ICF stands for Insulated Concrete Form, otherwise known as insulated concrete walls.

About  ICF

Today, home buyers expect more value and efficiency from their new home. They want beauty that's more than skin deep. A home that fits their lifestyle - of course but also a home with solid, high quality constructions, greater comfort and security. Lower energy bills. Lower maintenance. A home that's healthier to live in, and easier on the environment.


It's becoming harder and harder to meet their new expectations with the same old building technology - wood framing. So more and more builders and home buyers are turning to something new. A modern adaptation of a centuries-old technology using the most proven building material on earth. Concrete.


Insulating Concrete Forms (ICFs) give you all the benefits that have made concrete the material of choice for home building worldwide: Solid, lasting construction that resists the ravages of fire, wind, and Father Time. But ICFs do plain concrete one better - or rather, two better - by giving you two built-in layers of insulation.


This gives an ICF home some sizable advantages over a traditionaly framed home. Greater energy efficiency. More peace & quiet. More sheer day-to-day living comfort. All wrapped up in a solid, high-quality building package. You can feel that it's solid, built to last.


Where should I order my Insulated Concrete Forms? www.AustinBuildBlock.com

ICF Walls Don't Burn!

Fire Resistance of Concrete Homes

Of all construction materials, concrete is one of the most fire resistant material available which means it makes for a great fire barrier. The superior fire resistance of concrete walls gives buildings built with insulating concrete forms distinct safety advantages. And those advantages give builders and buyers yet another reason to consider using ICFs for their next project.

ICFs Stand Up Against Fire

Unlike wood, concrete is a fire resistant material and does not burn. Unlike steel, it does not soften and bend. Concrete does not burn until it is exposed to thousands of degrees Fahrenheit — far more than is present in the typical house fire.
This has been confirmed in so-called “fire-wall” tests. In these tests, ICF walls were subjected to continuous gas flames and temperatures of up to 2000°F for as long as four hours. None of the ICF walls ever failed structurally. All of the ICFs tested were of the “flat” or “uninterrupted grid” type, having no significant breaks in the concrete layer [like BuildBlock ICFs]. In contrast, wood frame walls typically collapse in an hour or less.

Proven to Stop the Spread

Concrete walls have also proven more resistant to allowing any fire to pass through at any point. This is especially important for buildings located in areas with brush fires that could spread indoors.
The firewall test confirms this rule for ICFs once again. Part of the test measured how well the wall slows the passage of heat and fire. The ICF walls tested did not allow flames to pass directly through. They also did not allow enough heat through to start a fire on the cool side for 2-4 hours. In contrast, wood frame walls typically allow both flame and fire-starting heat through in an hour or less.

Flame Retardant Material

The foams in ICFs are manufactured with flame-retardant additives to prevent the foams from burning by themselves. If you hold a match to the material, it will melt away.
Of course, in a house fire, the foam may be subjected to constant flame from other materials burning nearby (wooden floors, fabrics, etc.). The “Steiner Tunnel Test” measures how much a material carries fire from an outside source. In the test, technicians line a tunnel with the material, run a fire at one end, then measure how far the flame spreads. The flames only traveled about one-fifth of the distance of a tunnel lined with ICF foams, whereas they spread down a tunnel lined with wood.

Free of Harmful Chemical Fumes

Practically any organic material, be it wood or plastic, gives off emissions when it is subjected to intense heat or flame. The Southwest Research Institute reviewed the numerous existing studies of fire emissions and concluded that the emissions from polystyrene foams are “no more toxic” than those of wood.

Home Builders Association of Austin Member


ICFs deliver 4-hour fire resistance to protect your home

from danger and delivering peace of mind.

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