Advantage ICF System

Advantage ICFBuilding Homes, Building Hope with the Advantage ICF System® Owens Sound Habitat 01More than 1 million Canadians are confronted by a choice between paying a utility bill and covering the rent. It is a shocking statistic used by Habitat for Humanity to stress the importance of sustainable housing, and it is a call to action for the organization’s donors and volunteers who join together to build affordable homes. Partnering families contrib-ute 500 hours of sweat equity as their down payments and then enjoy no-interest mortgages. When Plasti-Fab contributed to a Habitat projects in Owen Sound & Wiarton, Ontario, it was helping to address the challenges in more ways than one. It seemed like a natural fit for Plasti-Fab. “Habitat for Humanity does great work in terms of what they represent to the community,” says Richard Baumgartner, Plasti-Fab Sales Manager for Ontario and Quebec. In these ten semi-detached homes, they also save cash each month by enjoying the ongoing energy savings that come with the use of insulating concrete forms (ICF). Each 1,000-square-foot living area is enclosed by six-inch Advantage ICF building block walls and a PlastiSpan Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) insulation that was incorporated into a radiant floor heating system. Utility bills now average only $46 per month in the middle of winter, and that includes the cost to heat water for the radiant heating system. In contrast, Ontario’s Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure says that it can cost $1,210 per year – more than $100 per month — to heat a home of similar size with a natural gas furnace. These benefits reflect the true meaning of “sustainability,” says Alan MacDon-ald, director of construction at Habitat for Humanity – Grey Bruce. “We look at the sustainability of the family to be able to maintain their home, and that includes operating costs.” But, the advantages didn’t end there. Many of the members of the Habitat volunteer crew members have never worked on a construction project in their lives. These lightweight forms are much easier to handle than traditional framing materials, and they fit together with ease. “Putting the blocks together is easy,” MacDonald agrees. “Everybody has fun doing it.”  It sure made a difference to the homeowners and impressed the judges who bestowed the 2009 Rio Tinto Alcan Sustainable Homes Programme Award, that recognizes the most successful Habitat builds in the country. When awarding  the $60,000 prize, judges cited the use of ICF as “one of the most energy-efficient building strategies available in homebuilding today”. “It was an incredible shot in the arm,” MacDonald said of the honor, “and a large portion of that submission was based on the ICF.”   Learn More about the Advantage ICF System® at http://www.advantageicf.com
Compared to conventional foundation walls, ICFs require more rebar.  However you can have a 6” thick concrete wall with ICF opposed to an 8” conventional foundation wall in most cases.  Therefore the extra rebar can save you 2” of concrete throughout your foundation walls. Since ICFs incorporate more rebar and are considered reinforced concrete walls, they will allow you to build a taller wall giving you a higher ceiling height compared to conventional concrete walls. Rebar is used to solve structural design requirements related primarily to compression, tension and shear loads.  Rebar will also control concrete shrinkage cracks. Vertical Rebar in the Footing Steel reinforcing dowels should extend a minimum of 40 times bar diameter in height from the top of the footing to match the size, spacing and position of the vertical reinforcement required in the foundation wall.
Concrete is strong under compression loads, but tensile strength is much lower.  Rebar for below grade foundation walls with backfill on the exterior face is always installed in the inside third of the wall which is the tension side of the wall. For above grade or Party Wall applications the rebar is typically placed in the middle of the wall. When you look in the Advantage ICF block you will see rebar clips on the plastic webs that space the 2 layers of EPS.
Horizontal Rebar in ICF Courses Once the first course of ICFs is complete, place rebar horizontally in the appropriate rebar clips in the web, following your engineering specifications (or the design tables in the Advantage ICF System Technical Manual). The horizontal rebar is staggered in order to allow the vertical rebar to be placed between the horizontal bars after all the courses are in place. For below grade ICF Walls install your horizontal rebar in clip #1 (the first inside rebar saddle)  on the first row of block and #3 (the third rebar saddle) on the second row and alternating between #1 and #3 for all the sub sequential courses of block.
Rebar is typically on the tension side of the wall (or the inner third in most cases) However, for a more in-depth descriptions, see the Advantage ICF System Technical Manual. Staggering the rebar from row to row creates a “weave” effect that enables the horizontal rebar to cage (another term “hold” works also) your vertical rebar in place. Vertical rebar is installed once the wall is at full height. Install the specified vertical reinforcing steel by sliding it down between the offset lengths of horizontal rebar. This creates a ‘weave’ effect that enables the horizontal rebar to hold the vertical rebar in place.

Job site tips for rebar

  • Make sure you know where on the job site you want the rebar unloaded.
  • Keep the rebar as clean as possible from dirt and other contamination as this will affect the performance
  • Cut 4 foot lengths and pre-bend them for corners and T-Walls
  • Have a proper rebar cutter and bender on site or arrange to have this done for you prior to having the rebar delivered to achieve required tolerances.
  • Place plastic caps over the top of vertical rebar sticking out of footings or walls to prevent injury from sharp ends.
You can click the following link to find out what rebar you will need for your job. http://www.advantageicf.com/technical-library/technical-library.html It is critical to review all applicable building codes and ICF manufacture’s engineering, technical manuals as well as Code Reports to understand the proper spacing and sizing requirements of rebar.

