ICF is a building material typically used for building houses, and stands for “Insulated Concrete Form”. Each block consists of two pieces of foam locked together with plastic or rebar. These “forms” come in all shapes and sizes, from panels to bricks to corners. They lock together like lego bricks, and when you’re done assembling them in the shape you want, including window sills and door frames, you pour the concrete. When it hardens, your frame and exterior walls are done, and you're ready to complete your home as you would with any other type of home build.
Last houses standing after the San Bernardino fire. All three are ICF homes.
Concrete and steel ICF walls have up to 4-hour fire rating as opposed to 15 minutes for a comparable wood-framed wall. That means they can block enough heat (up to 2000° Fahrenheit) from passing through the walls to start a fire on the interior for up to four hours. Wood-framed walls usually collapsed within 60 minutes, while the ICF wall did not experience any structural damage in tests.
But that's not all. There is more that Estudio Verde Homes is doing to make our ICF homes even more fire resistant. Read more about it here.
Tornadoes and hurricanes destroy homes and upend lives in record numbers all over the world every year, and it's getting worse no thanks to climate change.
Concrete is an excellent insulator even before you account for the foam molds that gave your house its shape! With no gaps for the wind to whistle through and three separate layers of insulation, your house will stay cool in the summer and warm in the winter – and save you money keeping it that way.
ICFs look nothing like what you might imagine a concrete home would look like. In fact, there’s only one way to tell if a house is made from ICF; it has deep window sills and door frames.
Aside from that, ICF homes are indistinguishable from those built out of wood since they’re stuccoed and painted like any home.