Understanding Insulating Concrete Formwork – What is ICF?

The three-letter abbreviation ICF is getting more and more talked about. But not everyone is aware of ICF and what exactly is it. This article will be dedicated to uncover the facts behind this abbreviation and to give our readers a better understanding of one of the top technological solutions in the field of construction. Without further ado, let’s get started!

ICF – the basics

ICF means Insulating Concrete Formwork. It’s a solution and also technology which is comprised of specific sheets or blocks. These blocks are made from foam of polystyrene. Their primary use is for construction of foundations and walls in buildings. You can find ICF construction solutions in a significant part of modern buildings all across Europe.

The primary reasons why polystyrene foam is used – thermal insulation and cost effectiveness. Because it has amazingly high thermal resistance and is quite durable, yet light, polystyrene can be used in construction because it is able to withstand immense crushing and shock forces. On the other hand, polystyrene is super cheap and also – neutral for the environment. By being self-decaying, it doesn’t harm the environment.

Use of ICF

As we mentioned, the design of ICF technology is employed by the construction industry. These hollow polystyrene foam blocks are utilized when a wall is being erected or a foundation is being constructed. Once in place, these hollow blocks are filled up with concrete, to form a solid structure.

Knowledgeable contractors and builders will place these blocks on top of one another. When together, these blocks can contain warmth within and not let cold air inside. Polystyrene is also known for having antibacterial qualities which are great in areas with more moisture in the air. They’re also held in high regard because of resistance to UV sunlight as well as other environmental factors which usually hamper the integrity of other construction elements.

Pros of using Insulating Concrete Framework

Besides the low cost of polystyrene and the great insulating properties, there are also other pros and benefits of utilizing ICF technology. The individual ICF blocks connect with one another. When they do that, a unified, and strong durable unified construction is formed. Usually, and with current technology, buildings up to 25 meters high can be erected using ICF.

Why homeowners, developers and contractors mutually appreciate ICF is yet another benefit – quick construction. Up to 1 square meter of wall can be assembled in under 20 minutes which is supremely quick, even for modern standards. Besides, the risk of errors and mistakes are minimal whilst there is huge areas for experimentation and formation of unique angles, shapes and forms of structures.