Reduce Moisture Problems with ICF Construction

Reduce Moisture Problems with ICF Construction

The Dangers of Moisture to Your Home’s Foundation

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Moisture around your home’s exterior will put pressure on its stud-framed foundation, causing the house to settle, shift, and prematurely age. The foundation will also absorb moisture, causing it to expand and crack. Moreover, water can lead to unhealthy and \damaging mold and mildew. Repairing a water-damaged foundation often costs thousands of dollars.

How Moisture Infiltrates Wood Stud Walls

Unfortunately, moisture can infiltrate stud-framed foundations in several ways, resulting in long-term damage and expensive repairs:

  • Concrete block and unreinforced poured concrete walls can crack if not correctly prepared, allowing water to leak through. These cracks may be challenging to find, and they often require a homeowner to dig up the concrete to locate the leak.

  • Concrete block and unreinforced poured concrete walls can leak moisture through non-structural cracks at the top of the foundation wall, through the porous concrete, or where the wall and floor meet.

  • Leaks will occur if the foundation wall drops, settles, or sinks due to the collapsing soil below the foundation.

  • Improper grading can lead to standing water on the foundation and poorly planned outdoor construction can result in additional pressure on foundation walls causing cracks or penetrations.

Inspection the Foundation of a Wood Framed Home

Routine foundation inspections can limit costly repair bills. Homeowners should look for the following signs that may indicate a water-damaged foundation:

  • Look for cracks in the floors and walls of your basement, over doorways, window seals, and where the walls meet the ceiling. Pay particular attention to horizontal cracks and stair-step cracks in block walls or corners; these indicate significant damage

  • Excessive moisture absorption within the foundation that can cause floors to creak and doors and windows to jam

  • Moisture absorption within a foundation which can lead to bending or sagging walls

  • A musty odor in your crawlspace or basement that indicates an accumulation of mold and mildew due to moisture infiltration

  • Rotted wood and moldy patches due to moisture

  • Discoloration of your walls, wallpaper peeling off, or a moist and spongy carpeted floor

  • Standing water in basement or crawlspace caused by water seeping through cracks

  • Flooding soil or pooled water around the exterior of your home

How ICFs Reduce Foundation Moisture Problems


You can avoid stud-framing moisture problems by choosing a moisture-resistant insulated concrete form (ICF) foundation for your new home:

  • ICF foundations, along with a below-grade waterproofing membrane and a reliable drainage system, significantly lessen the possibility of moisture intrusion. Permeable ICF walls resist moisture accumulation and stop condensation. In addition, Fox Block ICFs, with a perm rating of less than 1.0, act as a vapor retarder. If water vapor gets through Fox Block ICFs, they stop moisture accumulation, preventing damaging mold within the wall system. The ICF wall system also maintains a steady temperature above the dew point, which averts condensation.

  • ICF foundations have twice as much compressive strength (resistance to shrinking) as poured concrete foundations. Since the ICF concrete is protected with a double layer of insulation, this provides an excellent environment for the hydration process (curing) of the concrete, increasing concrete strength, effectively resisting cracking and settling and the consequent moisture damage than poured concrete.

Easy to Install ICF Foundations Provide Superior Durability and Insulation

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ICF foundations offer simple construction and superior durability and insulation qualities over traditional poured concrete foundations, along with energy efficiency.

Save Time and Money with ICF Foundations

ICFs are a fast and straightforward method of building below-grade walls, saving money and significantly hastening project delivery time. Building an ICF foundation involves dry-stacking of reinforced expanded polystyrene foam panel blocks. Skilled workers then pour concrete into the hollow form panels. Concrete pouring into the insulated forms can occur at ambient temperatures as cold as 5°F, unlike typical concrete forming systems and cmu foundations that require much warmer temperatures.

Durable ICF Foundations

An ICF foundation provides disaster-, fire-, and termite resistance.

  • Disaster-resistant ICF foundations with steel-reinforced concrete can be designed and engineered for all seismic zones.

  • Fire-resistant ICF walls, like Fox Blocks ICFs, have a fire-resistance rating (ASTM E119) of 4 hours (6-inch blocks) and 2 hours (4-inch blocks).

  • The application of Polyguard Products, Inc. 650 XTM or 650 XTP membranes provides termite resistance.

  • All ICF below grade foundation walls will have a compatible waterproofing and/or damppproofing application applied.

Energy-Efficient ICF Foundations

ICF foundations include continuous insulation with few to no thermal bridges, providing built-in insulation values greater than R-20. Foundations built with Fox Blocks exceed ASHRAE/ANSI 90.1 energy code requirements with an R-value of 23, while poured concrete foundations have R-values less than 3.

Minimize Foundation Moisture Problems with Fox Block ICFs

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Your family's health and safety depend on your home's foundation maintaining its strength against nature's forces for the lifespan of your house. A durable, long-lasting foundation must resist moisture to avoid cracking, settling or sinking, all scenarios that can damage a home's integrity and lead to unhealthy mold, structural damage, and costly repairs.

The moisture-resistance and compressive strength of Fox Blocks ICF foundations reduce moisture problems and resist cracking and mold growth compared to traditional poured concrete foundations. Fox Blocks ICFs better protect a home against damaging mold, sinking, settling, or even collapsing. Homeowners aiming to construct a long-lasting, moisture-resistant foundation that provides durability, excellent indoor air quality, and energy efficiency should consider Fox Blocks ICF foundation construction.

For more on how to reduce moisture problems with ICF construction, get in touch with the professionals at Fox Blocks today!