I am new to this group,and would like to introduce myself.
My name is Tim,and I live in the Houston Tx area.Been here 28 yr.
now,and have to say we have some of the friendliest folks in the world
here,so will probably stay awhile. I am a divorced father of 3 kids, 2
of which live with me. I built my last home in '93;actually I was the
general contractor and subbed out most of the work.The house turned
out pretty well,but I also learned a lot during the process( you
cannot have too much closet and storage space,for instance).
Materials and techniques,not to mention necessity, have come a long
Anyway, I managed to lose that house in the divorce,but it was an
energy hog,so good riddance (electric bills in the range of 6-700/mo.)
Gonna build a new one this year,and will probably use ICF for the
outer walls.I have been looking at the Nudura ICF product line for the
last year or so,but that could change based on several factors. There
are more than a few players now in the ICF game.
Do any of you folks have any experience with ICF const., and in
particular plumbing and electrical issues? I would appreciate any
feedback,and will try to participate as much as possible with the
Thanks in advance,
Depends on exactly what you think are issues. In exterior wall you
generally cut a trench with a hot knife or fit the wires between the
strapping. Plumbing is put in interior wall when possible.
A couple of things to consider when choosing the ICF you want to use.
It does not matter much where the company is headquartered. Most all use
molders around the country to make the product for them. Ndura says they do
their own molding and that may or may not be a good thing. You can save a
lot of money on freight if there is a molder (not the distributor) close to
you rather than truck them 1000 miles.
Most every ICF is 2.5 inches thick so the insulating value is the same.
Some come molded with the webs in place. This saves labor but adds to
freight cost. Others some in flat panels and are assembled on site. Saves
fright, adds labor cost.
Most every block is 48" long, but they can be 12", 16" or 24" high. Larger
saves joints, smaller allows for versatility, especially if you want a 9'
basement. Be sure they have all the specialty items you need for your
design. 45 degrees, taper tops, brick ledge, headers, etc. saves trying to
make something on-site. The most common are 6 and 8 inch wall thickness,
but you can find them from 4 to 12 inches or assemble that size on-site.
Check out Wind Lock for accessories and tools used in construction.
Others ICS to consider
There are about 50 others. If you want to find a local distributor or
contractor, go here
Thanks for the info,and the links.You have given me a lot to think
about,but I really appreciate the link to the tools dist.;should come
in very handy when I do the rough in electrical.
You are right about the shipping costs,and I have heard that
Nudura has but one manuf. facility.I will be making comparisons,as I
am not set on any one product at this point.
I have a customer who built most of his house out of insulated concrete
forms. One dormer and the roofs are made from insulated panels. He said he
would never do it again except for the foundation. The house is very well
insulated and his heating and cooling bills are low. However because of
plumbing and electrical requirements he needed to build walls inside of the
concrete walls. He said he wound up paying for two walls where he only
needed one. I can tell you that it is a pain to try and add electrical
receptacles, lights, and switches in a house like this. I've had to use a
lot of Wiremold to add things after the fact. Maybe with better planning you
can figure a way to do it because electrical switches and receptacles can
certainly be recessed into the concrete. You would just use conduit and
concrete boxes. I don't know about the plumbing, heating and A/C though.
I was thinking the same thing when I first saw the place and knowing this
guy. Unfortunately at the time he was not able to find a lot of
contractors, designers, architects, and engineers who had experience with
this type of construction.
IMHO, there is no advantages to using 'ICFs' over 'sips' above grade
unless you live in hurricane country or maybe tornado alley. I'm in
Sips structures are cheaper and faster to construct......7-9 a sq ft v
10-15 for ICFS and offer much better insulation value.
My idea is to build a full ICF basement with 10' walls and chase all the
mechanicals above a suspended ceiling into a sips construction main
floor walls and roof.
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