How ICF Can Help Eco-Friendly Homeowners


Homeowners are always making decisions, from repairs to additions they’ve got a lot on their plate to design their homes into a place they only believed possible in dreams. That dream doesn’t come without worry though. New homeowners aren’t just searching for aesthetic value, but an environmentally friendly home equipped with energy efficient, high-performance in mind, and built from green building materials for a sturdier, healthier foundation to traditional concrete materials used. The concept of eco-friendly homes is one that is quickly becoming popular among younger homeowners; the idea of saving the planet is appealing, but what do these terms mean and how do they hold up against concrete form construction?

What Are “Breathable Walls?”

This term is something often heard when discussing constructing a home with green building materials, but it’s technically incorrect because uncontrolled air flow is particularly damaging to buildings. There is a common misconception, “Buildings need to breathe”, but in recent research conducted most have realized this term needs to be replaced to stop the spread of false information.

“Breathable walls” is a term attempting to explain air movement, but is far too vague not to be confusing. Typically, if a wall can “breathe,” there is an influx of uncontrolled air movement or “air leakage” through walls and other crevices, which can eventually lead to large amount of water vapor accumulating on cold surfaces, causing mildew, molding, and rotting in the home. ICF concrete (Insulated concrete form) is an alternative or preventable measure to ensure homes have adequate insulation through acting as an exterior or interior substrate for walls, floors, and roofs. Buildings constructed with ICF are approximately six to nine times stronger than a traditional structure; it is capable of withstanding winds of 402 kph, protecting homes from even natural disasters.

What Is ICF?

ICF acts as a coating on its intended surface to prevent against situations such as breathable walls. The first person to patent ICF, Werner Gregori, created the first foam concrete form, measuring 16 inches in height and 48 inches in length, and ICF gradually gained popularity in the 1960s. ICF can effectively build insulated concrete buildings without excessive waste and beneficial for thermal mass strategies (i.e., temperature variations) making its use extremely common in high performance and energy efficient construction, especially for ICF walls and ICF building blocks. ICF concrete is popular in home construction materials because it is far less taxing during construction. When compared to concrete flooring an ICF deck weighs approximately 40% less and is superior to concrete form construction, making ICF concrete a staple in the new-age of construction.

How Is ICF Beneficial?

ICF concrete can take on various forms during home construction, making it a highly sought, versatile material for homeowners who want their house build with green building materials. Nexcem ICF is a greener alternative to ICF concrete, made from wood fiber materials and other recycled waste wood; these ICF blocks can be molded into any form and come in two products: Standard and Thermal, making it better than polystyrene found in ICF.