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November 12, 2013

Advantage ICFWritten by Sean McBeth
Follow me on twitter @Sean_PlastiFab

Last week we took a slight detour from our commercial series to highlight the importance of sustainability. If you can remember back to the previous blog, Melissa talked about Plasti-Fab GeoSpan® compressible fill material and its uses in commercial construction. Moving up our commercial structure brings us to the topic of this week’s blog: Frost Wall or Grade Beam construction using Advantage ICFs.

The subject of this discussion will be using the Advantage ICF System to construct an insulated grade beam or frost wall as the foundation for a commercial building. Just like residential construction, commercial construction is not exempt from the ever increasing concern with energy efficiency, and the reduced consumption of non-renewable resources.  So when you are constructing a new commercial building it would only make sense to build using the most energy efficient building practices and materials available.

Commercial Insulation Solutions-adv frost wall

The ADVANTAGE ICF System® is the ideal building material for below grade forming since it is light weight and easily modified. By using a stay-in-place ICF as your concrete form for your frost wall or grade beam you eliminate the need for reusable forms to be rented and erected prior to placing the concrete. The stay-in-place forms do not have be stripped and returned once the concrete is set. The Advantage ICF system provides R-22.5 monolithic insulation that eliminates the added labour costs involved in having to insulate the entire perimeter of a commercial building’s frost wall.

One of the added advantages of using the ADVANTAGE ICF System for frost wall / grade beam applications is that it is an easily modified building material. What this means is that you have the flexibility to make changes to the block prior to the concrete pour.  Making these changes is very easy. In the case of a grade beam application one face of the block can be easily cut with a hand saw to incorporate inner pilasters to support columns. Of course you will need to ensure proper bracing when any of the ICF blocks have been modified from their original form.

Having a properly insulated frost wall under your commercial building equates to lower operating costs for the tenant(s) of the building. As less energy is being used, related greenhouse gasses are proportionally reduced. Today, more than ever, building an energy-efficient structure is the right environmental choice and will provide savings in energy costs.

To learn more about the Advantage ICF System visit

Stay tuned for next week when we cover Insulating the Slab.

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