Thursday, 16 February 2017

Is your house worth what it cost?

It's not something that people think about often if ever; but how does the price of a house compare to its real material value? Most houses are stick framed using light dimensional lumber and thin, manufactured sheet stock. The materials are relatively inexpensive but require a significant amount of labour to assemble.

When shopping for a house people tend to look at only a few factors. They look to see if the finishes are appealing, if the location is suitable, and what the market thinks about the price. But how did the market arrive at that price in the first place? Quite simply, the market determines price solely by how much people are willing to pay, which is based on the buyer's’ largely subjective analysis of the above factors. But what about the value of the actual structure? Buyer’s glance at things like the condition of the roof or the age of heating and cooling appliances, but usually this is only in order to determine the cost of any short-term repairs. If everything looks good it's given no further thought. The reality is however, that even if the major components of a house are currently adequate, most if not all will need to be replaced within 20 years. This goes beyond surface finishes and light renovations; we're talking a new roof and new siding ( both of which may include new sheeting and insulation beneath). The fact is that while you are paying a mortgage for 25 years, you're more than likely also paying to replace a significant portion of the structure the mortgage was supposed to cover in the first place not to mention the interest on it.

Contrast this with a house built with durable materials such as ICF.  A house built of concrete and insulated with  rigid foam simply doesn't deteriorate in the same way as stick framed structures. They do not rot, and their functional properties do not change over time. When a house is built with ICF it will likely need little more than cosmetic changes over the same time period where stick framed needs to be replaced entirely, or has reached the end of its serviceable life after having cost more than its value several times over.

Thursday, 9 February 2017

ICF construction is a healthier choice

Dangers Of Mold In Traditional Construction And How ICF Constructed Buildings Are Superior

Traditional construction, as the name suggests, has been the norm for many years. Of course, with time, traditions have varied.
The most recent construction method we can consider ‘traditional’ is the one we generally utilize today. Lumber is an ever-popular choice while planning a traditional house and we inadvertently recall our childhood and go with the most accepted method around us.
What we fail to understand is that nature, in all its glory, can be really degenerative to our efforts.
A mold is a sort of fungus which develops as multi-cellular filaments know as hyphae.
What it does, is essentially grow on natural products like food or wood, gradually deteriorating them. This is true for your dream traditional house and is pretty much unavoidable.
The alarming thing here, are the number of illnesses molds are associated with and hence, they need to be dealt with immediately and effectively. The first and sure step toward that goal is to eliminate the basis of their growth and spread. This would be to do away with the traditional homes around us.

Below are a number of hazards that mold growth is known/responsible for:

·        Stachybotrys is an extremely toxic mold that is related to human fatality.
·        Certain molds produce mycotoxins which are highly dangerous and create a toxic breathing environment.
·        Mold allergies with the symptoms being wheezing, rash, watery eyes, runny nose, etc.
·        Respiratory illnesses or asthma.
·        Hypersensitivity pneumonitis is a lung disease. Also known as "farmer's lung".
·        Athlete's foot and thrush.
·        Pulmonary hemorrhage.

What are ICF constructed buildings?

Insulating concrete form or ICF is an innovative structure of reinforced concrete. The creation usually takes place with a rigid thermal insulation that acts as a permanent interior and exterior substrate. The components are interlocking and dry-stacked i.e. without mortar but full of concrete. Today, it is gradually gaining ground in replacing traditional structures. Its capability for actual energy efficiency and natural disaster resistance is unparalleled. As such, ICF is a safer choice and discourages mold formation in your home.

How ICF is a better choice for building your home?

ü  Continued exposure to mold is a direct cause of allergies. Chronic asthma worsens in such situations along with it causing infections in individuals with weak immune systems. Mold also causes property damage. However, such effects are impossible in an ICF inorganic structure that we, at ICF Foundations Ottawa, help build.
ü  A traditional wood frame building is a haven for mold, which means, food sources in the wood are readily available. The wood is decomposed by mold, which uses the nutrients to grow. As the ICF walls are inorganic, the mold is unable to thrive.
ü  The last decade and more has seen ICF construction as extremely effective at dealing with mold. Adding to the already established disaster mitigating properties, ICF Foundations Ottawa believe in a well formulated structural innovation, making your home environment friendly. As ICF cures slower than concrete slabs or other conventional forms, your home remains dry and fresh.
ü  In addition to mold deterrence, plastic foams used in ICFs are fire-proof. This is so because the blocks are manufactured through flame retardant treatments.
ü  ICF is a structural marvel in that they are extremely sturdy thanks to the interlocking system. This makes them highly resilient against earthquakes, floods and other natural calamities.

