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ReddiForm ICFs


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By Bill in Largo, FL on 11/27/2006


I just got off the phone with the ReddiForm people: ownerbuilderbook.com/forum/newthread

Here's the price breakdown:
Blocks are $14.25 each. The 6" blocks measure 9 5/8 wide x 48" long x 12" high. Screw strips used to fasten drywall or whatever is $250 for 900 ft. No ties. Steel chairs run about $200 for 1,000.

At those prices, to build a 50x50x10 two sides below grade drive-through cellar looks like $7,200 for the blocks, steel about $1,800, and concrete $7,200 for 25 yards. Add some chairs, screw strips and incidentals, and it looks to be around $17,000 not including the slab, footers, or bracing. I rounded this up somewhat and priced the concrete at prices around here for fiber mesh.


Using this system cuts out the need for insulation and a lot of labor.

Is it worth it?


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By Mat in Rome, NY on 11/27/2006


Let me give you an idea of what I am (currently) paying for my ICFs. My basement is being stacked right now and we'll be pouring on Thursday.

My footprint is about 54'x24' with a few jogs in it. The basement is 9 feet high, with one egress window. For this, I am paying:

BuildBlock: 8" straights (48" long, 13" wide, 16" high) and corners
Case of foam
Waterproofing
Trim, foam gun, plugs, etc.
1 week rental for bracing
- plus -
Forms for the footing of my garage (24'x24')...

... $7,112 with tax.

I don't have any experience with ReddiForms, but with BuildBlock you don't need screw strips. They have webbing every 6" in the block. I am not sure what steel chairs are? Are you talking about rebar chairs? And am I reading correctly that you are paying $7,200 for 25 yards of concrete? 

I am paying $73/yd of concrete, and rebar is $6.25 for a 20' stick of #4 (1/2").

I can send you my ICF rep's name if you are interested. They ship anywhere.


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By Bill in Largo, FL on 11/27/2006


Rome, NY? I was born and raised in Oneida... Howdy!

First, thanks for catching my concrete price error. The house is going to be in the Athens, TN area so I'll refigure the price per yard at $120, which makes it $3,000 for the pour.

I figured rebar at .20/ft, they call for 9' per block usage below grade.

What was the price for the blocks?

Did you erect them?


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By Mat in Rome, NY on 11/27/2006


Yes, I am building in the outer district. Not far from route 365, on the way to your old homestead. 

If you are going to be GC'ing it yourself, figure out how much concrete you will need for your total project and use that number to negotiate with the concrete ready mix suppliers. I did just that and got contractor pricing with very little effort. 

If you go to buildblock.com, they list the prices per block depending on where you fall in their categories. I am not sure exactly how much per block I am paying, but I firmly believe it is somewhere between the contractor price and the 'public' price. 

I am paying a subcontractor to erect the blocks. He and his crew have never done them before, but were interested in the job. They are charging me hourly, and the BuildBlock rep is training them on site. I have also been doing some stacking on the weekends and with taking some vacation days. TRUST ME, it is incredibly simple to do. If you read their technical installation manual a few times, and ask specific questions to their reps, you will see what I mean. I was very tentative as to doing this myself, but if I had to do it again, I would grab a few friends to help me do it. The stacking is the easy part, the pour is where you want to have at least 1 person there who knows what they are doing, with experience. Luckily, I will have the rep available on site and my concrete pumper has done at least 100 pours and he also knows what to look out for.


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By Bill in Largo, FL on 11/28/2006


Let me know how the pump goes. After action report when you can. I'm seriously looking into these [ICFs] now.

I would think that the extra material price is offset by doing it yourself plus, the additional insulation saving and over time lower power power bills.

I left Oneida in the early 70's for the Navy, Dad still there as is my brother in Florence near Camden.

I used to hunt where Turning Stone is now.


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By Doug in Lawrence, KS on 1/6/2007


Hi Mat,

Thanks for posting about your ICF experience. I plan to build this spring and will be doing much of the ICF part solo. I have narrowed my ICF suppliers to two choices, one of them is BuildBlock. 