Resources

Advantage ICF Technical Manual Advantage ICF Installation Manual Advantage ICF Detail Manual Advantage ICF System Checklist Advantage ICF Field Guide If you have any questions about the rebar placement for your project, call us today at (888) 446-5377.
Last week we covered what an energy efficient commercial building looks like below grade. Now we are continuing with our build as we move to the types of products and construction methods for the above grade walls. Our goal with this building is to ensure that we maintain an energy efficient thermal envelope for the highest performing structure. Now that we have moved above-grade, the options available to builders and developers alike are much greater than below-grade. It is a good practice to always check with the local building codes prior to making your product selections for the project.   Some key factors to consider when deciding on your construction materials include quality of materials, technical support during your build process, and job site labor shortages that are sweeping the industry. Because we are a vertically-integrated organization, we maintain quality throughout the manufacturing process. The products we are about to cover range in installation skill, but in general will help your project come together quickly, to meet your completion deadlines.
Energy efficient exterior walls saves on heating and cooling costs for your building.
The first wall system we are going to cover for a commercial building is the Advantage ICF System®. Our patented forming system provides 5 steps in 1: Structural strength, studding, vapour barrier, air barrier and external sheathing resulting in reduced construction time. Advantage ICF System makes your building energy efficient, quiet and comfortable. ICF construction is the fastest growing construction method for both full commercial and renovation projects. To learn more about how the Advantage ICF System can be used in your next commercial project: CLICK HERE
The Advantage ICF System is a good choice for commercial construction due to the R-values, STC ratings and height you can go with the block.
Another common construction method for insulated wall systems in commercial construction are Precast Concrete Tilt up wall panels. Precast concrete panels in walls and floors can be easily and economically insulated by incorporating Plasti-Fab PlastiSpan insulation into the panel at time of manufacture. The panel when placed provides a fully insulated finished wall or floor section. Learn More
Insulation sandwiched between concrete during the manufacturing provides a quick, easy installation of precast insulated walls.
We recently had an in depth blog series on our next exterior insulating wall system Exterior Insulating Finishing Systems also known as EIFS. PlastiSpan EFS insulation used in EIFS applications covers the outside of the building so that the structure is isolated from the wide temperature fluctuations of the climate. This reduces expansion and contraction of the structure and stabilizes interior temperatures. Learn More
EIFS provide an insulated, finished look for the exterior of commercial buildings. Many hotels and professional offices are finished using EIFS.
Before we talk about exterior insulating sheathing solutions, we are going to look at one more insulated building system that is a great solution for commercial construction: Insulspan® Structural Insulated Panels. Some of the benefits of building your commercial walls using the Insulspan SIP System include the increased efficiency of SIPS allows you to downsize your hvac requirements. You can span longer without the need for posts, allowing for an open floor plan. Varying thicknesses meet the specific building code requirements for your area easily. Use our RTA solution to easily repeat structures across the country, Meet energy codes in any location, without altering the design or materials. To learn more about how the Insulspan SIP System can help you achieve your energy efficient project goals, CLICK HERE.
Insulspan Structural Insulated Panels (SIPS) provide energy efficient wall solutions.
The last type of insulation solutions we will be covering today for above grade walls in commercial construction is exterior insulating sheathing, also known as continuous insulation. While we have many different options for exterior sheathing, we are going to highlight 3 main choices for commercial construction. These insulation solutions are easy to cut and install on site, lightweight and easy to handle, and are available in a variety of thicknesses to provide you with the R-values you need to achieve your energy ratings on your project. DuroFoam® Exterior Sheathing: Use DuroFoam insulation for exterior sheathing for a continuous insulation solution on your next commercial construction project.  Laminated/branded product with thin film on both sides, Long term R-value 3.75/in., Closed cell insulation resists moisture, CCMC 12424-L Learn More
DuroFoam Insulation as Exterior Sheathing
EnerSpan® Exterior Sheathing – EnerSpan® is a moulded graphite expanded polystyrene (GPS) insulation with a silver- gray colour. Manufactured using Neopor® provided by BASF, a graphite-enhanced raw material that reduces radiation heat transfer resulting in higher thermal resistance (R-value) of 4.7 per inch Learn More
EnerSpan® Insulation for exterior sheathing for commercial construction
DuroSpan® GPS Exterior Sheathing – Provides Continuous Insulation Required by Energy Codes. DuroSpan® GPS is manufactured using a graphite- enhanced expandable polystyrene (GPS) insulation with a thin film laminated to the top and bottom surfaces. Learn More
DuroSpan® GPS insulation for exterior sheathing
With so many options available for building energy efficient commercial buildings, it may be difficult to decide which building method is best for your project. We are happy to help! Contact us today and we can help you decide on the best solution for your project. Stay tuned for next week when we put the roof on our commercial building!
Welcome to our commercial construction series where we will essentially “build” a commercial structure with Plasti-Fab’s energy efficient EPS products. Over the course of the next month, we will begin with below grade applications and work our way all the way to the roof!
Below Grade Solutions Every good structure starts with a good foundation. In our EPS product solutions for commercial construction series we will be covering below grade products for applications such as soil stabilization, compressible fill material, geotechnical requirements, high compressive resistant insulation, as well as below grade wall solutions. During our series, we will address multiple product solutions for the different type of below grade applications as Plasti-Fab manufactures multiple product solutions that can be used in your project. Above Grade Wall Solutions Depending on the type of commercial structure your project entails, there are multiple insulation solutions to choose from in order to suit the building needs. As a manufacturer of not just a wide variety of rigid foam options but also ICF block, insulation for EIFS, structural insulated panels (SIPs), and precast concrete tilt up walls, we will be addressing multiple types of above grade wall solutions in our series. Roof Insulation Lastly, we will finish up our series by completing the roof of our structure. Again, with varying options to choose from to create a highly efficient thermal envelope, this series will include roofing solutions such as PlastiSpan® sloped roofing insulation, Insulspan® SIPS, as well as rigid foam options for your commercial project.
At Plasti-Fab the success of our customers is important to us. We work with you throughout your commercial construction project to ensure the best customer service experience.
The Better Building Ideas Solution We are excited to begin this series and share the EPS product solutions for a better built commercial building. Whether you are the owner who will be receiving the reduced energy bills due to the highly efficient structure, or the contractor who needs to complete the project in a short time frame, Plasti-Fab has insulation solutions to make your project a success. About Plasti-Fab Plasti-Fab’s mission is to provide its customers with expanded polystyrene (EPS) Product Solutions for constructing energy efficient buildings, floatation for marine construction, lightweight fill and compressible fill for Geotechnical construction projects, and component solutions for Original Equipment Manufacturers. With manufacturing locations all across Canada and the United States, we supply products that are code-listed in both the US and Canada, as well as GreenGuard® Gold certified, we help you reach your project goals through a variety of products. Learn more about Plasti-Fab Commercial Solutions.
An Advantage ICF foundation installed in the snow.
Thanks to the ease of installation, this Advantage ICF foundation went in quickly and kept the crew from having to endure the cold for more than 2 days!
Advantage ICF We are a few days in to March and winter seems to be going on for quite some time now. This is great for winter sports and activities like skiing, ice skating, and the random snowball fight, but it’s not so great for your construction schedule. However, we have some good news for you. Our Advantage Insulated Concrete Forming System (ICFs) can be installed in whatever the weather may throw at you. Living in Canada, a question I frequently get asked is “how cold of temperatures can I pour concrete into ICF blocks?” Concrete construction during cold weather conditions requires special consideration to ensure that the concrete achieves the desired strength prior to freezing. Conventional concrete form walls can be constructed in all seasons; however, during cold weather months special measures must be taken to prevent the concrete from freezing. The special measures may include the use of windbreaks, insulated form work and/or heaters. These extra measures can greatly increase construction costs. And now for the good news!  Advantage Insulated Concrete Forms (ICF) offer the ability to pour concrete into your walls at temperatures colder than that of conventional concrete forms due to their high insulating properties. This ability can drastically extend your construction season, possibly allowing you to pour all year round. In very cold weather conditions, minimal precautions may be required, especially at wall penetrations and edges. Many studies have been done on this topic and they have all concluded basically that concrete can be placed in ICF walls at temperatures much lower than that allowed for concrete walls using conventional forming systems. Unfortunately I cannot give exact temperatures because people reading this may be in different climates around the world. However, I can say that using Advantage ICF blocks instead of conventional will prevent freezing and reduce or even eliminate the need for a heated enclosure. Covering the top of these forms is essential to retain all the heat of hydration. Many building officials who are not familiar with Advantage ICF blocks may require ICF wall pours to follow the typical cold weather concrete practices that were developed for conventional concrete forms. Cold weather concrete practices may vary between jurisdictions. Be sure to check with your local official before pouring concrete on a cold day in your area. Also check with your ready-mix concrete supplier to see what options they for concrete being poured in cold weather. Do you have more in-depth questions about pouring concrete in cold weather and how the Advantage ICF System is ideal for this? Contact an Advantage team member today for assistance. For more on Advantage Insulating Concrete Forms visit http://www.advantageicf.com
Welcome back to our mini series on building an energy efficient home! So far we have covered below grade insulation applications, and today we are moving to above grade walls and the insulation solutions for energy efficient homes. You may have experienced a home where different rooms are different temperatures based on the way the home was insulated. Exterior sheathing insulation applied as continuous insulation over the walls of your home provides a thermal envelope for improved R-value and energy efficiency. At Plasti-Fab, we have a wide array of exterior sheathing insulation products to suit building codes and R-value requirements across North America. While our product offering for the exterior sheathing insulation is wide, the installation method is fairly straightforward. To learn how to apply these products to a home, check out these 5 Simple Steps. Explore the images below to learn about the different products Plasti-Fab offers for this application.
Find out the features & benefits of using DuroSpan GPS Insulation
Find out the features & benefits of using DuroFoam/DuroSpan Insulation
Find out the features & benefits of using PlastiSpan Insulation
Find out the features & benefits of using EnerSpan Insulation
The other options we are covering today for energy efficient above grade walls fall under the building system category. Instead of being applied TO your walls, these insulation solutions ARE your walls. The Advantage ICF System can be used for both below and above grade walls. The all-in-one system provides you with excellent insulating qualities, is easy to install, has an STC Rating of >50, and provides you with a minimum 3-hour fire rating for the 6″ walls. You can choose between a 6″ or 8″ wall thickness based on your wall height, R-value requirements, and general preference.
Check out the product lines available for the Advantage ICF System
The last energy efficient building system we will be talking about today is known as a Structural Insulated Panel System, or SIPs for short. Insulspan, an industry-leader in the manufacture of the SIP system, provides an energy efficient structural solution for above grade walls. The Insulspan Structural Insulating Panel (SIP) system consists of  performance rated oriented strand board (OSB) structurally laminated to a  core of insulation. Insulspan SIPs provides building owners with a proven  method of constructing walls resulting in real energy cost savings while adding resale value to the building. Insulspan SIPs use closed-cell rigid EPS insulation cores which helps reduce air leakage and thermal bridging by providing a continuous layer of thermal insulation in both wall and roof assemblies.
Learn More about the Insulspan SIP System
So now we have a fully insulated home from the basement floor all the way to the top of the walls. All we have left to complete our thermal envelope is to put the roof on it! Stay tuned as we move on to roofing insulation for our last installment of Better Building Ideas from the Ground Up! To learn more about Plasti-Fab EPs Product Solutions, visit https://www.plastifab.com/
Advantage ICF Plasti-Fab is pleased to announce the NEW Advantage ICF System® T-Block for 6 & 8 inch Product Lines January 15, 2014 The growth in the demand for fire safety, comfort & reduction in noise transference in Commercial and Multi-family projects has created a higher demand for ICFs as internal walls. Included in this demand, single family homes have increased the demand for ICF internal walls where the same issues apply such as media rooms and garage to house wall separations. New T-Block The Advantage T-Block is designed with our patented interlock that keeps the webs aligned for consistent spacing for attachment of interior and exterior finishes. T-Block provides both a 6 and 8 inch concrete core for the intersecting wall. This insulating concrete form configuration of a T-wall is more efficient by eliminating cutting and bracing in comparison to manually constructing a T-wall with only straight forms. As part of the new product line, Advantage has included the only height adjuster T-Block in the industry. The purpose of the height adjuster is to allow greater flexibility in wall heights so standard height T-Blocks do not have to be cut creating waste on site. The Advantage ICF T-Block is the best choice for internal walls because its design eliminates job site waste and speeds up construction. The T-blocks quickly and easily form a pilaster for posts in commercial and agricultural grade beams and frost walls. Visit our information page on the Advantage ICF System T-Block  About Advantage The Advantage Insulating Concrete Forming System then aligned with Plasti-Fab Ltd. part of the PFB Corporation, because of their unsurpassed expertise in Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) technology. Plasti-Fab’s experience in EPS product engineering, testing, manufacturing and distribution gave the Advantage Insulating Concrete Forming System the quality needed to succeed. For more information visit www.advantageicf.com | www.plastifab.com | www.pfbcorp.com Follow us on Twitter @AdvantageICF | @PlastiFab | @PFBSpeak   Advantage ICFSouth Carolina homeowner creates hurricane-resistant home with Advantage ICF System® Advantage ICF System®  – Seabrook Island, South Carolina, USA South Carolina ICFArchitect Bruce Eason of New South Design specializes in classic, old world, custom home design. Many of his designs are also sold as house plans through his company New South Classics. Eason was contacted by a homeowner interested in constructing his popular Seabrook home plan on the southeast coast of Seabrook Island, outside of Charleston, South Carolina. “We took our Seabrook design, with traditional stick framing, and modified it to withstand the forces of nature as this house was to be built right on the water,” said Eason. “The owner wanted to be sure that they had enough structure to handle the wind and water loads that typical hurricanes with wind and tidal surges could produce, and meet applicable building codes.” icf blog 02Working with a structural engineer, Eason specified the Advantage ICF System® for the above grade walls. The Advantage ICF System delivers two continuous layers of expanded polystyrene insulation for exceptional energy efficiency, along with the strength and durability of reinforced concrete. Light gauge steel framing was used for the roof and interior walls. “The Charleston summers are hot and humid,” said Eason. “ICF construction added greatly to the thermal protection for increased efficiency and comfort. The strength of the ICFs combined with the all steel framing is very important in hurricane prone areas. In this area you’ve got wind, water, heat and humidity—ICFs help mitigate all of that.” Despite the home’s robust structure that is designed to withstand 140 mph winds, it retains the character of an authentic turn-ofthe- century Charleston-style home. “You can use a new technology like ICFs and finish with a home that looks appropriate in the Charleston Lowcountry,” said Eason. “What’s behind the walls is very different than what you expect. It is very high-tech, energy-efficient, and it enhances the safety and durability of the house.” icf blog 03“The home provides us with a great example of disaster-resistant and energy-efficient construction using the Advantage ICF System,” said Advantage ICF System Product Manager Greg Doren. For more information on the strength of ICFs and how to integrate them into your project, visit http://www.advantageicf.com  

