By guest writer, Doug Dyck
When I first saw the Advantage ICF System, I thought to myself what a no brainer, it just makes sense. No plywood forms to lift, place and strip, no form ties to insert and strip and no form oil to apply. The Advantage ICF System is three steps in one, (forms, insulation and framing) with the benefits of a warmer basement, faster construction time and less concrete than a conventional foundation. The Advantage ICF System is one of the simplest ICF systems to put together. It was designed with the contractor in mind. With things like 1” marking lines on both sides of the block, this helps by keeping your tape measure in your tool belt. The Advantage ICF system has a patented tongue and groove block interlock system instead of the typical dimpled style joint. The T&G interlock helps lock each row together and is easier to clean out when things like dirt or snow get in the way. The T&G interlock also forces ties (studs) to align vertically and the 1-5/8” wide flanges on the ties make fastening finish materials much easier.
Advantage block was designed at 16 ½” high allowing you to achieve an 8’-3” wall height with 6 rows of block. This will give you the typical 8’ ceiling height after pouring your 4” slab and placing your sill plate on the top of your ICF wall.
Jason, a contractor who has been building Advantage ICF foundations and homes since 2005 says that he chose Advantage for the ease of installation. The 1” marking lines on the forms make it hugely beneficial from a time saving perspective. Another benefit of the T&G interlock design is less waste since it allows him to use cutoffs in other parts of the foundation and to be more efficient in constructing his foundations. He has tried other ICF’s on occasion and has found that they usually take an extra day of install time and that means less money in his pocket. He also appreciated that it was his local hardware store that first suggested that he start building with the Advantage ICF System and he could deal locally. Quoting with the Advantage ICF System has been very easy and now that his entire crew is trained, it has allowed him to spend less time on site and improve his profit margins. The delivery system that is in place with the Advantage ICF System is incomparable with any other in the industry, even during the busy season, this contractor can expect his order to be delivered direct to his jobsite.
Les, another builder with 10 years building experience with the Advantage ICF System, believes that the building envelope is the most important component in a home. This builder constructs upscale and refined energy efficient homes and is considered experts in this field. One of the benefits they enjoy is the ties being embedded in the insulation which allows for acrylic stucco to be directly applied without having to add EIFS to the wall.
Dave, a custom home builder, wanted to differentiate himself from other builders. He found the Advantage ICF System at their local hardware store and after doing their research, found all the benefits that the system offered. They liked the energy efficient aspect, the fact that they could use less skilled labour, letting them allocate skilled workers to more demanding tasks. The interlock system also makes it easier for odd sized walls, which is very common in the custom market. It allows for flexibility, and if the blocks remain unaltered the ties correctly align, which makes it much easier to apply the drywall or siding. The 1” inch incremental lines on the block are a great help when constructing a wall. After the first two rows are placed you shouldn’t need a tape measure for any cuts other than windows. You just copy the cuts on the first two rows and if you follow the proper procedures you should have no problems keeping the wall lengths correct. These lines save you time on your build, and can allow for the use of less skilled labour. If they can count, they can cut block for you. Dave likes the fact the blocks are delivered right to his site when he wants them. The insulated ties on advantage have two main benefits. The first is that it stops a thermal bridge from the outside to the inside of the block. When you have an exposed tie it allows for temperature transfers, and when building energy efficient homes every bit counts. The second advantage is that it allows the use of acrylic stucco to be applied directly on to the block. When you have exposed ties you have to add a layer of EPS in order for the stucco to adhere properly. Dave feels the Advantage ICF System is the way of the future, especially with the new building codes about to come into effect.
As you can see, I could write a book about all of the benefits of building with the Advantage ICF System. Not only will building with the Advantage ICF system save the end used or homeowner money but it will save the contractor/builder money. By reducing labour, materials and steps along the way builders/contractors are convinced that building with ICF is the only way.
Stay tuned: coming soon – part 3 (From a building store/dealer perspective)