Frequently Asked Questions

Yes, mar­gin­al­ly high­er on the ini­tial cap­i­tal costs, but, it is a record­ed fact that Fox Blocks high per­for­mance homes out per­form in com­fort and oper­at­ing costs over a wood framed home. These cre­ates month­ly cost sav­ings for the life cycle of the Fox Blocks home.
Fox Blocks offers the most com­pre­hen­sive installer train­ing in the indus­try. We can train your con­trac­tor or help you locate a trained installer in your area.
The assem­bly and place­ment of con­crete may take the same time as to build with con­ven­tion­al meth­ods. The advan­tage with Fox Blocks is that the walls are now insu­lat­ed, have a vapor and air bar­ri­er installed and are ready for fin­ish­es once the win­dows and roof are installed. These ben­e­fits will save weeks and/​or months depend­ing on the size of the projects.
The EPS in an Fox Blocks has a flame retar­dant that allows the forms to be flame resis­tant. The EPS will melt when exposed to sus­tained tem­per­a­tures over 300°F (149°C). The igni­tion point of the melt­ed styrene is 600°F (315°C) (wood is approx­i­mate­ly 500°F (260°C). Fox Blocks have been test­ed to meet the build­ing code require­ments for flame spread and smoke devel­op­ment, plus Fox Blocks may be used as fire resis­tant rat­ed wall assem­blies in schools and hos­pi­tals.
Absolute­ly. The exte­ri­or walls are two lay­ers of con­tin­u­ous insu­la­tion, the den­si­ty of sol­id con­crete and a lay­er of ½” gyp­sum board on the inside all con­tribute to supe­ri­or sound sup­pres­sion of STC 50 for the whole build­ing enve­lope. Note: A wood frame sys­tem of equiv­a­lent STC rat­ing would be 2 x 4 studs spaced 16˝ o/​c, with 3½˝ absorp­tive mate­r­i­al, 1 lay­er of 5 /8˝ Type X gyp­sum board on resilient chan­nels spaced 16˝ o/​c, and 2 lay­ers of 5 /8˝ Type X gyp­sum board on the oth­er side. (Cour­tesy of 1995 NBCC Sec­tion A9.10.3.1 Wall #W5a)

All build­ing codes in the USA and Cana­da spec­i­fy that plas­tic insu­la­tion (EPS) must be cov­ered by a ther­mal bar­ri­er equiv­a­lent to 15 min­utes of fire pro­tec­tion in hab­it­able spaces. This is achieved with ½” gyp­sum board or an equiv­a­lent mate­r­i­al. Fox Blocks has spe­cif­ic fire test­ing that proves reg­u­lar ½” gyp­sum board with reg­u­lar dry­wall screws fas­tened into the plas­tic webs remains on the wall for the required 15-minute time peri­od.

Build­ing with Fox Blocks ICFs pro­vides you with a high per­for­mance wall sys­tem for the foun­da­tion and above grade walls. Build­ing any high per­for­mance home, with either ICFs or con­ven­tion­al wood fram­ing, has many fac­tors that define the end cap­i­tal costs.

What addi­tion­al mate­ri­als and labor are required to make a con­ven­tion­al foun­da­tion equiv­a­lent to an Fox Blocks ICF foun­da­tion which exceeds ener­gy code require­ments in most loca­tions? Con­ven­tion­al wood fram­ing requires con­sid­er­ably more mate­r­i­al, insu­la­tion and atten­tion to air seal­ing to make it qual­i­fy and per­form as a high per­for­mance wall. All of this, for con­ven­tion­al con­struc­tion, adds mate­r­i­al and labor costs to the over­all project. Fox Blocks ICFs pro­vide a sim­ple method to build high per­for­mance walls that pro­vide ongo­ing ben­e­fits from the high insu­la­tion val­ues and mass con­crete walls that are ener­gy-effi­cient and pro­vide cost sav­ings for the life cycle of the build­ing.

Com­par­ing cost per square foot between con­ven­tion­al con­struc­tion and ICFs for a high per­for­mance build­ing, is like com­par­ing apples to oranges. To devel­op con­struc­tion costs, more detailed infor­ma­tion is required, for instance the num­ber and size of open­ings, the shape and size of the home, the region­al costs for mate­r­i­al and labor, etc. If you have a project you’d like us to review and pro­vide a mate­r­i­al esti­mate, Fox Blocks would be hap­py to have one of our rep­re­sen­ta­tives con­tact you. Please com­plete and sub­mit a lead infor­ma­tion sheet on the web­site or call Cus­tomer Ser­vice.