Advantage ICFADVANTAGE ICF SYSTEM® FOR FROST WALL or GRADE BEAM CONSTRUCTION Written 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 www.advantageicf.com

Stay tuned for next week when we cover Insulating the Slab.   Advantage ICFNEW Advantage ICF T-block design solves demand in industry The growth in the demand for fire safety, comfort & reduction in noise transference in Commercial and Multi-family projects has created a higher demand for ICFs as internal walls.  Included in this demand, single family homes have increased the demand for ICF internal walls where the same issues apply such as media rooms and garage to house wall separations. Plasti-Fab’s ICF division has developed The Advantage T-Block to address these specific needs. Designed with their patented interlock that keeps the webs aligned for consistent spacing for attachment of interior and exterior finishes, the Advantage ICF T-block is a handy, on the job solution for intersecting walls. t-block-image-for-the-blogT-Block provides a 6 and 8 inch concrete core for both the intersecting wall. This insulating concrete form configuration of a T-wall is more efficient by eliminating cutting and bracing in comparison to manually constructing a T-wall with only straight forms. When you want to create an intersecting wall with the ICF forms, place a T-block between your straight blocks and you have a straight, true perpendicular wall. As you may know, the Advantage ICF System has a half block available in the straight and corner blocks to allow for the varying heights of walls in your project. As part of the new product line, Advantage has included the only height adjuster T-Block in the industry. The purpose of the height adjuster is to allow greater flexibility in wall heights so standard height T Blocks do not have to be cut creating waste on site. The Advantage ICF T-block is the best choice for internal walls because its design eliminates job site waste and speeds up construction.  The T-blocks quickly and easily form a Pilaster for posts in commercial and agricultural grade beams and Frost Walls. It also provides a seamless for Timber Frame and other style homes.

For more information visit www.advantageicf.com | www.plastifab.com | www.pfbcorp.com Follow us on Twitter @AdvantageICF | @PlastiFab | @PFBSpeak   Advantage ICFOkanagan College & Plasti-Fab build “Home for Learning” Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada Plasti-Fab® and Okanagan College provide students with a hands-on green building experience

Each year, students in Okanagan College’s Residential Construction Program build one of six Home for Learning projects on their way to earning Level One standing in a Carpentry Apprenticeship or becoming a Residential Framing Technician. As the college’s Construction Trades Department

Okanagan 01

Chairperson Alf Leimert points out, for many of the first-year students, this is their first onsite construction experience and one of the most valuable aspects of their construction education.

“That building is their vehicle for learning the curriculum as well as newer techniques and technologies,” said Leimert. “If we didn’t have real life buildings, students would have to learn using small mockups, and it is not the same as working on a real construction site.”

