Advantage ICF System®
Advantage Insulating Concrete Forms can be used in large and small residential projects as a solution to your wall assembly needs. 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 is the fastest growing construction method for both full home and renovated residential construction.
The Advantage ICF System is a patented insulating concrete forming system consisting of two layers of expanded polystyrene (EPS) insulation connected with web connectors molded into the EPS insulation. The top and bottom edges of Advantage ICF System blocks have pre-formed interlocking mechanisms which ensure web connectors align vertically for attachment of surface finish materials.
Constructing quality structures that are durable and sustainable, with more emphasis on energy efficiency, is a priority. Additionally resilient construction has also been identified as an important factor in building construction practices, integrating entire building envelopes into a cohesive system. Concrete is the most used construction material in the world and is increasingly used to achieve more sustainable buildings.
This ultimately is moving today’s industry toward more sustainable structures that are longer-lasting and resilient enough to reduce rebuilding, thereby reducing energy consumption.
Insulated concrete forms have many benefits in terms of sustainability, including:
- High R-values are readily achieved, with less potential for installation problems
- Excellent thermal performance due to very low infiltration rates
- Extreme durability of both the insulation and structural components
- ICFs are very lightweight, reducing fatigue of installation crew
- Will not rot or rust
- Versatility: ICF homes can be designed in any style, and will accept any traditional exterior finish including vinyl, wood siding, stucco, and brick
- Peace and quiet: in sound transmission tests, ICF walls allowed less than one-third as much sound to pass through over ordinary frame walls filled with fiberglass insulation
- Greater comfort and lower energy bills: a combination of high R-values, low air infiltration, and high thermal mass accounts for the 25 to 50% energy savings of ICFs versus traditional wood or steel-framed homes
METHODS, IMPACTS, AND OPPORTUNITIES IN THE CONCRETE BUILDING LIFE CYCLE
The Concrete Sustainability Hub Division of MIT conducted research on the building life cycle of Insulated Concrete form construction as compared to other types of construction.
Life cycle assessment (LCA) offers a comprehensive approach to evaluating and improving the environmental impacts of buildings. This research explores and advances three key areas relevant to the field of buildings LCA: methodology, benchmarking, and impact reduction opportunities. First, a general LCA methodology is put forth that describes the concepts necessary to develop and conduct a comprehensive LCA for buildings. Second, the methodology is applied to a range of buildings in order to benchmark the current emissions of concrete buildings and compare them to other construction materials. Finally, opportunities for emission reductions are identified and quantified using the LCA models.
This research was carried out as part of the Concrete Sustainability Hub at MIT, which is supported by the Portland Cement Association (PCA) and the Ready Mixed Concrete (RMC) Research and Education Foundation.
For more information on the sustainability initiatives and our Advantage ICF System, visit www.pfbsustainability.com
PIB 204 - Advantage ICF System - Frequently Asked Questions
PIB 206 - Measures to Control Pest Infestation
PIB 209 - Air and Vapour Barrier Requirements per Canadian Code
PIB 211 - NBC 2010 Firewall and Fire Separation Requirements
PIB 217 - Advantage ICF System - Minimum Solid Wall Length
PIB 221 - Party Wall Sound Transmission Requirements per NBC 2010
Design Manual - Advantage ICF Brochure
Design Manual - Advantage ICF System Technical Manual
Design Manual - Advantage ICF System Installation Manual
Design Manual - Advantage ICF System Installation Detail Book
The effective R-Value of a wall formed with the Advantage ICF System is approximately R-23.
Yes. A growing part of our business is above grade or whole building applications where building owners have recognized the advantages of energy efficient construction for their whole building.
Concrete with a 100 -150 mm (4" - 6") slump to provide a minimum 20 MPa (2900 psi) concrete strength reinforced as per design requirements.
Installation of the Advantage ICF System should occur under the direct supervision of either: 1) An experienced ICF installer (complete with references), 2) A journeyman carpenter (complete with a valid carpenter’s ticket) 3) A trained professional in the concrete industry (complete with references) 4) An Advantage ICF System trained installer. Contractors with knowledge in framing and concrete applications are the preferred installers. Building construction experience is a prerequisite.
The Advantage ICF System incorporates EPS insulation, a rigid foam plastic insulation that contains only air within its cellular structure. EPS insulation is inert to a wide range of chemicals and does not contain any CFC’s or HCFC’s.
EPS insulation has been manufactured and processed for decades. The product is made with the same EPS foam as coffee cups. So no, it is not harmful.
Typically, the Advantage ICF System can be cut to provide any shape as long as the structural supports for any projections or bays are designed accordingly.
Plasti-Fab maintains an inventory of Advantage ICF System block. However, in order to ensure prompt delivery to your location we recommend you allow a minimum of 2 weeks notice for delivery in your construction schedule to ensure prompt delivery. If you will be building during the busy summer construction season, additional time should be allowed.
EPS insulation does not provide any nutrient value for insects or animals. However, some kinds of insects and rodents also appreciate the thermal insulation provided by EPS insulation for their nesting places. An effective way to prevent burrowing insects or rodents from penetrating into the foam is to coat vulnerable surfaces with a parging from the top of the foundation wall above grade to 200 to 300 mm (6"-12") below finish grade.
Many types of damp proofing products are suitable for use with the Advantage from traditional spray ones (cut-back asphalt) to the various types of wraps. We recommend the dimpled type of membranes as they provide both damp proofing and drainage. Ask for our technical bulletin on damp proofing and waterproofing for additional information.
Conventional stuccos are applied by attaching wire straight to our ties with pan-head screws. Acrylic stucco manufacturers may require only typical foam preparation and then application directly onto the surface with no stucco wire.
Horizontal joints: strapping between the Advantage web connectors using metal banding may be required if siding joints line up with the Advantage ICF block joints. 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.
Standard electrical boxes which are 76 mm (3") deep can be cut into the EPS insulation panels leaving 10 mm (3/8”) extended beyond the face of EPS panels to accommodate the interior 13 mm (½”) thick gypsum board. Grooving for wires can be done with electrical chain saws.
The Advantage ICF System is typically used for construction of exterior walls of a building. Plumbing is rarely placed in exterior walls, however, if necessary this is done by grooving out the foam as required.
Floors can be set on top of the concrete walls, cast in joist or hung off a ledger. The Advantage ICF System installation manual provides typical connection details. However, other structural details may be accommodated. Window Bucks Window and door openings are easily incorporated into the Advantage System.
A door or window can easily be incorporated with the Advantage ICF System leaving architecturally pleasing deep wall thicknesses, window seats, ledges, etc.
The Advantage ICF System is competitively priced with stick framed buildings, however, reduced energy use, lower insurance, lower maintenance costs and enhanced resale price may provide additional long-term construction/ownership values.
Advantage ICF System is sold through building supply dealers and will deliver to job sites (haul rates may apply).
We have trained installation experts available for on-site assistance or you can contact one of our Advantage Product Experts. Contact us Today.
The Advantage ICF System can be used to form 152 mm or 203 mm (6" or 8”) thick reinforced concrete walls. Maximum wall heights will depend upon specific requirements of your application such as backfill height and type of soil conditions for below grade walls or wind loads for above grade walls. Consult your Advantage ICF System representative for wall heights that may require specific engineering design input.