ICFs pro­vide a rein­forced con­crete wall which is designed to spe­cif­ic engi­neer­ing prin­ci­ples. Typ­i­cal res­i­den­tial con­struc­tion, per the applic­a­bil­i­ty lim­its in the build­ing code, allows walls 10′ (3 m) high or less between lat­er­al sup­ports (floor and roof con­nec­tions). Below grade walls must have a min­i­mum 6″ (150 mm) con­crete core. In some regions, an 8″ (200 mm) con­crete core is the min­i­mum allowed thick­ness for below grade walls.

The 4″ (100 mm) form can­not be used below grade as a foun­da­tion wall. The 4″ (100 mm) form may be used for above grade walls up to a max­i­mum of 10′ (3.0 m).

The 6″ (150 mm) form, above grade, is lim­it­ed to approx­i­mate­ly 14′ (4.2 m) in height. Walls high­er than 14′ (4.2 m) must use an 8″ (200 mm) or larg­er form.

Typ­i­cal res­i­den­tial con­struc­tion will use 6″ or 8″ con­crete core size blocks. Project spe­cif­ic engi­neer­ing may allow for some core thick­ness to span ver­ti­cal­ly high­er than these pro­posed guide­lines.

Yes, con­sol­i­da­tion of the con­crete is one of the key ele­ments in the place­ment of con­crete in an ICF wall. Fox Blocks rec­om­mends inter­nal vibra­tion with a pen­cil vibra­tor, quick­ly in and slow­ly out.
Test reports con­duct­ed by the Nation­al Research Coun­cil state: The max­i­mum tox­i­c­i­ty index obtained from the com­bus­tion of poly­styrene was of the same order as that of wood.” Fox Blocks ICFs have been test­ed to meet build­ing code require­ments for flame spread rat­ings, smoke devel­op­ment and tox­i­c­i­ty
The plas­tic webs in Fox Blocks forms are 100% recy­cled postin­dus­tri­al polypropy­lene. The EPS insu­la­tion is vir­gin mate­r­i­al. Recy­cled con­tent for an ICF block is mea­sured by weight. The recy­cled con­tent by weight of a stan­dard 6″ Fox Blocks form — 48%.
All build­ing codes in the USA and Cana­da spec­i­fy that plas­tic insu­la­tion (EPS) must be cov­ered by a ther­mal bar­ri­er equiv­a­lent to 15 min­utes of fire pro­tec­tion in hab­it­able spaces. If the base­ment is clas­si­fied as hab­it­able space, then gyp­sum board must be applied but does have to taped and filled. Check with your local build­ing offi­cial.
Taper Top forms are specif­i­cal­ly designed to pro­vide a larg­er bear­ing sur­face along the top of the wall. Typ­i­cal­ly, the increased bear­ing sur­face may be used to sup­port mason­ry, floor or roof loads. Taper top forms are used in the tran­si­tion from ICF to wood frame con­struc­tion and the taper top form would be the top form on the wall.
Yes, but you will notice a light dust­ing on the sur­face and a yel­low­ing dis­col­oration of the forms. This does not indi­cate any detri­men­tal effects to the ICFs. We do sug­gest, that if the exte­ri­or fin­ish is not going to be installed with­in around a 3 month peri­od or more, the forms be pro­tect­ed from UV rays by installing a tem­po­rary build­ing wrap type mate­r­i­al. The pow­dery film must be removed with soap and water before the appli­ca­tion of a syn­thet­ic stuc­co fin­ish or water­proof­ing mem­brane.
The con­crete is nor­mal strength, min­i­mum 2500 psi (20 MPa) per build­ing codes. The mix design spec­i­fies a small­er aggre­gate and high­er slump than con­crete typ­i­cal­ly used for floors. Most Ready-Mix sup­pli­ers are famil­iar with an ICF con­crete mix design.
Fox Blocks con­tain a min­i­mum of 40% recy­cled con­tent by weight.
  • Fox Blocks do not off-gas and are not man­u­fac­tured using any gas­es that deplete the ozone or are harm­ful to the envi­ron­ment.
  • Fox Blocks require low embod­ied ener­gy to man­u­fac­ture.
  • Fox Blocks do not con­tain any mate­ri­als, that pro­mote mold or mildew growth.
  • Fox Blocks are an effi­cient con­struc­tion method there­by reduc­ing the amount of con­struc­tion waste, dust and air pol­lu­tion in the build­ing process.
  • Build­ing with Fox Blocks will save on heat­ing and cool­ing costs because less air is exchanged between the out­side and inside of your home. This also means a small­er more effi­cient HVAC unit is required for the home.
  • Fox Blocks are sus­tain­able. They will not rot or dete­ri­o­rate for the life of your home.
  • Fox Blocks pro­vide a secure, durable, com­fort­able, long last­ing build­ing
Yes, every com­po­nent of the Fox Blocks form itself plus the con­crete and rein­force­ment bars are recy­clable.
Yes, Fox Blocks has a brick ledge form and the xLer­a­tor ledge rein­force­ment that is designed to sup­port mason­ry. Fox blocks also has a tieKey acces­so­ry which is a specif­i­cal­ly made as a mason­ry tie, to be insert­ed through the form into the con­crete.
No, ICFs in gen­er­al are cov­ered in the build­ing code and Fox Blocks ICF has a prod­uct eval­u­a­tion report that con­firms the prod­uct and appli­ca­tions meet the require­ments of the respec­tive build­ing codes in the USA and Cana­da. These reports are avail­able on our web­site.