Okanagan 02

The 3,000 sq. ft. home in Kelowna is a partnership between the college, the Canadian Home Builders’ Association (CHBA) of Central Okanagan, Melcor Developments, and local builder Terry Heinrich of Distinctive Developments. Heinrich designed the home to meet Built Green standards, using the Advantage ICF System® donated by Plasti-Fab for the basement walls. He has relied on ICF construction for over three years to deliver long-term thermal resistance, low air infiltration and reduced noise transmission in his homes.

“I love ICFs, and not only from the standpoint of reducing greenhouse gas emissions,” he said. “The ability of ICF walls to block out sound and create a comfortable home is phenomenal. And I can say that because I live in an ICF home.”

Building on the energy efficiency of the Advantage ICF System, Heinrich used high performance argon-filled windows, a tankless hot water heater, and a 19 SEER heat pump.

“Working with the CHBA and Okanagan College is a great opportunity to get future builders hands-on training with highly energy efficient building products like the Advantage ICF System,” said Plasti-Fab Representative Sean McBeth.

Download a printed version of this story at http://www.plastifab.com/pf_profiles/Okanagan%20College%20Home%20For%20Learning%20Kelowna.pdf

or visit www.advantageicf.com for more information on the Advantage ICF Products.   Video: Residence constructed with Advantage ICF System Monday you read about a senior home that chose Advantage ICF block as its method of construction in order to save on their energy bills. With the help of timelapse photography, watch this residence being constructed with the Advantage ICF System.

  How-to do electrical in my Advantage ICF Walls Written by Colin Showalter Follow Colin on Twitter @Colin_PlastiFab A frequently asked question I get is, “How do I do my electrical in my Advantage ICF walls?” I will explain 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? Find more electrical information in our technical library http://www.advantageicf.com/lib/technical_library.html or visit the web site for more general information on ICFs www.advantageicf.com   Bracing & Scaffolding for Advantage ICF Projects Written by Colin Showalter Follow me on Twitter @Colin_PlastiFab First of all what are bracing/scaffolding systems and what are they used for? These systems support the wall and allow people to work off the ground to reach higher up the walls. They also give you the ability to plumb the wall during and after the concrete pour. After you have installed the third course of blocks it is usually time to install the scaffolding and bracing system. If you are tall enough, you may be able to wait until after the fourth course or you can work from ladders. There are three common types used each will be described below.
Wood Scaffolding
Wood Scaffolding
Wood The most common type of bracing/scaffolding system used by a one-time ICF builder is wood. Wood bracing usually consists of 2 2×4’s nailed together to form an “L” or strong back. This is attached to the ICF blocks every 5’-6’ screwing into the block vertically every 8”-24”. Screw the braces into the Advantage ICF ties using 3” screws. Attach scaffold brackets and/or handrail brackets to the vertical braces. These brackets are usually placed roughly 30”-36” below the finish pour height of the wall or whatever height constitutes a comfortable working height to place and finish the concrete. Turnbuckles are adjustable bracing devices that hold walls steady. Adjust the alignment of the walls before and after the concrete has been poured using turnbuckles. Install the turnbuckle part of the bracing system by attaching the diagonal brace, complete with turnbuckles, to the vertical braces with a short piece of 10M rebar. Before securing the bottom part of the unit to the ground, make sure the turnbuckle is adjusted to a central point. This will make it easier to make adjustments later on.
Metal Scaffolding
Metal Scaffolding
Metal Metal bracing/scaffolding basically consists of all three of the components described above. The obvious differences are that they are made of metal instead of wood. Because they are made of metal they are much more durable than wood type scaffolding. They are made specifically for pouring, bracing and adjusting ICF walls. The metal types are typically more adjustable than most other types. You can easily adjust the platform height, and wall plumb and straightness both before and after the concrete pour. Tube Frame Scaffolding Typically this type of scaffolding would be used on a commercial job with very high wall heights. It can be adapted to work with an ICF wall under construction. The wall is plumbed true, so it is critical the wall be attached to the scaffolding in a way that it will not move. This can be accomplished using a variety of methods, utilizing the ICF webs. There are also adaptor kits that allow this type of scaffolding to incorporate ICF metal scaffolding for commercial and high wall applications.
Tube Frame Scaffolding
Tube Frame Scaffolding: Used Commercially
Additional information on bracing and scaffolding can be found in the Advantage ICF System Installation Manual pg 24-26. Also see installation video on our website at: http://www.advantageicf.com. Note: ensure you follow your local OH&S codes when installing scaffolding platforms and hand rails.   What to use for damp-proofing on my ICF foundation Written By: Colin Showalter A frequently asked question I get is, “what-to use for damp-proofing on my Advantage ICF foundation walls?” Many types of damp-proofing products are suitable for use with the Advantage ICF system. From traditional spray on ones (water based) to the various types of wraps. We recommend the dimpled type of membranes as they provide damp-proofing, drainage and protection from back-fill. Below I will take you through the pros and cons for the 4 most common types. Standard Spray On Mineral colloid emulsifiers can be applied to the exterior face of the Advantage ICF system. Follow manufacturer instructions for application; however, it should be noted that liquid coatings will not bridge gaps between insulation panels, so vertical EPS (expanded polystyrene)  joints that are not butted tightly together must be filled before application. The specific product used must be recommended as compatible for use with EPS insulation. Note: Do not apply highly solvent extended asphalt emulsions as they are not compatible with EPS insulation. Roll-on The Roll-on types of waterproofing are a rubberized liquid coating that is either rolled or sprayed on depending on the manufacturer. It usually comes in a bucket.  The pro to the roll-on membrane is that because it is liquid it easily rolls on and fills any of the gaps. Note: Some of the roll-on systems cannot be installed in cold weather below a certain temperature. See manufacturer’s specifications to confirm. Peal and Stick Membrane These types of membranes are considered waterproofing. Several manufacturers of sheet type peel and stick membranes provide product intended for use with EPS insulation. Follow membrane manufacturers installation requirements, including application of a primer coat where necessary, to ensure best adhesion to the exterior face of the Advantage ICF system. Many contractors use this method in combination with a dimpled membrane to get a superior waterproofing and drainage plane. Note: Some of the peel and stick systems cannot be installed in cold weather below a certain temperature. See manufacturer’s specifications to confirm. Dimpled Membrane Several types of dimpled sheet membranes, such as SUPERSEAL Dimpled Membrane, have been evaluated for use as damp-proofing materials by the Canadian Construction Materials Centre (CCMC).  Membrane manufacturer instructions for installation as a damp proofing membrane must be followed when installing on the Advantage ICF system. The pros to this type of system is that it is a stronger thicker plastic that both protects the EPS foam from back-fill and also creates a permanent drainage plane between the soil and the foundation wall. Regardless of the type of damp-proofing you choose the dimpled membrane offers protection to your choice. Damp-proofing or waterproofing is required by most building codes. Using one of the above methods of damp proofing should help greatly increase the chances of keeping your basement dry and comfortable for years to come. Note: Contact an Advantage ICF sales representative for recommendations on specific products available in your area. Find one now: http://www.advantageicf.com/about_advantage/wheretobuyadvantage.html  Visit http://www.advantageicf.com for further information in damp-proofing and ICFs.   Advantage ICFFootings for Advantage ICFs: Pictures Footings-for-Advantage-ICF-2 Footings-for-Advantage-ICF Advantage-ICFs-on-Footings You can see more projects at www.advantageicf.com   Advantage ICFHow to do Step Footings Using Advantage ICFs Written By Guest Writer Wade McClelland Footings FlatFootings are the base on which you erect the foundation walls of your building.  The footings ensure the load from the walls are spread evenly to the soil below. A level and square footing is always best to start with. If your footings are not square and level, this will potentially slow the installation of your ICF walls. It is recommended that the maximum variance in elevation on a footing not be greater than ¼” in height. If there is a variance in level greater than ¼” in your footing elevation it will require shimming or trimming the bottom edge of the first course of ICF blocks to ensure that the start of your build is kept level. Keep in mind that prior to starting any building project it is strongly advised to consult the local building authorities to confirm the requirements are for building in your area. In some cases there may be municipal regulations that add requirements beyond Provincial Building Codes. In general, the width of your footing should be no less than 24”, but wider footings may be required dependent upon the design requirements for your application. A 24” width will ensure that you have sufficient room to place either the 6” or 8” Advantage ICF blocks. On the 6” Advantage ICF the total width of the form is 11.25” which leaves you with 6.375” of the footing on either side of the block. The 8” ICF has a total width of 13.25” thus giving you 4.375” on each side of the Advantage ICF block. In both instances, this is using the centerline of the footing as the centerline of your wall. If you are doing a walkout basement you will require step footings to accommodate the frost wall. The Advantage ICF blocks have a height of 16.5” on both the 6” and 8” product line. The NBC (National Building Code) states that the maximum rise or height for step footings shall be no greater than 24”. You have two options when making your step footings when using the Advantage ICF system.  Firstly, you can use 3 – 2”x6” pieces of lumber stacked on their edge which equals a total height of 16.5” matching the height of the Advantage block. If doing a 4’ frost wall this is the best way to do your step footings as 3 steps at 16.5” equals 49.5” (3 courses of Advantage ICF).  Refer to the diagram & photograph below which illustrates how this is achieved. Second option if you do your step footings at a height of 2 feet you can use the Advantage Height Adjuster ICF block (7.5”) on top of a full standard block (16.5”) to achieve the 24” height. Footings - rebar verticalDOWELS Rebar dowels should be placed to match the vertical reinforcement size as per the rebar tables in the Advantage Technical Manual or the blueprints that are engineer approved.  Using 10M rebar dowels spaced at no greater than 24” on center provides meets NBC requirements.  The dowels must be placed with a minimum of 8” embedded into the footing and 3” concrete coverage to the bottom of the footing. Extending the dowels vertically above the footing is required so that they can be tied into the foundation wall rebar. If using 10M rebar, the dowels should extend a minimum of 18” vertically above the surface of the footing and 26” vertically for 15M rebar.  This will ensure that the bottom course of your wall has sufficient lateral support from the footing to wall connection. The diagram below further explains how to achieve this. Wall to Footing Connection Detail For further information on this topic or any other please click on the link below or call  TOLL FREE 1-888-446-5377 www.advantageicf.com   Advantage ICFHow to attach finishes to Advantage ICFs Written by Colin Showalter,  @Colin_PlastiFab A question that I get asked quite frequently is “how do I attach interior and exterior finishes to my Advantage ICF walls?” Below I will cover many of the materials that are used as finishes on our Advantage ICFs, but 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. So, let’s get started… Attaching Drywall to ICFInterior drywall Drywall is fastened to an Advantage ICF wall the same way as it would be in a wood frame house, except 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. Stucco to ICFWhat 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. Do you have questions about a finish I did not cover? If I did not cover one of the finishes you have in mind for your project, or you have more questions about what I talked about today, let me know. Visit www.advantageicf.com for more information on our products.   Advantage ICFPouring Concrete in Cold Weather with Advantage ICFs Written by Colin Showalter Follow Colin on Twitter: @Colin_PlastiFab Living in Canada, another question I frequently get asked is “how cold of temperatures can I pour concrete into ICF blocks?” #concrete #Canada #coldweather #constructionConcrete construction during cold weather conditions requires special consideration to ensure that the concrete achieves the desired strength prior to freezing. Conventional concrete form walls can be constructed in all seasons; however, during cold weather months special measures must be taken to prevent the concrete from freezing. The special measures may include the use of windbreaks, insulated formwork and/or heaters. These extra measures can greatly increase construction costs. Advantage Insulated Concrete Forms (ICF) offer the ability to pour concrete into your walls at temperatures colder than that of conventional concrete forms due to their high insulating properties. This ability can drastically extend your construction season, possibly allowing you to pour all year round. In very cold weather conditions, minimal precautions may be required, especially at wall penetrations and edges. #concrete #Canada #coldweather #constructionMany studies have been done on this topic and they have all concluded basically that concrete can be placed in ICF walls at temperatures much lower than that allowed for concrete walls using conventional forming systems. Unfortunately I cannot give exact temperatures because people reading this may be in different climates around the world. However, I can say that using Advantage ICF blocks instead of conventional will prevent freezing and reduce or even eliminate the need for a heated enclosure. Covering the top of these forms is essential to retain all the heat of hydration. Many building officials who are not familiar with Advantage ICF blocks may require ICF wall pours to follow the typical cold weather concrete practices that were developed for conventional concrete forms. Cold weather concrete practices may vary between jurisdictions. Be sure to check with your local official before pouring concrete on a cold day in your area. Also check with your ready-mix concrete supplier to see what options they for concrete being poured in cold weather. —- Do you have more indepth questions for Colin about pouring concrete in cold weather and how the Advantage ICF System is ideal for this? Email him at cshowalter@plastifab.com or send him a direct message tweet on Twitter to @Colin_PlastiFab For more on Advantage Insulating Concrete Forms visit http://www.advantageicf.com   Building your above grade walls using Insulated Concrete Forms (ICF’s) Written by: Colin Showalter Follow Colin on Twitter @Colin_PlastiFab Walls built with the Advantage ICF System provide improved energy efficiency that results in reduced operating costs for the life of the building. In addition, since less energy is consumed, related greenhouse gas emissions are proportionately reduced. Today, more than ever, building an energy efficient structure is the right environmental choice and will provide savings in energy costs. So why not continue your high quality, energy efficient ICF basement up through the whole house.

