Insulated Concrete Forms… Who Knew?

The construction industry has evolved over time based on consumers desires and price constraints. Tucson has not been immune to these shifts and in recent years we have seen a strong interest to have green building products and efficiencies incorporated into our clients custom homes. This desire for a green and efficient home has led many to question the conventional construction methods that have been used for decades if not centuries or longer. One product that was developed in the 60s and 70s is making a resurgence now. Insulated concrete forms or ICFs are a type of building material that is typically used for exterior walls. ICF blocks are stacked to create a continuous form that is filled with concrete to create a strong and well insulated exterior wall for the home. In our industry these blocks are referred to as Grey Blocks and White Blocks. In my opinion both types of block have there benefits and drawbacks. Below is a description of the pros and cons of each along with some examples: Grey Block: Grey blocks are great because they are typically made from post consumer material. This keeps non-biodegradable Styrofoam out of the landfills which is always a plus. Grey blocks are also very easy to shape and mold giving a flexibility in design that is harder to achieve when using a white block.  The cons that we have found using grey block is that they don’t have precise dimensions. They can very by 1/4 inch in some cases making it difficult to stack and align. Another issue with grey block is it does not have any furring strips to attach...