When it comes to building your own home, the reason people choose ICF materials over traditional wood is because of energy efficiency. But we like to encourage folks to look at the bigger picture… the real reason you should investigate ICF for your home is ALL of the reasons. ICF beats out building materials left and right with cost, environmentally friendly properties, safety, design options and serenity.
ICF is slightly more expensive in comparison to other building materials but produces less waste (environmentally friendly!) and is way more resilient and durable, making for a much longer lifespan. Nationally, an ICF home is estimated to cost 3% to 5% more than wood frame to build. That’s about $10,000 more for a $250,000 house. This can increase mortgage payments to about $55 per month which is often much less than utility costs to heat or cool a wood frame home! So this means that owners of ICF homes are paying the same amount or LESS for their mortgage and utilities costs. In the long run, it tends to actually be one of the cheaper materials due to how much you’ll save on energy bills and repairs/replacements.
Natural (and Unnatural) Disasters –
Protecting yourself and your family is definitely one of the most important parts of building an ICF home. Whether you live in Tornado Alley, on the west coast in range of frequent wildfires, or on a coast often ravaged by hurricanes, the stability of insulated concrete forms is going to protect you from harm. The exterior of the home can withstand storm surges, powerful winds, and even fire (the foam doesn’t burn, just melts at high temps), saving the interior and its occupants from harm. In some areas of the country, insurance companies will give discounts for “Fortified” homes, or for ICF homes in general. The strength of the walls is strong enough to stay strong against rogue vehicles careening into it… cars just kind of bounce off! Check out our other article on cars crashing into ICF homes.
Design Options –
Any home that can be made with other materials can be adjusted slightly to be made with ICF. The concrete and steel reinforced walls can support steel beams to increase an open floor plan and expansive rooms. Exterior and interior finishes similar to their plywood counterpart can be achieved with ICF walls. Whether you prefer siding, brick, stone. stucco, or cement board, your home will look just like your neighbor’s… no sticking out like a sore thumb. Your home will fit right in and have all the other perks offered by ICF.
Having peace & quiet (and peace of mind) is another plus! The concrete and double layers of thick foam don’t just block out moisture, hurricanes, and bugs… it blocks out noise! In fact, more than 60% of ICF homeowners mentioned the quietness of their homes, versus only 2% of their wood frame counterparts. This is due, once again, to the sound absorbing qualities of EPS foam. Owners of ICF homes report being surprised at looking out their windows and seeing traffic but being unable to hear it at all.
If you’re interested in an ICF custom home, please contact us with any questions that you might have! We’re always happy to talk about the benefits and perks of our favorite building material. Contact us here to learn more and get started on your dream home today!