If you are building your dream home, you may find that the walls are among the most important parts of your house. Insulated concrete forms make up a framework that remains in place permanently within the walls of a concrete home and have become an increasingly popular option in construction, as they provide a sturdy foundation and other valuable benefits to homeowners. In fact, a recent study found that the use of insulated concrete forms "has been growing at 25-30% per year for quite some time." Some of the advantages of using insulated concrete forms in your home are discussed below.
1) Energy efficiency - Insulated concrete forms are highly energy efficient. According to the Insulated Concrete Forms Manufacturers Association, insulated concrete forms have 60% better energy retention than traditional wood frame walls. Since insulated concrete forms provide greater insulation and thermal resistance, there is a significant reduction in energy use. The R-value (thermal resistance) of an insulated concrete form wall is typically larger than that of a wood frame. This heat absorption helps to maintain equilibrium throughout periods of large temperature swings, because the walls keep warmth inside during cold temperatures and stay cooler when the weather is hotter. In turn, a household's fuel bills will be much lower.
2) Weather resistance - Insulated concrete forms are extremely sturdy, and the reinforced concrete makes these constructions particularly resilient to natural disasters. Walls using insulated concrete forms are able to withstand all types of weather conditions, including hurricanes, tornadoes, and earthquakes. A series of case studies found that a substantial number of homes built with insulated concrete forms were able to survive a tornado's damaging attack. Some lab tests also found that insulated concrete walls were the only ones capable of handling tornado winds exceeding 200 miles per hour.
3) Better sound-proofing - Insulated concrete forms provide some creature comforts as well, including superior sound-proofing. Sound Transmission Class (STC) is the decibel measurement of how effectively a wall reduces sound; the STC of insulated concrete form walls is rated at 50 to 55, while a wood frame wall produces a rating of 33. This means that loud sounds are noticeably dampened with insulated concrete form walls. For quick context, at an STC rating of 55, shouting cannot be heard. Eliminating outside noise is an attractive feature for those who wish to build their homes near congested highways or bustling cities.
Whether you are looking for durability, strength, or comfort, constructing your house with insulated concrete forms is a valid option to consider for an energy efficient and safe home.