My home will be approximately the same size as your home. How long did the stacking process take? Any tips you can offer would certainly be appreciated.

How will you attach your floor joists? I plan to change from 8-inch to 6-inch walls between the basement and first floor and set my rim joist on the two inches of concrete difference between the floors. Did you use a traditional fastening system? If so, which one? 

One other question, did you get any comparative bids for stick framing and/or traditional poured basement walls? I haven't gotten to that stage yet, but am interested to see the actual difference between the cost of ICF and traditional building methods. 

Doug


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By Doug in Lawrence, KS on 1/6/2007


Mat has already given you a good lead on BuildBlock, another I would suggest looking into is Fox Blocks. Both companies provide pricing on the Internet, so you can get a good idea of what it is going to cost for comparative purposes. 

 


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By Mat in Rome, NY on 1/6/2007


Stacking time can be pretty variable. For example, stacking the basement was quicker than the first floor because of all the window and door bucks. Depending on how many people you have helping (if any) - for the size of my basement (about 1,300 sq ft) it should take a crew of three people around three days, given no material shortages and good weather. Those three days would be full, 8-hour days. I could stack the block faster than my contractor with his two people working for him, but I'll leave those issues out of this reply :). I probably could have stacked the walls myself in three days if you hoof it.

Plan on at least another day to set up the bracing, place the vertical rebar, foam any loosely-cut joints, and other general prep for pouring. The pour should take you around 3-4 hours for that size, the pumps are worth their price. You should have at least three people available for pump day besides the pump operator. One guy to man the boom, one guy to chase with the vibrator and one guy on the ground to whack the forms with a mallet and to be ready to handle any blowouts.

I did the same thing - 8" block in the basement and transitioned to 6" on top. For the floor, I used the Simpson Strong-Tie IFL-VL (they have lots of tech info and diagrams on their site strongtie.com). I was skeptical at first until I saw how they work and I am a believer. They cost more to use, but in my case, I ended up putting them around the entire inside perimeter of my basement. The pour locks them into place. Then we used as 14" deep LVL (you can get these hangers for LVL's or kiln dried, make sure you order the correct ones!). So the LVL was installed around the perimeter as a band joist, and then I used 14" deep I-joists with regular old joist hangers. My house is clear span, so it's nice not having to deal with girders or beams.

I got three quotes for the ICF job. They were for $58K, $75K and $110K. I puked on the first one alone. I figured it will cost me about $45K GC'ing it myself for the basement, garage, first and partial second floor. 

I got one poured wall bid for $22K. Since my basement is now complete, and I ran all the numbers, I came in about $20K. I could have shaved a few thousand off of that for stupid things, and stupid subs. If you are doing all the labor yourself, except for the pour, you can easily save thousands over this price. Probably $7K-$8K at least.

I got a stick-frame bid for $60K, but it included the roof framing and interior framing, so I can't really compare apples/apples. My goal for my house is to take the avg. building price in my area (about $110/sq. foot) and to build for that, but upgrade everything. I am pretty confident the ICF portion will fall in line where I think it will.

Hope this helps. Having just done this (and still doing it) I can give you lots of more tips if you have specific Q's. Good luck!

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By Doug in Lawrence, KS on 1/8/2007


Thanks for the great info, Mat. I have a couple of questions:

On your basement, you received a poured wall bid of $22K. With ICF, you came in at $20K and could have saved another $7K-$8K by doing the labor yourself. Are these prices inclusive of footers and slab or just the walls? Either way, the money saved over a poured wall is huge considering your insulation and nailing "studs" are already in place!

To set the first floor joists, I plan to build my basement wall 9 feet 4 inches with 8-inch thick cores, then transition to 6-inch core one additional block high. After this is poured, cut out the foam on the 6-inch block to allow a ledger to be bolted to the 6-inch wall and resting on the 8-inch wall, then simply use joist hangers to set my floor joists... it seems easier and cheaper than the Simpson-Ties, but I haven't received a positive answer on whether this is possible. Any input? 

