Insulated Concrete Forms (ICFs)

An energy efficient home starts with an insulated foundation – whether that foundation is a slab or complete lower-level living space with walls, windows, and doors. Curved or straight, ICFs can form nearly any foundation or wall!

Underground concrete foundations and walls are susceptible to both heat and moisture transfer. And who wants to live with cold, damp floors or walls? FOX Blocks insulated concrete forms (ICFs) provide a great solution.

ICFs Create Thermal Break

ICFs are lightweight, rigid-foam insulating blocks that create a stay-in-place form for steel-reinforced concrete walls and foundations. They create a thermal break between your living space and the heat or cold outside.

The easiest way to understand a thermal break is to hold two Styrofoam cups: one of hot water, and one of iced water. You can hold both cups comfortably because that thin layer of Styrofoam is a great insulator – it creates a good thermal break between the liquids and your skin. Try to do the same experiment with metal cups. Metal offers no thermal break – you’ll feel the temperature of the liquids just as though there was no barrier there.

A typical 6-inch ICF wall assembly provides an R-value of 22, and thicker walls will provide even more. The amount your new home will need depends on the climate zone you build in. And as far as strength and stability properly reinforced ICF walls can withstand hurricanes, earthquakes, and tornados. We highly recommend them for FEMA-approved safe rooms.

Waterproofing and Insect Protection

ICF manufacturers recommend specific waterproofing techniques and products to be applied to the outside of the blocks to assure foundations stay dry and free of insects.

Stitt Energy Systems uses a borate-based pesticide, to prevent termites, ants, and beetles from damaging the foundation. This product is accepted by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development as a primary tool against termites in new home construction, and it's listed as a suitable alternative to soil treatments by the International Building Codes.

Sound Suppression

ICFs are a good choice for sound suppression in your home. They suppress both internal and external sounds from sources like:

- A recording studio or music room
- Teenagers
- A theater-quality surround-sound system
- A nearby highway or sports stadium. 

Other soundproofing materials can be added later, but ICFs are, in most cases, a more cost-effective option when you're serious about controlling sound.