed walls’ resistance to sideward or lateral forces (racking) concluded that ICF walls provide significantly higher structural capacity and stiffness to resist the in-plane shear forces than wood or steel frame walls.

  • Continuous double insulation layers of an ICF allows for concrete placement in cold weather, extending the building season to be year round.

3. Disaster-Resistant

Fox Blocks ICF wall systems protect homes from fierce storms and tornadoes. Fire-resistant ICFs can also protect Michigan homes from wildfires. In 2021, Michigan experienced 435 wildfires that destroyed 9,289 acres of land.

Wind- and Flood-Resistant

Fast and easy to install, Fox Blocks ICFs create a strong exterior wall system for combating the increasingly severe wind storms in Michigan.

  • Fox Blocks ICFs can withstand winds greater than 200 mph and projectile debris traveling over 100 mph, to provide more protection against extreme wind events and flying debris than steel and wood framing. Fox Blocks has passed the Impact Missile Testing to be compliant to ICC 500 and FEMA P-361.

  • Flood-resistant Fox Blocks solid continuous monolithic concrete walls provide the permeability (perm rating below 1.0) to ensure that moisture within a wall system will dry out and not move to nearby building components. Eliminating moisture will prevent the growth of unhealthy and structurally damaging mold. In addition, Fox Blocks reinforced concrete construction won't degrade when wet —it will maintain its initial shape and integrity during and after a flood.

Fire-Resistant ICF

The increasing threat of wildfires in Michigan demands fire-resistant products in all new construction. Vital components of fire-resistant construction include passive fire protection with fireproof roofs, windows, doors, vents, and exterior walls built with Fox Blocks ICF wall systems. Passive fire protection guards the occupants of a house and protects the home by controlling the spread of smoke and fire.

  • Fire-resistant Fox Blocks achieve a fire-resistance rating (ASTM E119) of 4 hours for the 6-inch blocks and 2 hours for the 4-inch blocks.

4. ICFs Promotes IEQ

ICFs create healthy homes with superior indoor environmental quality (IEQ), including excellent air quality and acoustics, which is crucial to protecting a family's health and comfort. The Joint Center for Housing Studies (JCHS) found that nearly half of American homeowners want healthy-home features. In addition, 83 percent of remodelers and home builders believe consumers will pay more for a healthier home through controlling moisture, optimizing acoustic performance, avoiding products with VOCs, proper ventilation, and maximizing daylighting:

  • Fox Blocks solid continuous monolithic concrete walls have a perm rating of less than 1.0, which controls moisture intrusion and stops the growth of unhealthy mold.

  • ICFs also control noise between the interior and the exterior of the house. Fox Blocks achieve a Sound Transmission Classification (ASTM E90) of 4-inch=STC 46, 6- and 8-inch = STC 50+. Sound transmission tests found that less than a third of sound passes through ICF walls than fiber insulation-filled wood-frame walls.

  • Fox Blocks contain little to no VOCs.

5. Quick and Easy ICF Construction

In 2021, 62 percent of contractors reported problems in recruiting skilled labor. In addition, 95 percent of contractors reported at least one product shortage.

Fortunately, Fox Blocks has the solutions to labor shortages and material shortages: modular construction, innovative and cost-efficient material, and an extensive BIM library.

  • Fox Blocks' modular construction is an all-in-one, above- and below-grade wall assembly that combines five steps: structure, air barrier, insulation, vapor retarder, and attachment. The system reduces the need for additional skilled labor and quickens completion timelines.

  • They provide builders with a cost-effective and available method of building walls and foundations that reduces material needs and waste compared to high-priced steel and wood.

  • Fox Blocks website offers architects and builders a complete resource CAD and BIM library on the product line, code evaluations, testing, and building science attributes, to expedite the design and build process. BIM minimizes C and D waste, material requirements, and cost overruns by improving the quality and accuracy of design and construction. In addition, BIM will review your current supply chain, identify your inefficiencies in under or over-ordering, and permit you to estimate material expenses more accurately.

  • Fox Blocks has a full library of extensive online training courses and videos, on the Integrated Learning Center website.


Why Choose Fox Blocks ICF Construction in Michigan?

Fox Blocks ICF construction provides a superior wall system rather than other building methods, like wood and steel. Energy-efficient and healthy Fox Blocks ICFs create warm homes with manageable energy bills. Furthermore, ICF homes will withstand severe storms, winds, and flooding, and resist damaging moisture and termites. ICFs require less labor and shorten project delivery time, which is vital for today's builders who are often challenged by labor and material shortages.

Don't hesitate to contact Fox Blocks professionals today for everything you need to know about ICF construction in Michigan. For more detailed information search the Resource Library on the Fox Blocks website.