Keep us posted on your progress! Any tips and tricks you uncover throughout the process would be greatly appreciated. 

Doug


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By Mat in Rome, NY on 1/10/2007


My $20K costs included the footing, which was about $3,800. This was quite a bit more than what I had expected, about 20% higher than what I was anticipating (just for the footer) based on the number of hours it should have taken. I was paying my sub hourly and I am pretty sure he was padding the hours.

All that doesn't matter now because I fired him yesterday for a host of reasons. And it's the best decision I made thus far. I am going to handle the rest of the first floor and garage ICF with my dad and his cousin. Already, we've been doing a better job than my hack sub.

What you are describing for the joists at your transition jogs my memory about the BuildBlock installation manual. I think I remember reading that you can carve out pockets to set beams, etc. Their manual is online as a PDF from their website, buildblock.com. In fact, different ICF companies have various levels of information in their documentation. I tend to read manuals from all of them to get different perspectives on how to make things work. The BuildBlock manual tends to be light on information, so if I don't completely understand some facet of it, I'll check the Logix manual, the Arxx manual, etc. They all use the same techniques for stacking, bracing, lintels over openings, etc. And all are online for free.

The only thing that may concern me about what you want to do would be the leveling of the joists. I would  think it would be more difficult to make sure all of them were level without crowning or bowing your subfloor. You would have to be extremely careful with your cuts to make sure they were perfect, then have to worry about the wall settling once that heavy concrete hits it. But that's just my thought, I don't know of anyone who has done it that way - maybe try here: greenbuildingtalk.com/Forums. There are lots of good ICF pros who are great at answering questions. 

The ICF-VL hangers were about $10 apiece, but since it's a two-part system (one part anchors in the concrete, one part from the joist to the first hanger) it gives you the opportunity to level up your band joists on the spot. It's a lot easier to level these than worrying about shimming joists that are sunk in concrete.


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By Doug in Lawrence, KS on 1/10/2007


Thanks for the info, Mat. I just checked out your pics. Looks like things are moving along very well for you. Keep snapping pics, and keep us posted of the progress.

Doug


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By Thomas in Clayton, NY on 3/5/2007


Mat,

First, thanks for taking time and posting all this information. This is such a great resource and I use it constantly. Next, as I have been having a difficult time locating local home builders, it is a nice relief to see that someone sort of close is going the home building route. I live up in Clayton, NY and worked down there at Mohawk Correctional Facility for three years, so I am a sort of familiar with the area.

I still get down to that area occasionally and if it would be okay with you, maybe when I am down there we could meet and you could show me your house and I could pick your brains for ideas.

Thanks,

Tom


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By Mat in Rome, NY on 3/5/2007


Sure, no problem. Just shoot me an email. I haven't gotten much done through Feb because of all the snow we got. I am hoping to get going again really soon and get my first floor poured and set.
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By Kenneth in Lees Summit, MO on 3/6/2007


Another hanger to consider instead of the Simpson Strong-Tie offering is a USP hanger in their IFH Series. Using these hangers, and casting them directly into the concrete, you can eliminate your perimeter band joist. Eliminating a full perimeter of 14" LVL is a significant cost savings. As a bonus, the USP connectors are also cheaper than the Simpson connectors.

I transitioned from 8" block to 6" block as well. I would caution you to consider how you are going to run utilities through this transition, especially if you have a band joist. I have some plumbing on outside walls (I know this isn't a good idea, but with ICF realistically what is the risk?) so I have both PEX and DWV, and if you don't think through how this gets done with this transition your plumber will be none too happy with you.


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By Kenneth in Lees Summit, MO on 3/6/2007


This is how I attached my exterior deck. I carved out the foam, identified where my ledger plate needed to be, and anchored in 5/8" Red Heads directly into the concrete wall. For the interior joists, I used USP Connectors IFH Series hangers. Having done it both ways, I would never do it the way you are recommending.

