Yesterday we looked at Poured Reinforced Concrete foundation walls where forms are set then filled with concrete to create a basement wall. Remember, everything sits on top of Footings that are always below the frost level. Occasionally you will hear people talk about “Frost Walls” and wonder what they are. A Frost Wall is typically only 4’ tall creating a crawl space, not a full usable basement. Frost walls’ footings are just barely below the freezing point so they work just fine.
Not every foundation is a Poured Reinforced Concrete wall. Today let’s take a look at an ICF foundation wall. The term ICF means Insulated Concrete Form so, ICF is a lot easier to remember and say.
I going to guess that somewhere you have seen ICF’s either being delivered or being used. Today’s photograph shows you that an ICF is a bulky Foam form that is stacked one on top of another building a foam wall. The hollow parts in the middle are then filed with concrete creating an ICF wall.
The principle is identical to a Poured Reinforced Concrete wall except with ICF’s the forms are never removed; they become an integral part of the basement’s wall. One foundation uses one type of form and the other uses a different type of form.
ICF’s have several advantages:
- Ease of use – the big foam blocks are easy to work with as they are so light weight
- Insulation – ICF’s create a foundation wall that is fully insulated, this is fantastic if the basement is going to be finished off into living space
ICF’s do have disadvantages:
- Expense – ICF’s are expensive. Actually all products that use some form of Foam are expensive.
Tomorrow we will look at other types of foundation walls.