Build with ICFs in Cold Climates
Using insulated concrete forms for walls and/or foundations can help builders extend their building season, and deliver energy-efficient buildings as well.
After any concrete is placed, the concrete undergoes a curing process. When it's too cold, the concrete won't cure properly, and is prone to cracking and shifting.
According to the Portland Cement Association, concrete typically must be kept above 40° F for 24 hours to properly cure. If the concrete can achieve compressive strength of at least 500 psi before freezing, the design strength will not be affected.
Concrete can be poured in ICFs when the ambient temperature is as low as -5° F (-15° Celsius), requiring only the top of the form to be protected with insulating blankets.
Even when it may be too cold to place concrete into conventional form basement walls, a builder can still pour into insulated concrete forms. Insulating forms protect concrete from freezing or rapid drying. The concrete is protected by the forms that create its shape, allowing the curing process to be completed.
The integrity of the continuous foam wall system eliminates the chance of leaky basements due to cracked foundation walls.
In extremely hot weather, which causes a concern from rapid evaporation, the only precaution is covering the top of the form with plastic sheeting.
ICF foundations can be built in any season, regardless of temperature, allowing builders to stay on schedule and extend their outdoor working season.
This blog was developed by Fox Blocks. All posts, sponsored and un-sponsored have been reviewed and approved by the Sustainable Community Media Editorial Team to ensure quality, relevance/usefulness and objectivity.
Companies: Fox Blocks
David Morris A Detroit native, David T. Morris, LEED® Green Associate, used his drive for entrepreneurship, innovation & new product development to develop a patented product and later took a new building product to market. In 2012, he became U.S. East Regional Manager with Fox Blocks, a division of Airlite Plastics Company, managing ICF sales in seven states. Since 2006, David has delivered more than 140 IFA/ICF training seminars to contractors, plus another 120 presentations to architects and engineers. He is a featured speaker and SME on High-Performance Buildings, and his efforts have resulted in environmentally friendly construction being specified for residential, commercial, and institutional buildings throughout the country.