9 Main Disadvantages of Insulated Concrete Forms
Disadvantages of Building with Insulated Concrete Forms
Insulated concrete forms, or ICF, have been increasing in popularity among builders in recent years. The main benefit of using ICFs is that they provide superior insulation, which can lead to significant energy savings in the winter and summer.
There are also a number of other benefits to building with ICFs, such as quicker construction time and a higher quality finished product.
However, there are also a number of disadvantages to using ICFs. Here are seven of the most significant ones:
1. ICFs are more expensive than traditional construction methods:
One of the biggest drawbacks of using ICFs is that they are more expensive than traditional construction methods. Because they are typically formed offsite, they often require a significant amount of labor.
This means that they tend to be much more labor intensive than conventional building methods. The cost of labor can add significantly to the cost of the project, and make insulated concrete forms out of reach for some builders.
ICFs can be bulky and difficult to transport, which can increase shipping costs.
2. ICFs can be difficult to work with, which can lead to increased construction time:
One of the biggest downsides of using ICFs is that they can be difficult to work with. There are many different types and sizes of ICFs available, and each one can pose its own unique set of challenges when it comes to construction.
In order to get the best results from the formwork, builders need to be experienced in concrete techniques and materials, which makes them more difficult to learn than standard building methods.
3. ICFs may not be suitable for all construction applications:
Insulating concrete forms are designed for precise customization and can be an effective option for applications in which strength and workability are important factors.
However, this isn’t always the case, as ICFs are fairly limited as far as materials and methods of construction go.
As such, they may not be the best choice for many builders or construction scenarios. For example, in locations where water is a threat to the structure, ICFs may not be appropriate at all.
4. ICFs are not as commonly used as traditional construction methods, which can lead to a shortage of skilled labor:
While insulated concrete forms are relatively new on the construction scene, they are gaining popularity in many different regions every day.
However, due to their popularity and versatility, there may not be a large enough workforce of experienced ICF builders available to adequately meet the demand for these systems.
5. ICFs can be damaged by pests, which can lead to repair and replacement costs:
One of the main benefits of using insulated concrete forms is that they create a tighter seal than standard construction methods, which can help prevent common pests from entering a structure.
However, pests can still sometimes get into ICF structures and damage them. While they do not pose a threat to the overall integrity of the building, pests can cause some minor damage and force the structure to experience costly repairs.
6. ICFs may not be as energy efficient as claimed, which can lead to higher energy costs in the long run:
The fact that ICFs are a much more efficient insulator than wood or fiberglass insulation can make them seem like an ideal option for use in building.
However, as they are a relatively new construction method, there is not a great deal of research regarding their energy efficiency.
As such, it can be difficult to determine whether or not the increased insulation levels of insulated concrete forms are actually worth the extra cost when compared with other methods of construction.
7. It can reduce the amount of floor space inside of the structure:
One of the most significant drawbacks of using ICFs is that they can reduce the amount of floor space inside a structure.
This is because the construction methods often require builders to reduce the size and thickness of each section of wall slightly in order to create a consistent and even surface.
While it might not seem like much at first, reducing each section by just an inch or so can end up significantly reducing the overall amount of floor space in a structure.
8. ICF systems require a bracing process as part of the build:
One of the most significant drawbacks of using ICFs is that they require a bracing process as part of the build.
This requires builders to use specially designed steel beams or posts in order to hold each section of wall together during construction, which can lead to complications down the road.
Insulated Concrete Forms are typically used for interior walls containing no windows or doors. They are light weight, and are accepted by both the building codes and most insurance companies.