A home built using the Advantage ICF System will make a wall structure more energy efficient and significantly reduce the energy loss compared to a conventional new home constructed using wood stud framing and batt insulation. (The conventional home does not include any Plastispan like Melissa described in the previous blogs.) The graph below provides a comparison of the effective R-value for a wall assembly constructed using the Advantage ICF System versus a wood frame system with R-20 insulation.

Unintentional air leakage can be one of the biggest sources of heat loss in many buildings. Air leakage rates vary widely for different types of construction methods. For example, a 3,900 square foot home (similar to the one shown) using the Advantage ICF System for both above and below grade walls was tested for air tightness in comparison to energy efficient design requirements. The air leakage rate was found to be 0.22 air changes per hour indicating a very airtight structure. This confirms that the solid, continuous insulation wall construction provided by the Advantage ICF System will result in significant reduction in air leakage versus other types of wall construction.

When building your whole house with ICF you increase the R-value and decrease the air leakage of your home. Builders and home owners alike ask me all the time what is the best furnace upgrade they should put in there new ICF house. My response is, “Why would you spend lots of money on a furnace that will never run?”

For more information on Advantage ICFs, visit http://www.advantageicf.com

Next: Learn the next step in energy efficiency as we insulate your basement floor.   What does an Advantage ICF basement look like? Foundations come in all shapes and sizes. Here you can see some samples of insulating concrete forming system basements from our recent projects. In addition, watch how how an ICF foundation is built in ou YouTube videos on the Plasti-Fab Channel

Building your foundation using Insulated Concrete Forms (ICF’s) Written By Colin Showalter

As Melissa described in the previous two blogs everyone wants a useable basement. So when designing and constructing your new house I suggest you consider the Advantage ICF System for your basement foundation.

Imagine spending time with your family, in the heart of winter, in your basement, and it being the most comfortable place in your house. Sounds like a fantasy doesn’t it? We all know most basements are cold and uncomfortable. However, ask anyone who has a house with an ICF basement, and they will tell you that this fantasy has become reality.

