Everybody desires to own a home, and for many, a newly built home is the ultimate dream, but it is an expensive business, hence the increasing popularity of insulated concrete forms.
This method of construction has taken the world by storm, and for many excellent reasons too. Basically, insulated concrete forms are hollow blocks or panels that are made from expanded polystyrene insulation. These blocks and panels are then used, very much like giant children's building blocks, to construct walls. As the blocks and panels are stacked, they are filled with concrete to create an extremely strong, well-insulated structure.
Advantages of Insulated Concrete Forms
There are many benefits to this method of construction, not least of these being the increased comfort that it offers. These buildings have an even temperature distribution, night and day, and there are virtually no drafts. They are also far more solid, and flexing of floors and vibrations from storms and the wind is unheard of. Buildings constructed in this way are extremely quiet; in fact only about one sixth as much sound can be heard from outside when compared to an ordinary frame wall. Then there is the huge advantage of very fast construction; a typical home built in this way is completed in half the time it would require to complete a wood frame home.
Homes built by using insulated concrete forms are extremely energy efficient, which is due to the superior insulation and the solidity of the walls, and in almost every instance, such buildings exceed energy code regulations. This energy efficiency results in big savings, because heating and cooling is naturally controlled and there is no need for large air conditioning units. In fact, many studies have shown that it is possible to save up to seventy five percent on the heating and cooling bill when compared to buildings constructed from other materials. It is also important to note that energy efficiency not only saves money, but that it helps to lessen the negative impact on the environment.
Those living in areas where natural disasters are prevalent will be glad to learn that homes built from insulated concrete forms are able to withstand hurricanes, and if they are properly reinforced, they can even weather earthquakes. Concrete is also one of the most fire resistant building materials and it is not likely that fire will progress from one room to another through a wall. This added factor of increased safety makes this construction method very attractive indeed, and as an added bonus, owners of this type of home never need to worry about termites.
Are There Any Disadvantages?
It is true that the construction of a home using insulated concrete forms are more expensive, about ten to fifteen percent more expensive, than the construction of a wood frame building, but these expenses would be saved by the increased energy efficiency in a very short period of time. Another issue is that remodeling at a later stage is much more complicated and costly than it would be with a wood frame home, and it is therefore necessary to carefully plan the initial design of the home. It is also important to remember that the thickness of the walls will take up some floor space, a factor that may become an issue in smaller homes. When a home built with insulated concrete forms is newly completed, there may be humidity problems for a few weeks, but this small problem will disappear as the concrete cures.