To sum it up, ICF structures in building modern homes is a great step toward a better and safer future. This is true for you, your family and everyone you care about. Mold formation is an issue towards a healthy living and as such ICF buildings are better alternatives all round. Our professionals at ICF Foundations Ottawa are experienced and eager to provide you with the best ICF installation services. To ensure stability and sturdiness, contact us at ICF Foundations Ottawa, and help us set you up with world class ICF structures.

Tuesday, 7 February 2017

ICF vs Conventional Stick Framing

ICF Construction Vs. Traditional Framing: Which Is Better for Your Home?
Are you planning to build a house of your own?
The most common idea would be to build it using conventional wooden sticks with an easy 2x4 or 2x6 structural framing method. There are many home owners who boast of such “green building” construction of their homes, and cherish the memory of how their fathers, or grandfathers did the same thing.
It certainly sounds very nostalgic.
However, you also need to acknowledge the fact that times have changed along with the global climatic conditions. You need an effective home construction plan to build a sturdy structure.
This is one of the primary reasons for which the idea of building a home with ICF construction has gained wide popularity in recent years.
What is ICF Construction?
Insulated Concrete Form (ICF) includes both concrete and foam which are assembled on site. The building blocks made of foam are arranged in one place with the desired height and style. After the arrangement is done, the central cavity is filled with concrete mixture for the structure to become solid. The result is thick walls with good insulation, which is more durable and sustainable than any traditional 2x6 wood framing.
ICF Construction Vs. Traditional Framing
ICF construction is an amazing product of advanced technology which provides greater construction benefits than a conventional method of wooden stick framing.
Not sure how ICF provides higher performance and value to your construction than traditional framing?
We, at ICF Foundations Ottawa, are here to help you out! Find out below how ICF construction is a better choice for your house:
ü Provides Higher R-Value
The R-Value of your construction ensures that your house walls are very resistant to the conduction of heat. An average wood stud possesses an R-Value of 1 per inch. This can lead to quite a large energy loss because traditional construction has wooden studs every 16 inches meaning that between every batt of insulation you have a gap where energy is lost.

On the other hand, ICF construction can be hardy and does not deteriorate in quality for a long period of time. It can provide your home with R20 to R28 ratings with 2 complete thermal breaks. Such higher R-Value suggests that ICF construction creates a well-integrated insulated barrier which has lesser insulation gaps.

ü Ensures Greater Thermal Efficiency
Made of concrete walls and Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) foam insulation forms, ICF construction provides constant insulation on both the inner and outer layers of the walls, that eliminates thermal bridging caused by either higher heat or cold transferring through wall studs and insulation gaps.

Thermal bridging is a common problem in traditional framing which can significantly increase your home maintenance costs. It occurs primarily because of the presence of moisture in the wooden lumber., As a result, it shrinks with the change of the climatic conditions and leads to cracks and other damages. ICF construction, on the other hand, is protected with a smooth flow of insulation which keeps your home strong and healthy.

ü Gives Better Protection in Case of Natural Calamity
If you live in an area with severe weather conditions, you need a building structure that is resilient to the ravages of nature. In this case, ICF construction provides the best alternative to the comparatively weak structure of traditional framing due to its concrete core. Find out how it can provide you with better protection:
·         Fire Protection: Many home insurance providers believe that concrete can withstand the impact of accidental fire, and provides better security with minimal damage.
·         Dust and Wind Protection: If your living area is very windy, constant flow of outside air into your home can cause you to develop respiratory problems like asthma. ICF construction keeps the dust at bay, keeping you safe and healthy.
·         Impact Resistance: The foundation of ICF walls are very strong, and remain unyielding to pressure or any severe impact. Your home is likely to suffer lesser damages in case of earthquakes, if it is built with ICFs.
·         Noise Resistance: When the concrete wall has greater thickness, it can reduce the outside noise impact by 30%. You are likely to receive greater benefits of it if you choose to stay in a high traffic zone.

