LESLIE: Now we’re going out to the great north in Alaska where Tim has a home construction question about using wood framing vs. ICF. What can we do for you?
TIM: So I’m looking to do some construction on a new residence and the additional housing is generally 2×6 or 2×8 construction. And certainly, they’ve come out with some more advanced materials: ICF block with concrete and foam insulation. I’m wondering, from a standpoint of cost differences, when comparing wood framing vs. ICF, which would be better for a long-term home.
TOM: So wood framing versus insulated concrete forms or ICF blocks. I am a huge proponent of ICF construction. I think it’s a brilliant technology for home construction. And for those that are not familiar with this, these are large, foam blocks. They look kind of like Lego blocks. And you stack up the wall out of these foam blocks – put a traditional footing and stack up the wall with these foam blocks. And then the – it’s all braced and then the wall is filled with concrete. So you end up with a solid concrete wall that’s reinforced, that’s surrounded by insulation on both sides of it.
And what you find with this, Tim, is that the home is super insulated and actually much more storm-resistant and much quieter. In fact, I’ve seen these homes require about a 30 to 40 percent less heating and cooling capacity because the home construction just performs so well.
So, I think when you look at it, yeah, you’re going to have probably an increased cost of construction over wood framing – slightly increased, not huge increase – but the long-term energy efficiency and comfort savings on this is going to be very significant. So, I would definitely consider insulated-concrete-form construction over wood framing for long-term home construction if I had the opportunity.
TIM: Thank you for that information.