Fox Blocks has con­duct­ed numer­ous fas­ten­er tests for pull-out strength and shear capac­i­ty for var­i­ous fas­ten­ers – screws, ring shank nails and sta­ples into the plas­tic webs. The rec­om­men­da­tion for inte­ri­or and exte­ri­or appli­ca­tions of fin­ish mate­ri­als is for the use of screws which pro­vide the best hold­ing capac­i­ty into the plas­tic webs or fas­ten­ing strips in the forms which are iden­ti­fied on each block.

The EPS insu­la­tion does not pro­vide any hold­ing capac­i­ty for fas­ten­ers.

To alle­vi­ate the pres­sure from the liq­uid con­crete, the con­crete is placed in lay­ers or lifts’. The first lift is lim­it­ed to 4′ (1.2 m) of con­crete around the perime­ter of the build­ing. This allows approx­i­mate­ly one hour for the con­crete to set-up before con­tin­u­ing with the next 4′ (1.2 m) lift. The low­er lift pro­vides sup­port for the next lift as the con­crete is placed con­tin­u­ous­ly around the build­ing in con­sec­u­tive lifts to the top of the wall.
Prod­ucts are not rat­ed or cer­ti­fied under the LEED pro­gram. The over­all build­ing is eval­u­at­ed and assigned a LEED rat­ing. In the selec­tion of build­ing mate­ri­als for a LEED design, Fox Blocks have many ben­e­fits that can enable, enhance or direct­ly con­tribute toward LEED points for the project.

The clear R‑Value of an Fox Blocks is R22, how­ev­er cur­rent Ener­gy codes rec­og­nize the lack of ther­mal bridg­ing in an ICF and the con­tri­bu­tion of the mass con­crete on the influ­ence of the ther­mal per­for­mance. Whole wall cal­cu­la­tions indi­cate a Fox blocks wall assem­bly pro­vides an R24 rat­ing.

The con­tin­u­ous dou­ble lay­er (inside and out­side) of insu­la­tion, the elim­i­na­tion of ther­mal bridg­ing and min­i­mal air infil­tra­tion through the mass con­crete wall assem­bly, allows Fox Blocks walls to per­for­mance in the high per­for­mance wall assem­bly cat­e­go­ry. Com­plet­ing the enve­lope with ener­gy effi­cient win­dows and doors and roof insu­la­tion, Fox Blocks homes can eas­i­ly meet and exceed ener­gy code require­ments and exceed the min­i­mum require­ments for Ener­gy Star and Ener­Guide. A Fox Blocks struc­ture requires 44% less ener­gy to heat and 32% less ener­gy to cool.

All ICF walls below grade, that have hab­it­able space on one side (base­ment), must have a water­proof­ing / damp­proof­ing mem­brane installed. For walls that do not have hab­it­able space on one side (crawl space, frost walls, etc.) the EPS can be left exposed to the earth. The EPS will not dete­ri­o­rate when exposed to the earth.

The con­crete must cure for a min­i­mum of 7 days and the foun­da­tion wall must be lat­er­al­ly sup­port­ed, mean­ing the floor sys­tem is installed sup­port­ing the top of the wall. All below grade water­proof­ing / damp­proof­ing must be installed.