Walls built with the Advantage ICF system provide improved energy efficiency that results in reduced operating costs for the life of the building. In addition, since less energy is being used, related greenhouse gas emissions are proportionately reduced. Today, more than ever, building an energy-efficient structure is the right environmental choice and will provide savings in energy costs.

A basement built with the Advantage ICF System will make a wall structure at least 40% more energy-efficient and significantly reduce heat transfer compared to a new conventionally built home. Some of you might wonder, what is heat transfer? That is the loss of your warm air to the outside in the winter (or heat gain from the outside in the summer), or perhaps more aptly put, the loss of your energy dollars.

Using the Advantage ICF System can translate into savings in energy consumption of at least 30%. A poorly insulated below-grade foundation wall can account for more than 50% of the total heat loss from a house. The graph below provides a comparison of the effective R-value provided by a below grade wall constructed with the Advantage ICF System wall versus a typical concrete wall with wood frame wall and R-8 batt insulation.

There you have it! Fantasy becomes reality when you build your basement foundation with the Advantage ICF System. Your basement living space becomes the most comfortable place in your home. The biggest complaint I hear from people who build their basements with ICF is “Why didn’t I build the whole house like this?”

Next: Learn the next step in energy efficiency as we build the first floor of our Plasti-Fab Solutions Home using Insulspan SIPS.

For more information on foundation insulation, visit plastifab.com or advantageicf.com for our extensive technical libraries with installation manuals, product information bulletins, and more. How do you do a radius wall using ICF block? Written by: Colin Showalter Follow Colin on Twitter @Colin_PlastiFab Something you see much more frequently in today’s residential architecture is curved or radius walls. So the question is, can you do this with ICF block and, if so, how? In this blog I will answer both of those questions. Yes, you can do curved/radius walls with ICF block. Obviously there are limitations depending on radius, window or door opening and other factors. However, typically anything you can do with conventional forms you can do with ICF forms. First: Radius walls are constructed by removing sections from the inside side panel and bending the ICF into the required shape. Second: Run lath stripes around the blocks and then brace with your bracing system to hold the curve. Important: Horizontal rebar as specified, must be bent to the appropriate radius to be inserted in each course of block. (as required by the local building code) Third: Repeat the above steps for each row of block. Note: Curves are a great place to use up off cuts and small pieces of block to reduce your waste. Just make sure it is securely braced. Fourth: Drop in vertical rebar as you would with any other wall as required by the local building code. By following these simple steps you can easily build any radius wall on site. And remember “If you have a miter saw, there is no point in paying for specialty blocks.” Specialty radius blocks are very pricey and can escalate your building costs substantially.

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Please stay tuned as we develop a video of the above steps to further help explain this topic. Coming Soon: revisiting “rebar” How-to do electrical in my Advantage ICF Walls Written by: Colin Showalter Follow Colin on Twitter @Colin_PlastiFab A frequently asked questionInstallating Electrical in ICFs 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. How-to do an Uncommon ICF Angle on Site Written By: Colin Showalter Follow Colin on Twitter @Colin_PlastiFab The Advantage ICF system has two typical corner blocks – 90 degree and 45 degree. So what do you do when your project calls for a 35 degree or a 120 degree angle? Well, let me explain. The answer is simple. A simple miter joint can be created by bevel cutting standard straight blocks to accommodate any angle on site. Step 1: Start from a corner block (45 or 90 degree) and work towards the uncommon corner requiring a miter joint. Step 2: Bevel cut the foam on the edge of two standard straight blocks at the angle required to match the angle of the to create the uncommon miter joint. Step 3: Place pre-bent rebar going throughout the corner to match the rebar pattern. Repeat steps 2 and 3 for all sequential rows of ICF block. Step 4: Spray foam the gap if you feel the miter joint doesn’t fit tight. Use a low expansion spray foam. Step 5: Strap the corner with Advantage multi-strap the same as you would with all the other corners. Step 6: Build 2-2×6 lumber “L’s” or “strong backs” place these vertically on the back side of the miter jointed corner fastening them to the Advantage ICF ties. Note: you may save time if you have multiple miter corners by building a miter box Following these steps will allow you to build a monolithic concrete wall throughout any uncommon angle in your project. Be sure to continue to follow all local building codes. Coming soon: When do you need a taper top block? Advantages of Advantage Part 3: Building Store/Dealer Perspective Written by: Colin Showalter Follow Colin on twitter: @Colin_PlastiFab If you have been following this three part series of “Advantages of Advantage” you would already know what the advantages are to both the homeowners and the contractor/builder. In this third part we will go through the advantages the Building Stores/Dealers who sell the Advantage ICF System. The most obvious advantage to selling Advantage ICF is that Plasti-Fab manufactures the Advantage ICF System and makes it available across Canada. This allows us to ship the block direct to site in a very timely manner to almost all area in Canada and northern United States. This allows each Building Store/Dealer to use their yard space to store other products. It also means that since Plasti-Fab is delivering direct to job sites the stores do not even need to handle the product. The second benefit is that Plasti-Fab fully supports their product. Which means on-site technical advisory as well as project by project quotes are both available at no charge. This makes it much less stressful for the stores if a contractor has not worked with the Advantage ICF system and has some questions or concerns about install. Other benefits relate to the many design features of the product which were previously discussed in the previous blogs providing benefits for homeowners and contractor/builders, such as the patented Advantage ICF System interlock that lines up the ties virtually eliminating concerns of attachments needed for interior and exterior finishes for the customers of the Building Stores/Dealers. Hopefully I have touched on most of the benefits of the Advantage ICF System in these last three blogs, whether you’re a homeowner, contractor/builder or a building store/dealer. If you have any further questions feel free to contact us. Stay tuned: coming soon – how to do an uncommon corner angle on site Advantages of Advantage – Part 2 Builder/contractor perspective 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) Advantage of Advantage – Part 1: Homeowners’ Perspective Written by: Colin Showalter Follow Colin on Twitter @Colin_Plastifab One of the questions I get frequently is “what is the advantage of using Advantage ICF System?” My answer is simple: it depends on your perspective. Stay tuned over the next few weeks as I answer this question from the 3 most common points of view: Homeowner, Builder/contractor and Building store/dealer. Today we look at the homeowners’ perspective. The most obvious advantage to using Advantage ICF System to the home owner is the energy efficiency of their home. Energy efficiency can be both improved R-values and air tightness, which are both improved by using Advantage ICF System. Typically R-12 batt insulation is used in a basement vs. the Effective R Value 22 you get with Advantage ICF. Also because you eliminate thermal bridging associated with cavity walls constructed with studs, batt insulation and vapour barrier. By using ICF’s it is replaced with a two layers of rigid EPS insulation and concrete creating a monolithic wall you greatly improve the air tightness. Whether you live in windy southern Alberta, next the train tracks downtown Montreal or under the flight path of Canada’s busiest airport a quiet living environment is a growing concern. Building your house out of Advantage ICF System will greatly improve the sound dampening properties of your home. The Advantage ICF System has an STC rating of 50. This is exponentially better than a standard 2×6 stick framed wall. Having a house with these improved performance characteristics can also improve your resale value. Obviously houses with these upgraded qualities are of value to most purchasers. As energy costs increase people are willing to pay more up front to save money every month they live in the house over the long term.