It is definitely cheaper than using the Simpson Connectors (one Red Head is a bunch cheaper than one Simpson ICF-LW), but it is also definitely not easier. Using a big hammer drill (you don't want those wimpy 1/2" Milwaukees; if you have to do more than a couple, get a Hilti), you will chew through more bits than you think (hit rebar, and you waste one). Be very careful with these big hammers, if they catch, they will very easily break your wrist (a 1/2" Milwaukee will easily break your wrist, a Hilti will shatter it). And think about it, how many Red Heads is it gonna take? And if you subcontract it out, labor will definitely be more expensive than using the ICF ledger systems already on the market.

And if you want to save money over the Simpson, use the USP equivalent and eliminate the ledger plate entirely, saving money on both the connector side and the material side.


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By Bill in Largo, FL on 5/9/2007


I have finally broken ground!

Has anyone used or heard about Amvic ICF's? There is a local supplier near my site in TN.


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By Kenneth in Lees Summit, MO on 5/10/2007


I used them, any question in particular? I have also been on pours and seen several different ICF systems. There is actually quite a bit of ICF knowledge on these forums; the search tool is your friend. Some day we really should try to consolidate some of the ICF threads so we can get to the relevant content very quickly. If you go to the Product Reviews Forum (see top of the page, next to local forums), Alternative Building Techniques, there is a review of Amvic ICF that I submitted.
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By Bill in Largo, FL on 5/10/2007


How did you brace them? I'm thinking if I can't get bracing from the distributor I would use 2x4s and then reuse that for interior framing. I was going to use ReddiForms waffle block, but have changed my mind.

What to use for 2x bracing to connect to the forms?

Read your review, thanks!

Raider Bill
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By Bill in Largo, FL on 5/10/2007


I forgot to add, I'm considering using brick ledger block for my floor joists instead of a ledger board or the set in place USP Simpson type brace. Any comments that way?
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By Kenneth in Lees Summit, MO on 5/11/2007


I used bracing from the distributor, I wouldn't do it any other way. No matter how well you stack, make sure they are interlocked, glue them all together, you will get some settling of the block. Think about it, all of that nice Styrofoam, and suddenly a whole lot of weight (concrete) being dropped from on high, hitting the webs and rebar on the way down. You will get compaction in your block. Professional bracing allows for this movement, and still keeps your walls straight. Now if you brace it rigidly with 2x lumber, you will get a bow in your wall. You get a bow in your wall, and now you blame the ICF.

As to securing the floor system to the walls, I used USP IFH Series connectors cast into the concrete, much more cost-effective than the Simpson Strong-Tie ICF Ledger Connectors. I have seen installations where you use brick ledge to connect the floor, this was in a finished basement install; you can imagine what the sheetrock looked like. I wouldn't do it anyway, because the expected engineering loads on the brick ledge are nowhere close to the expected engineering loads on a fully-loaded floor system - this failure risk is not acceptable.

Sometimes you need to look to the pros (although there were plenty of times I had to show pros better ways of doing things). Bracing your ICF and securing your floor system are two such times. You ought to come over to greenbuildingtalk.com and discuss ICF over there. There are several ICF contractors who are more than happy to share experience to ensure a successful job.

If I were doing this again, I would look to a SpeedFloor or Hambro floor system and leave it unfinished with sheetrock and also stain the concrete, but then I really like a more industrial modern look. But neither of these will likely be as cost effective as an engineered wood floor system, sheetrock, and a traditional floor covering. Back your purling cost out (for the sheetrock), back your sheetrock cost out, back your finished floor cost out, and then they become a very attractive option.


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By Rick in Bozeman, MT on 1/2/2015


Updated $$$$ for ReddiForm - Year 2015


ReddiForm $7,390
Rebar Chairs $52
Fastening Strips $80
Shipping $496
Rebar $714
Concrete $2,460
TOTAL                   $11,192

Just got the estimate done.




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