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Posted by Ben in Galloway Township, NJ on 9/17/2006

Okay, for those who have followed our saga so far... We closed on September 14 and are now the proud owners of five acres of wooded lot. A bunch of trees really. So, we are one step closer to realizing our dream to build our own house. I will attach a picture of the Googled location of the property. Just in case you are curious to find out where these crazy people are thinking of putting down that ICF house. We have started our own design using a product from Punch! software:

Not that I am plugging that software or anything. It definitely has some shortcomings, but is relatively easy to use and that for a reasonable price.

We started out with a design that I liked, but that was quite a bit too big for us. It was about 4,200 sq ft, not counting the full basement or the two three-car garages. I like the Mediterranean style and started changing things around a bit. We are now down to about 3,600 sq ft, but a more compact design. I'll try to find the link to the original design and show you the design that I came up with.

Now I want to try to construct the house fully in ICF and Insul-Deck. That is a bit different from what I have seen others do. The interior walls I would like to construct in conclaved aerated concrete block. That stuff has been used in Europe for 50+ years, but just started to show up in the States in recent years. It is very lightweight, glued together with quick set-like mortar. You then use a router to cut grooves for your electrical wiring. ACB comes in different sizes and widths. So, you can make some serious progress if you take large blocks. You can finish ACBs directly on the block either with a finish for wallpaper or painting or a textured finish.


Posted by Kelly in Charlotte, MI on 12/26/2006

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I'm not sure how far along you are in your building process, but just thought I'd give you what I know about ICF. My DH and I are also planning on building in the Spring/Summer and were talking to my brother over Christmas about a 4 or 5-unit apartment building he built back in 2003 with ICF. He raves about the stuff. He also did radiant floor heating. I think the total square footage was around 5,500. He said last winter his highest utility/heating bill was around $250 - for the entire building! This is an apartment building for college students - so there are 10 bathrooms! We live in MI. We'll be following you on your experience with the stuff! We are intrigued by it, that's for sure!

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