Stay tuned: coming soon – Part 2 (From a builder/contractor perspective)

Have you signed up receive our Newsletter? If not, sign up today! http://mlgn.to/3dq Step Footings Using the Advantage ICF System Written By Guest Writer Wade McClelland Prior to starting any building project it is strongly advised to consult the local building authorities to confirm the requirements are for building in your area. In some cases there may be municipal regulations that add requirements beyond Provincial Building Codes. Footings are the base on which you erect the foundation walls of your building. The footings ensure the load from the walls are spread evenly to the soil below. A level and square footing is always best to start with. If your footings are not square and level, this will potentially slow the installation of your ICF walls. It is recommended that the maximum variance in elevation on a footing not be greater than ¼” in height. If there is a variance in level greater than ¼” in your footing elevation it will require shimming or trimming the bottom edge of the first course of ICF blocks to ensure that the start of your build is kept level. In general, the width of your footing should be no less than 24”, but wider footings may be required dependent upon the design requirements for your application. A 24” width will ensure that you have sufficient room to place either the 6” or 8” Advantage ICF blocks. On the 6” Advantage ICF the total width of the form is 11.25” which leaves you with 6.375” of the footing on either side of the block. The 8” ICF has a total width of 13.25” thus giving you 4.375” on each side of the Advantage ICF block. In both instances, this is using the centerline of the footing as the centerline of your wall. STEP FOOTINGS USING THE ADVANTAGE ICF SYSTEM If you are doing a walkout basement you will require step footings to accommodate the frost wall. The Advantage ICF blocks have a height of 16.5” on both the 6” and 8” product line. The NBC (National Building Code) states that the maximum rise or height for step footings shall be no greater than 24”. You have two options when making your step footings when using the Advantage ICF system. Firstly, you can use 3 – 2”x6” pieces of lumber stacked on their edge which equals a total height of 16.5” matching the height of the Advantage block. If doing a 4’ frost wall this is the best way to do your step footings as 3 steps at 16.5” equals 49.5” (3 courses of Advantage ICF). Refer to the diagram & photograph below which illustrates how this is achieved. Second option if you do your step footings at a height of 2 feet you can use the Advantage Height Adjuster ICF block (7.5”) on top of a full standard block (16.5”) to achieve the 24” height. DOWELS Rebar dowels should be placed to match the vertical reinforcement size as per the rebar tables in the Advantage Technical Manual or the blueprints that are engineer approved. Using 10M rebar dowels spaced at no greater than 24” on center provides meets NBC requirements. The dowels must be placed with a minimum of 8” embedded into the footing and 3” concrete coverage to the bottom of the footing. Extending the dowels vertically above the footing is required so that they can be tied into the foundation wall rebar. If using 10M rebar, the dowels should extend a minimum of 18” vertically above the surface of the footing and 26” vertically for 15M rebar. This will ensure that the bottom course of your wall has sufficient lateral support from the footing to wall connection. The diagram below further explains how to achieve this.

Wall to Footing Connection Detail

For further information on this topic or any other please click on the link below or call TOLL FREE 1-888-446-5377 www.advantageicf.com Coming soon: Insulbuck How-to video by Greg Doren, Advantage Brand Manager

Video: How to do a T-intersection with Advantage ICFs (YouTube) This video shows how to do a T-intersection with Advantage ICF that helps reduce construction costs that includes waste and labour at T-intersections.
Did you find this video helpful? Let us know.

 

How-to do a T-intersection with Advantage ICFs Written by: Colin Showalter Follow Colin on twitter: @Colin_Plastifab Quite often, I get asked “why doesn’t Advantage ICF have a prefabricated or moulded T-block? And what do I do at a T-intersection when using Advantage” The answer is simple: Advantage ICF doesn’t have a T-block because fabricating a T-intersection on site is easier, faster and wastes less block resulting in lower costs compared to using a moulded T-block. Using a  moulded T-block may result in more on site cutting of connecting blocks because you will have to cut filler blocks on all three sides of the T-intersection, thus creating more waste. Using a T-block doesn’t allow you to reduce your bracing requirements.  Some moulded T-Blocks cost close to twice as much as the standard blocks based on cost per square foot. So how do you do a T-intersection with Advantage ICF? Follow the steps below and you will reduce your construction cost including the waste and labour at T-intersections. Preparation: Build strong back “L’s” out of dimensional lumber as required. And pre-bend two 90 degree pieces of rebar per row of blocks. Step 1: Working from corners to the middle of wall, build the through wall as you would normally,. Step 2: Cut the foam out of the through wall you just built in order to fit in the perpendicular wall. Your cut opening will be 11 ¼” wide for a 6” block and 13 ¼” wide for 8” block. Cut the Advantage web in the wall section you have cut at the third rebar clip from the side where you have cut the foam, leaving the middle vertical strut in the web.  Now remove the foam cut out.  This will allow you to slide the perpendicular block into the through wall.  Use two zip straps approximately 20 inches long and run them through the perpendicular block web around the middle strut of the cut web. Note: Do not over tighten straps. Step 3: Place pre-bent 90 degree rebar going all three directions in the “T”. For further explanation of steps 2 & 3, see the graphic here. Step 4: Repeat steps 2 and 3 for all sequential rows of ICF block. Step 5: Take your pre-built lumber “L’s” or “strong backs” place these vertically on the inside 90 degree angles of the “T” fastening them to the Advantage ICF ties. Fasten every row. Step 6: Fasten a brace the same as the rest of your braces directly on the back side of the T-intersection to support the block to resist the high concrete pressure at the T-intersection. Following these steps will allow you to build a monolithic concrete wall at any T-intersections in your project. Be sure to follow all local building codes. You can learn more about Advantage ICF details on the website www.advantageicf.com Coming soon: Better footing, better results! Guest writer Wade McClelland ________________________________

Rebar in ICF Walls

Written by Colin Showalter – Follow me on Twitter @Colin_Plastifab Frequently, I get asked what do I need for Rebar in my ICF walls?  What sizes and how often? Compared to conventional foundation walls ICF’s require more rebar.  However you can have a  6”  thick concrete wall with ICF opposed to an 8” conventional foundation wall in most cases.  Therefore the extra rebar can save you 2” of concrete throughout your foundation walls. Since ICF’s incorporate more rebar  and are considered reinforced concrete walls, they will allow you to build a taller wall giving you a higher ceiling height compared to conventional concrete walls. Rebar is used to solve structural design requirements related primarily to compression, tension and shear loads.  Rebar will also control concrete shrinkage cracks. Concrete is strong under compression loads, but tensile strength is much lower.  Rebar for below grade foundation walls with backfill on the exterior face is always installed in the inside third of the wall which is the tension side of the wall. For above grade or Party Wall applications the rebar is typically placed in the middle of the wall. When you look in the Advantage ICF block you will see rebar clips on the plastic webs that space the 2 layers of EPS. For below grade ICF Walls install your horizontal rebar in clip #1 on the first row of block and #3 on the second row and alternating between #1 and #3 for all the sub sequential courses of block. Staggering the rebar from row to row creates a “weave” effect that enables the horizontal rebar to cage (another term “hold) works also)your vertical rebar in place. Vertical rebar is installed once the wall is at full height. Jobsite tips for rebar:
  • Make sure you know where on the jobsite you want the rebar unloaded.
  • Keep the rebar as clean  as possible from dirt and other contamination as this will affect  the performance
  • Have a proper rebar cutter and bender on site or arrange to have this done for you prior to having the rebar delivered  to achieve required tolerances.
  • Cut 4 foot lengths and pre-bend them for corners and T-Walls
  • Place plastic caps over the top of vertical rebar sticking out of footings or walls to prevent injury from sharp ends .
You can click the following link to find out what rebar you will need for your job. http://www.advantageicf.com/lib/technical_library.html It is critical to review all applicable building codes and ICF manufacture’s engineering, technical manuals as well as CCMC Reports to understand the proper spacing and sizing requirements of rebar. Coming Soon: How-to do a “T intersection” with the Advantage ICF system! ___________________________________________________ Cold Weather Pouring Written by Colin Showalter Follow Colin on Twitter: @Colin_PlastiFab After a 2 month hiatus to allow some compelling guest authors to participate in this blog I am back. Thanks to Corey and Greg for some interesting topics this summer. Living in Canada, another question I frequently get asked at trade shows and other places is “how cold of temperatures can I pour concrete into ICF blocks?” Concrete construction during cold weather conditions requires special consideration to ensure that the concrete achieves the desired strength prior to freezing. Conventional concrete form walls can be constructed in all seasons; however, during cold weather months special measures must be taken to prevent the concrete from freezing. The special measures may include the use of windbreaks, insulated formwork and/or heaters. These extra measures can greatly increase construction costs. Insulated Concrete Forms (ICF) offer the ability to pour concrete into your walls at temperatures colder than that of conventional concrete forms due to their high insulating properties. This ability can drastically extend your construction season, possibly allowing you to pour all year round. In Very cold weather conditions, minimal precautions may be required, especially at wall penetrations and edges. Many studies have been done on this topic and they have all concluded basically that concrete can be placed in ICF walls at temperatures much lower than that allowed for concrete walls using conventional forming systems. Unfortunately I cannot give exact temperatures because people reading this may be in different climates around the world. However, I can say that using ICF blocks instead of conventional will prevent freezing and reduce or even eliminate the need for a heated enclosure. Covering the top of these forms is essential to retain all the heat of hydration. Many building officials who are not familiar with ICF blocks may require ICF wall pours, to follow the typical cold weather concrete practices that were developed for conventional concrete forms. Cold weather concrete practices may vary between jurisdictions. Be sure to check with your local official before pouring concrete on a cold day in your area. Also check with your ready-mix concrete supplier to see what options they for concrete being poured in cold weather. For more on Advantage Insulating Concrete Forms visit http://www.advantageicf.com Coming soon: What to use for Rebar in my ICF forms? _____________________________________________________________ Check out our InsulBuck Brochure &  view some InsulBuck project photos below.

