Benefits of Using ICF for Tilt-Up Wall Construction

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The Fox Tilt Insulation Furring System allowed builders outside of Austin, Texas a quick and cost-effective method to build an energy-efficient ICF tilt-up wall for an exclusive 115-yard gun range.

Builders and developers often choose insulated concrete form (ICF) tilt-up wall construction for warehouses, big-box stores and other structures requiring few windows, long straight walls, and minimum aesthetic needs. Notably, builders construct 650 million square feet of tilt-up annually. In Texas alone, tilt-up represents 75 percent of all new commercial construction.

Builders choose tilt-up wall construction because it saves money, especially as the square footage increases:

  • Tilt-up walls construct quicker and require fewer skilled workers than masonry walls.
  • Tilt-up eliminates the transportation costs associated with masonry blocks and precast panels.
  • Tilt-up’s fast construction means new structures become enclosed sooner, which protects workers, their tools, and other supplies from outside elements.

Developers choose ICF tilt-up wall construction for its numerous long-term financial benefits: energy savings, low maintenance, and durability. ICF tilt-up construction creates disaster-resistant structures with excellent indoor environmental quality (IEQ).

What is Tilt-Up Wall Construction?

Tilt-up wall construction first gained momentum during the post-WWII construction boom that coincided with a shortage of skilled labor — the combination demanded more efficient methods of construction. Fortunately, the advent of high-capacity mobile cranes, portable welding machines, and ready-mix trucks permitted builders in the late 1940s to construct tilt-up buildings quickly.

Tilt-up construction involves pouring the walls horizontally on the buildings floor slab at the job site. A crane hoists the panels into a place where steel braces temporarily secure the panels until workers can weld permanent fasteners into the panel’s joints, footings, and roofline. Tilt-up wall construction provides an efficient and low-cost concrete construction method because the concrete comes in all at once and builders set all the walls at one time. However, before 2000, tilt-up walls lacked energy-efficient features.

Improved Energy-Efficiency Standards Prompt Changes in Tilt-Up Walls

In 2000, the International Code Council (ICC) created the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC). The IECC sets the codes and standards for the minimum design and construction requirements for energy efficiency, for both new and renovated buildings. The IECC utilizes the ASHRAE 90.1 as its ICC referenced standards. The ASHRAE 90.1 specifies the amount of insulation required to eliminate thermal bridging and increase the effective R-value in a wall assembly.

The increasing demands for energy-efficient construction compelled builders and dealers to incorporate insulative value into the tilt-up buildings. To add energy-efficiency, many builders choose to either fur out and insulate the tilt-up walls or create a concrete sandwich with the foam in the center; both of which are time-consuming and costly processes.

A few years back, the ICF industry, including Fox Blocks, introduced an alternative and innovative way to build energy-efficient tilt-up walls. The method saves both time and money.

The Fox Tilt Insulation Furring System

The Fox Tilt Insulation Furring System, allows contractors to assemble energy-efficient ICF tilt-up walls quickly.

The Fox Tilt Insert Underlayment Method

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  1. First, builders construct and place a wood frame flat on the ground, appropriate to the wall design of the structure.
  2. The next step is to fill the wood frame with the 5.33 square foot, Fox 1440 insulated tilt panels (with furring). The process produces a tilt-up, furred panel insulated to 2 ½-inches of 1.5-pound density foam.
  3. The strength of the panels allows workers to walk directly on them to secure the panels snug in the frame.
  4. Next, workers sleeve the tilt inserts (typically 16-inch on center) into the open channels of the panels until they lock. For convenience, the open channels allow the positioning of the tilt inserts in either direction. The tilt inserts ratchet into a gripper assembly embedded 8-inches on the center inside the foam. The gripper assembly becomes a stud to the face of the concrete wall.
  5. Fox Blocks recommends using flat plate bottom rebar chairs to place the rebar on top of the foam to avoid adverse effects of the rebar.
  6. Workers then place six-inches of concrete on top of the tilt-up panel.

Fox Tilt-UP Wet Set Method

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  1. Constructing a panel array
    1. Locate the two heavier indentations running lengthwise into the outside of the insulation foam panel.
    2. Place a lightweight metal stud 2 ⅝-inch (25-gauge), on the two indentations. The studs should extend off each end at least by one foot.
    3. Fasten the studs to the panel
  2. Lift the panel, using the metal studs, and place on top of the concrete (wet set).
  3. Remove the steel studs and wood frame from the panel.

Builders and developers that choose the Fox Tilt Insulation Furring System to build ICF tilt-up walls can save money by quicker construction and less labor. Energy-efficient and durable ICF tilt-up walls also save money in the long-term. Moreover, ICF tilt-up walls produce a safe and healthy environment for the building’s products and occupants.

Please visit Fox Blocks for more on the Fox Tilt Insulation Furring System.