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ICF Design Considerations


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Tim's Forum Posts: 28
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By Tim in Dunlap, TN on 2/11/2007


   Finally, back in the hunt and getting ready to build again. I am getting ready to take my house ideas to a designer. The house will be ICF. Should I get the designer to design the house walls based on the size of the forms? Will this save me money by requiring less cutting of the forms or will the increased size offset the savings? May be setting up the forms myself if I can secure bracing. I will be using Nudura and taking their class but was hoping to work this summer as a laborer for an ICF contractor.
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By Kenneth in Lees Summit, MO on 2/12/2007


If you wish to build ICF, then yes your plans should be ICF friendly.  Will it save you money, not likely as the ICF builders I know prepare bids based on square footage, but then they also adjust your dimensions to make them more ICF friendly and thereby save themselves work.  If you are going to do this yourself, you want to minimize form cutting - the forms stack pretty fast if you don't need to cut them.

I even set the height of my house based on horizontal height of the forms.  My main floor is 10'-4-1/2", which is quite an odd dimension (however a 10' stud with one bottom plate and two top plates fit in quite nicely for interior walls with no cutting).  Now then this is a bit of an odd dimension for sheetrock, but it didn't bother the rockers.  I simply didn't want to bother with horizontal cutting the ICF.

Take your floorplans, figure out how you stack a course of block, and adjust dimensions accordingly to make this go without cuts.  You still have doors and windows, but the idea is to minimize cuts.


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By Dale in Richland, AZ on 2/12/2007


I would  strongly recommend designing to the block modulus. Especially for heights.On the walls and openings lay it out to full, or half block lengths. Some of this will depend on which block you decide to use. Some are much better than others.

Take into consideration form strength because if you have 10'+ walls and you use a cheap block the potential for blow-outs increases as does bulging. Or the labor and bracing cost goes up to compensate. My preference is better materials, lower labor.

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