ü Reduces Residential Costs and Saves Energy
You are very likely to get lesser utility bills if you home is constructed with ICFs.
Wondering how it is possible?
ICFs, unlike traditional framing, absorbs the heat during daytime while keeping the interior environment pleasant. On the other hand, it releases the heat inside the home at night, keeping your rooms cozy. It happens due to the greater thermal mass of ICF construction with an approx. 20Btu/sq. ft. x °F, which is far better than the capacity of traditional framing offering only 3 Btu/sq. ft. x °F.
With an integrated building envelope and good roofing insulation, the utility bill amount is reduced by 30-40%. Additionally, ICF constructions do not include any chemicals which is found in abundance in wooden frame structures.
ü A More Cost-effective Alternative
The higher installation charges of ICF construction discourages many home owners and they end up with traditional framing and its associated problems. However, quite contrary to the popular myth, ICF construction charges is only 3-5% greater than the cost of materials for traditional framing, though it can vary greatly as per the availability of materials and building experts in the locality. On the other hand, ICFs can suit your budget in many other ways such as:
·         You can cut down heavily on labor cost in case of ICF construction. Once you have the material, it takes half the time of any traditional wood-frame construction. Also, you save greatly on studding, vapor barrier, insulation and buying any good HVAC system for your home.
·         There is lesser construction waste found in ICF construction. As much as 60% of the construction materials used in ICF construction can be recycled.
·         You can try different widths and angles of walls with ICF construction, the thickness of which can vary from 4 inches to 12 inches.
·         ICFs can provide you with excellent indoor air quality as both concrete and EPS are non-toxic in nature.
·         An ICF construction is very likely to last 75-100 years with very minimal maintenance costs.
ICF construction has shown proven benefits in preventing thermal bridging, increasing energy efficiency, reducing green gas emissions and maintaining the overall integrity of your house. It is always better to consult with qualified building professional before you finalize your home designing with ICF construction. We, at ICF Foundations Ottawa, will help you take a better decision and assist you in installing ICF systems for your residential or commercial place. Contact us today and get the best ICF installation services.

Thursday, 27 October 2016


Answers and Insight into ICF advantages

1. Cost- How does ICF construction compare with 'regular' construction?

Short Answer: Short term it's more expensive, long term it's cheaper.
Long Answer: While it's true that ICF costs more than a 'regular' foundation, it should be noted that this is a very narrow comparison and really doesn't factor in the complete cost of construction or costs associated with ownership down the road. Remember, ICF systems combine several steps into one, something that is not factored in with other methods. When you build an ICF structure you get all the insulation and vapour barrier included in one step. Additionally, the finished product is VASTLY higher quality so in terms of value for the cost, ICF wins hands down.

2. Building during winter- Can ICF buildings be constructed during winter?

Short Answer: Yes
Long Answer: Absolutely, in fact ICF makes it possible to build in temperatures where 'regular' concrete can't be poured. There are 2 reasons for this: 1) The concrete is extremely well insulated in an ICF form. 2) The curing of concrete is an exothermic process meaning it actually produces heat as it cures; enough heat to stay warm even if it's frigid outside. Additionally as a rule of thumb, as long as freshly poured cement is kept above 40F for the first 24 hours it will reach full strength, even at lower subsequent temperatures. ICF has been demonstrated to retain sufficient heat for curing in temperatures as low as -15C to -20C.

More FAQ's and answers being posted shortly so stay tuned.

Tuesday, 19 April 2016

ICF Foundations blog

Welcome to A place where we will share knowledge and discuss many topics related to ICF construction. Here you can get to know a little more about what we do, our experience, as well as some of our current or recent projects. By using the blog format we can share more content than is feasible on our site and also make it easier for you to interact and post your own thoughts on the various subjects that come up. Check back with us often- we are just getting started!