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How-to attach finishes to my ICF Walls

June 13, 2011

Written by: Colin Showalter

Another frequently asked question I get is, “how do I attach interior and exterior finishes to my Advantage ICF walls?”

Interior drywall
Drywall is fastened to an Advantage ICF wall the same way as it would be in a wood frame house except that I recommend you use drywall screws rather than nails.  When you screw it on make sure you hit one of the plastic webs or ties spaced at 8” on center for 6” ICF walls or 6” on center for 8” ICF walls. Typically a standard stud finder will find these ties as it would normal wood studs. I would recommend using a little longer than normal drywall screw with a coarse thread pattern.
Note: that an indented line marks all Advantage ICF System blocks at 25.4 mm (1”) intervals to simplify measuring and marking. Double lines mark web locations.

What types of fasteners are required for drywall?
Wall coverings can typically be attached to the ties or webs in your ICF system with  #6 or #8 Type W (coarse thread) drywall screws. The screws must be corrosion resistant and have a sufficient length to penetrate the plastic tie or web a minimum of ¼” (6.4mm). #6 Type W drywall screws will provide an allowable pull-out capacity of 36 lbs (160 N) and an allowable lateral load capacity or 66 lbs (294 N). #8 Type W drywall screws will provide a slightly higher allowable pull-out capacity of 44 lbs (196 N) and an allowable lateral load capacity or 98 lbs (436 N).

What about stucco?
Conventional stuccos are applied by attaching the wire straight to the ties or webs with pan-head screws. Acrylic stucco manufacturers may require only typical foam preparation and the application directly onto the surface of the ICF with no stucco wire.

What about Siding?
Horizontal joints: strapping between the ties or webs using metal banding may be required if the siding joints line up with the joints in the block (where there are not ties or webs)

J trim: bucks may have to be modified to allow for certain types

Corners: strapping around corners with metal banding may be necessary for certain corner moldings. Use screws to install all sidings.

Note: All interior ICF surfaces must be covered by an acceptable thermal barrier. Exterior finishes and application requirements may vary based on local code requirements.

Basically anything that can be used as an exterior or interior finish on a conventional home can also be used with the Advantage ICF system.

Watch for my next Advantage blog about What types of damp proofing methods are recommended for Advantage ICF basements. Coming soon!

8 Comments leave one →
  1. Anonymous permalink
    August 2, 2011 12:08 pm


    I am seeing more problems with moisture, efflorescence and cracking with some ICF systems.
    The issue seems to be expansion of the foam near the surface. surface temperatures with sun shining on walls is 140 to 150F, or even more. The foam for the first 1/2 inch or more also reaches this temperature. obviously there has to be a volume change and this increased volume has to go somewhere
    The problems don’t always appear in the first year but usually after a few years.

    Your thoughts

    • August 4, 2011 8:20 am

      Hello and thank you for your post. In terms of your stated issue, there are literally millions of square feet of EIFS and stucco applied to EPS as cladding. We are not aware of similar complaints of efflorescence or surface cracking.

      EPS is not likely to be the cause of efflorescence. A more likely source would the cladding material itself. For instance, this could be due to excess moisture content in the cladding being drawn out at higher surface temperature or moisture changes in the cladding throughout the daily temperature/relative humidity exposure.

  2. Rod permalink
    January 21, 2014 8:00 pm

    What do you do at the corners ?

    • January 27, 2014 9:46 am

      Hello Rod,
      The corner also have a Tie or web molded into the EPS for fastening. Both on the inside and outside.

      Thanks for the good question.

  3. August 21, 2014 11:41 pm

    Excellent post. I was checking continuously
    this weblog and I’m inspired! Extremely useful information specifically the closing
    part 🙂 I take care of such info much. I used to be seeking this particular information for a very lengthy time.

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