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How-to do Electrical in my ICF Walls

April 25, 2011

Written by: Colin

Installating Electrical in ICFsA frequently asked question I get is, “How do I do my electrical in my Advantage ICF walls?”

I will explain to you how easy these few steps can be.

Step 1
Standard electrical boxes which are 3” deep can be cut into the EPS insulation which is 2-5/8” thick. That will leave the electrical boxes extending beyond the EPS to accommodate the ½” interior drywall. Boxes can either be mechanically fastened to the ties in the block or concrete.  Boxes can also be glued in place with low expansion foam.  All of these methods are common practice.

Step 2
Grooves can be easily cut in the EPS by using a variety of different tools.  I would recommend using an ELECTRIC chainsaw. It easily zips through the EPS foam and makes nice clean grooves. It also seems to create the least mess than any other method. Typically, chainsaws have holes in the blade which you can use to bolt a guide that will allow you to set a depth of your grooves to 1.5”.  1.5” is your building code requirement for depth of your wires.
Some people prefer to use either hot knives or routers. I find that hot knives seem to be the most labour intensive way to cut through the foam and routers tend to create a large mess of EPS dust to clean up.
All methods are acceptable and all work.  However, DO NOT use a standard gasoline chainsaw to do this job. The EPS foam and gasoline mixture will combine and turn into a goo this clogs up your chainsaw very fast rendering it garbage.

Step 3
After the wires have been pushed into the grooves then wired into switches and plugs, they will need to be inspected by an inspector as usual. Once inspection is passed, you can fill the grooves with a low expansion foam. Filling the grooves will secure the wires in place and recover your insulation that was removed.

Note: All electrical work is to be done by a licensed electrician.

Following these three simple steps will make performing electrical work in your Advantage ICF walls easier than ever.

Need more info on the Advantage ICF System? Visit the web site.

Next: How-to do Plumbing in my ICF walls

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Dale permalink
    October 4, 2011 4:32 pm

    Where can I get a roller depth guide for my electric chain saw.

    • October 17, 2011 2:46 pm

      Hello Dale,

      Due to the variety of makes and sizes of electric chainsaws there is no manufacture of the depth gauges for electrical runs in ICF construction. The ones described and seen in pictures are made by the user.

      They consist of a wheel with a nut and bolt assembly to hold it place. The hole in the chainsaw bar is placed the distance from the outside tip of the chain, add the depth of EPS and the radius of the wheel. You want the wheel to keep the chain cutting at a consistent depth, usually about 2 ½”.

      Thanks for your interest,
      Greg Doren
      Advantage Product Manager

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