What are ICFs made from?
ICFs, or Insulated Concrete Forms, are typically made from two main components: Polystyrene insulation and concrete. Let’s take a closer look at each of these materials.
Expanded Polystyrene Insulation: The foam insulation used in ICFs is typically made from expanded polystyrene (EPS). EPS foam is created by expanding polystyrene beads using steam and a blowing agent, resulting in a lightweight and rigid foam material. EPS provides excellent thermal insulation properties, which are a key feature of ICF construction.
ICFs also include an interlocking pattern that help to connect the blocks in a Lego like pattern. The benefits of this design pattern is not only the practical for construction but these interlocking grids also reduce thermal gaps that often occur in even the best insulated traditional timber homes due to where joints and brackets traditionally meet. With ICF the pattern simply connects to create a sturdy framework for the concrete walls ensuring the stability and alignment of the ICF system during the concrete pouring process.
Concrete: The other primary component of ICFs is concrete. Concrete is a composite material made from a mixture of cement, aggregates (such as sand or crushed stone), water, and occasionally some additional elements or binders. In ICF construction, the concrete is poured into the hollow cavities, which are lined horizontally and vertically with steel rebar, where it cures and hardens, creating solid reinforced concrete walls.
The concrete used in ICF construction is typically a higher PSI, high-strength mix to ensure the structural integrity and durability of the walls. The specific mix design can vary depending on local building codes, engineering requirements, and project specifications.