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Weather Every Storm with Insulated Concrete Form Walls

Posted: August 2, 2017 | Project Management

By Keven Rector

With all the different storms Mother Nature has thrown at the planet in the last few years, now is the time to think about taking precautionary steps toward the utmost security of your next build in the event of extreme weather.

Recent survey findings show that most building owners are worried about the ability to cope with the damage caused by severe wind, fire, and flooding. Safety is often the main preoccupation, but so are the costs associated with destruction and loss. It’s bad enough that families have to deal with the emotions of natural disaster damage; they shouldn’t have to worry about rebuilding or replacing their home after a weather-related catastrophe.

One method of building that solves many of these issues is to use the strongest impact-resilient building available – insulated concrete forms (ICFs). ICFs are an advanced departure from traditional wood framing, and can be markedly more efficient than wood-framed construction in both energy efficiency and construction time. At the construction site, compact insulated concrete forms snap and lock together (much like Lego bricks) and are filled with concrete to build a rock-solid insulated envelope that is 10 to 30 centimeters thick, offering superior sound insulation and mass to weather any storm.

In addition, this construction innovation gives building owners far more for their investment, such as:

Walls to weather any storm

If high winds and fire are a concern for your building, data shows that an ICF building delivers hurricane- and tornado-impact-resistance up 250 miles per hour, with a fire protection rating up to four hours.

Lower energy bills

With growing energy costs, designing and constructing an insulated concrete form building offers you a structure that is more energy efficient, offers your customers more safety from inclement weather, and saves significant amounts of money on a yearly basis.

NUDURA insulated concrete form walls vastly reduce air infiltration (often found in conventional stick-framed buildings), which greatly optimizes energy performance. This saving is even more pronounced if builders use the most advanced ICFs available.

NUDURA’s design, for instance, combines two panels of thick EPS foam with the structural strength and thermal mass of concrete. The Insulating Concrete Forms Manufacturers Association (ICFMA), of which NUDURA is a member, recently enlisted CLEB (Building Envelope Laboratory and Consulting) Laboratories to conduct testing on an ICF wall versus a traditional wood-frame wall. The test proved that an ICF wall has a 58 percent greater R-Value/RSI, resulting in up to 60 percent energy savings.*

Temperature consistency

Cold outside air can easily travel through wood-framed walls. This causes thermal bridging, which leads to drafts and chilly spots inside the building. Walls with a solid concrete core prevent thermal bridging, so even temperatures result throughout the building. When building with ICFs you get all the advantages of concrete, but with the added bonus of insulation on both sides of your wall – all in one building step. There’s no extra labor involved to insulate!

Better, breathable air

Mold, mildew, and toxins associated with wood structures are diminished. ICFs have stable, permanent, efficient performance and won’t decompose, decay, rot or grow mold – making them the perfect wall system for any building.

Shut out the noise

Solid concrete is an effective sound barrier. It dampens sound vibrations from outside noise, such as traffic and trains. This internal peace and quiet is a welcome bonus.

Rock solid asset

It is generally expected that a stronger, safer, storm resistant, greener building – and one that is cost efficient with less maintenance and repair – will steadily increase in resale value. An ICF building is built to last, and retains its value longer than wood-framed buildings. The main structural element in an ICF building is reinforced concrete. When compared to wood structures, ICF offers substantially better durability and requires less maintenance and repair over its lifetime.

NUDURA insulated concrete forms can help you save up to 60% in energy savings, create a draft-free, mold- and mildew-resistant building and, most importantly, a building that will help you weather every storm within its concrete walls.

* The CLEB report can be found on icf-ma.org/thermalstudy for more information.

About the author:

Keven Rector is technical services manager at NUDURA Inc., North America’s leading provider of insulated concrete forms. For more information about NUDURA and its range of ICF solutions, visit www.NUDURA.com

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