Fear Not - Simple and Quick ICF Foundations Can Save You Time and Money

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In the past, some general contractors have avoided insulated concrete form (ICF) foundations for fear it was costly and complicated, but today, those that use Fox Blocks ICFs quickly recognize the happy truth. Fox Blocks ICF foundation walls install quickly and easily - which saves time and money by reducing labor costs, eliminating the need for several different subcontractors, and hastening project delivery time. In fact, a Fox Block foundation wall can cost 20 percent less to build than either a concrete block or poured concrete foundation wall.

Many years ago, a carpenter assumed most, if not all, of the responsibilities of building a house. Over time, homebuilding became more complicated and required specialty-trained skilled laborers and subcontractors. As a result, carpenters (and builders) assumed the role of a general contractor and began hiring subcontractors. Today, most general contractors rely on subcontractors for foundations, masonry, concrete work, and other specialty trades to help with their construction projects. In fact, the National Association of Home Builders reports that today's builders often employ 20 or more subcontractors, resulting in 75 percent of the total construction cost.

Increasing the Number of Subcontractors Impacts Building Costs

In the building industry, the trend towards more specialized material and applications challenges contractors to hire an increasing number of subcontractors. For instance, the complexity of concrete and masonry foundations requires the specific skills of experienced workers, along with specialized equipment; therefore, many general contractors choose to hire a subcontractor. Unfortunately, the specialized subcontractors means that the contractor must spend more time on contracts, scheduling, and coordination - all of which add more to the building costs of the project.

Labor Shortages Further Impact the Bottom Line

Subcontractor (and labor) shortages in the U.S. remain widespread. Builders report that because of these shortages, they must pay higher wages and subcontractor bids, both of which increase the cost to build. In addition, they find it difficult to complete jobs on time. The top five building occupations reporting the greatest shortages include framing crews, finish and rough carpenters, bricklayers/masons, and concrete workers.

Fox Block ICF Foundations Can Save Contractors Money

General contractors can lessen their dependence on subcontractors by utilizing innovative products like Fox Block ICFs for foundation walls. Fox Block ICFs provide the general contractor a quick and straightforward method to construct foundation walls with their carpentry crew (after proper ICF training).

Fox Blocks ICFs feature an all-in-one wall system that allows for fast and low-risk foundation construction. The wall system combines five building steps into one; insulation, air barrier, vapor retarder, attachment, and structure, which reduces the need to coordinate multiple trades, which thereby lessens costs and significantly expedites a successful project delivery while still achieving all of the goals. Fox Blocks ICFs create energy-efficient, disaster-resistant, and durable foundations that contribute to excellent indoor environmental quality for the home or building.

Building a Fox Blocks ICF Foundation Wall

A Fox Blocks foundation wall involves dry-stacking, engineered expanded polystyrene foam blocks that interlock together to form the foundation. After reinforcing and bracing the forms, skilled workers place concrete into the hollow form panels. Fox Block ICFs provide a fast and simple method of building below-grade walls - which saves both time and money, plus ICFs may be used for the above grade walls to the roof.

Eight Benefits of Fox Block ICF Foundations

  1. Wind- and Disaster-resistant, they can withstand winds exceeding 200 mph, and projectile debris flying over 100 mph.
  2. They have a fire-resistance rating (ASTM E119) of 4 hours for the six-inch blocks and 2 hours for the four-inch blocks.
  3. They incorporate continuous insulation (CI), with few to no thermal bridges.
  4. They have built-in insulation values of greater than R-20, and surpass ASHRAE/ANSI 90.1 energy code requirements with an R-value of 23.
  5. They resist termites with an application of a product like Polyguard Products, Inc. 650 XTM, or 650 XTP membranes.
  6. The pouring of concrete (into the ICFs) can occur at ambient temperatures as cold as 5 °F.
  7. They provide an excellent curing environment for concrete walls, resulting in a concrete foundation with nearly double the compressive strength of a traditional poured concrete foundation.
  8. Typical residential ICF foundation walls may be designed with a 6" reinforced concrete core, substantially less than 8" or 10" poured concrete or masonry walls.

The simplicity and speed of Fox Blocks ICF construction will set any contractor's mind at ease when it comes to creating straight and plumb ICF foundations. Moreover, Fox Blocks ICF foundations eliminate several subcontractors, which improves scheduling, and saves both time and money compared to concrete block or poured concrete foundation walls. In addition, high-performing Fox Blocks ICF foundations are more energy-efficient and resistant to cracking and moisture intrusion than poured concrete foundations.

Fox Blocks foundations are compatible for the installation of specific below grade waterproofing and dampproofing membranes and approved applications.

General contractors can reduce labor subcontracting expenses, improve completion schedules, and create durable, healthy, and energy-efficient foundations with easy to install Fox Blocks ICF construction. Please contact Fox Blocks professionals for more information on ICF construction and training.