 

Insulbuck is a fully insulated window/door buck system designed to complete the energy efficient envelope of an ICF structure. Created as an alternative to wood and all vinyl buck systems, Insulbuck is:

 

— Easy to assemble — Cost effective — Maximizes potential LEED points due to maximized energy efficiency and virtually zero construction waste — Can be adapted to any size of ICF

 

Download the Brochure View some photos from a project that used InsulBuck

InsulBuck or Wood?

 

Written by guest writer Greg Doren, Advantage ICF Brand Manager Follow Greg on twitter @GregDoren Rough opening bucks in ICF construction have typically been constructed using a lumber frame to form an opening in which a window or door will be placed. The bottom portion of the buck is designed to allow concrete to be poured through it into the blocks that sit below it. In the final construction the buck also creates an attachment point for windows and door frames. “Bucks” have typically been made from Pressure Treated Wood (PTW) dimensional lumber. Commonly used in construction for many years PTW has been the product of choice for ICF construction since it is readily available and easy to use. It comes in a variety of dimensions and can be ripped down or furred out to accommodate different widths of ICF products. The attachment of the window or door to the buck is done with a common fastening screw. The drawbacks to PTW bucks are that they are heavy, have minimal R-Value (critical for LEED points), are subject to warping, rot and are a food source in termite infested areas. InsulBuck™ is a vinyl/EPS alternative to PTW bucks for building window and door bucks in ICF construction. InsulBuck consists of two exterior extrusions of vinyl, which are also used for the fastening of the windows and doors, bridged by 2 inches of high density Type 3 expanded polystyrene (EPS) insulation planking. InsulBuck is cost effective, easy to use and the continuous EPS layer around the opening eliminates the thermal break typically created by PTW bucks. The most impressive benefit with InsulBuck is that it is a ZERO waste product. With PTW the cut off pieces associated with accommodating window and door size are thrown into landfills, increasing costs as well as waste. InsulBuck extrusions and planking come in 8 foot lengths; when they are cut to length to accommodate window and door sizes the leftover pieces can be used in another buck by simply splicing them in. Short pieces of extrusion can be used with longer pieces of EPS insulation planking and vice versa. This cuts down on waste critical for the bottom line. Other key components to assemble InsulBucks are “F” Clips and “InsulPlates”. The “F” clips hold the corners together where the EPS planks meet. The InsulPlates are metal inserts used on doors and larger windows. These inserts go through the EPS planks near the exterior or interior and are anchored into the concrete before it is placed. The doors are fastened to the plates to allow for the pressures and movement associated with opening and closing the door. Ripped down plywood is used to help brace PTW bucks around the perimeter to keep them square and prevent concrete from leaking out. InsulBuck extrusions are designed so they are attached to the ICF Block so which this does not allow the buck to move. An extruded lip on the InsulBuck allows bonding between the concrete and buck, whereas PTW bucks need to be “porcupined” with nails around the outside middle of the buck. Both PTW and InsulBuck require cross and angle bracing to keep them square and to keep them from bulging when concrete is placed, especially larger openings. InsulBuck is an vinyl/EPS buck for an ICF project, it maintains the energy efficiency that an ICF wall is intended to provide, which is simply something that PTW cannot accomplish. InsulBuck is economical and an effective approach to creating block-outs in ICF walls and will enhance any ICF project. Download the InsulBuck Brochure for more information and photos! _______________________________________________________________________________________ Written By: Corey Bourne, guest writer What do you do when you don’t want to use conventional ledger angle methods when using ICF’s? EASY… use an Advantage ICF Brick Ledge Block! Advantage ICF brick ledge blocks are unique in that they are the only ICF brick ledge blocks designed as a corbel to provide a continuous 4” wide reinforced concrete ledge to support exterior brick/masonry finishes, floor systems & decks, read on. When you use the Advantage ICF Brick Ledge the rebar is totally encapsulated in the concrete and there is no chance of oxidation where EPS voids are present. No EPS insulation voids also means less waste when corners are mitered. In some cases, the Advantage ICF brick ledge block can also be reversed to support interior floor, roof systems and slab support. These specially molded blocks are placed at the specified wall height or heights to create a monolithic concrete supporting ledge. Once the proper stirrups/ rebar are placed and the blocks are braced and you are ready to place concrete. ICF Brick ledge blocks are commonly used to support brick and stone exterior finishes. They can also be used to support hollow core precast concrete panels for suspended garage floors and commercial buildings. An increasing number of trained contractors are using these blocks to support floor systems. Using a brick ledge block instead of supporting the floor system on top of ICF walls with an exterior rim board will greatly increase the effective R-value of the wall system. Typically brick ledge blocks are at the top of the wall section that you are pouring but they can be capped off with dimensional lumber if you wish to continue higher and pour all at once. Special consideration must be taken when pouring walls above the Brick ledge block elevation to ensure concrete doesn’t overflow the 4” gap at the brick ledge block elevation that creates the support. Here is How to finish the Advantage ICF brick ledge blocks. The use of top cord bearing trusses incorporated into the design will “hide” the corbel detail in the webbing space. Some contractors and home owners will build a bulkhead or drop ceiling to run utilities under the corbel or they attach drywall matching the profile to create a unique detail similar to a crown molding. Advantage ICF brick ledge blocks are rapidly becoming the ledger system of choice. For more information on Brick Ledge, visit http://www.advantageicf.com Coming soon: InsulBuck vs. Wood, for window and door bucks written by guest a uthor Greg Doren.

11 Comments on “Advantage ICF System

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  5. My fiancé and I are just starting to have a home built. We are going to have the ICF walls for basement. My question is….. The contractor poured our footers couple weeks ago. He didn’t put rebar in footers. The contactor said wasn’t necessary. So when placing the ICF walls on the footers, will they eventually shift since nothing really locking them together…. Just concrete against concrete.

    • We definitely recommend you check with the local code officials. Typically rebar is required every 2 feet, sticking out 2 feet. You can hilti, & epoxy them in with a hammer drill. There should be a key way in the footer as well. This is where we require rebar as do most ICFs in the footer.

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