What is ICF?

The Benefits of ICF

Health factors of ICF

Financial Considerations of ICF

ICF, Energuide, and the new Building Code

Advantages of LOGIX ICF





What is ICF



Also known, affectionately, as giant Lego, ICF (insulated concrete forms) is a construction system whereby lightweight foam blocks, made of expanded polystyrene (EPS), are ‘stacked’ together to make up the desired wall shapes, which are then filled with concrete. The EPS (foam) acts as your insulation, making ICF blocks stay-in-place forming system, which complete 5 steps of the construction process in 1.


What makes an ICF block?

Manufactured using a single form process, each ICF block consists of two EPS panels, held together by a series of specially engineered plastic web connectors.


How it’s assembled

ICF wall systems are assembled by placing blocks on top of others according to the manufacturer’s specifications. As a wall system is assembled, other aspects of constructing a wall correctly include steel reinforcement inside of the wall as specified in the building code/manufacturer’s engineering guide, window/door openings that need to be formed so concrete does not spill thru, penetrations that need to be kept void of concrete for any services needing to pass thru the wall. As the wall is erected, an 3-in-1 systems is connected to the exterior of the wall to acts as the bracing, alignment and scaffolding system.



Completed system:

Once completed, an ICF structure is a monolithic wall that takes advantage of a concept known as thermal mass. Insulated and ready for drywall inside (and exterior

finish outside), an ICF wall provides greater energy savings, greater safety for its occupants, and by far a more comfortable and healthier living experience.


As a finished wall system, the homeowner experiences the greatest benefits.


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Benefits of ICF


Energy Savings

Do you enjoy paying expensive utilities bills? Or does reducing your energy bill by as much as 50% sound more interesting? ICF construction will reduce your

energy bills in multiple ways. Heating costs are the greatest area of savings in our region, but cooling costs are also minimized and other savings opportunities

are also available.


ICF blocks alone account for R-value of 24, already greater than typical construction. But the ‘magic’ really happens once the concrete is in the forms.

Concrete acts as a thermal mass, which means that the transfer of heat is slowed significantly, reducing heat loss during winter and penetration during

summer. Also, the combination of two layers of foam and the solid mass of concrete eliminate approximately half the air leakage (infiltration) compared to

a wood-framed home, which is one of the greatest causes of temperature fluctuations leading to increased energy bills.


Healthier Living

A home built using ICF coupled with a proper air exchange system will offer the most clean indoor environment available. Conventionally but houses

typically have an indoor environment 20% more polluted than outside. One of the culprits is building materials, many of which contain or are treated with

volatile compounds from manufacture process or for preservation. These compounds infiltrate the indoor air (a process known as off-gassing) and work

their way into your lungs. Another concern is wood’s susceptibility to mould or rotting, which can further pollute indoor air.


Concrete is a practically inert, organic material, meaning it promotes a much healthier indoor environment for you and your family. Concrete is naturally

waterproof and fire-resistant, so it does not need to be treated with any chemicals that may otherwise contaminate indoor air and can be easily cleaned

with organic, non-toxic cleaners.



Concrete is naturally fire-resistant. LOGIX ICF blocks are treated with a fire-retardant to provide a 3 hour fire rating on the 6” ICF wall. The self-ignition

temperature of LOGIX ICF blocks is 800◦ F (430◦C), meaning it won’t burn until long after you have left the building.

Stronger walls - ICF walls are, as the saying goes, bullet proof. ICF forms provide the best curing environment for concrete walls, resulting in a concrete

wall about double the compressive strength of conventionally poured walls. Add to this a healthy supplement of steel reinforcing bars, and a homeowner

is left with the peace of mind that their wall will withstand up to 150 mph winds. LOGIX ICF are up to 25% stronger than other concrete walls, and up to

four time stronger than wood.



Energy savings, longevity and use of recycled materials help to make ICF construction a more environmentally friendly choice. Also, the amount of land

used to extract the materials required to make concrete is only a fraction of the vast areas of land required to harvest forests for lumber.


Recycled materials – LOGIX ICF blocks are, by weight, 47% recycled materials, and are listed as a ‘Green Building Product’. Thanks to this, LOGIX ICF

contributes in numerous categories within the LEED Rating system for both commercial and residential. Furthermore, concrete also uses recycled materials

for energy sources during production, and crushed concrete can be recycled as aggregate into new concrete.


Longevity - Since wood rots and decays, and is extremely susceptible to natural disasters, it is central to a wasteful construction cycle of frequent disposal

and replacement. Concrete, on the other hand, requires little or no maintenance and stands up to nature’s fury and fires. Furthermore, it doesn’t rust or

rot. Concrete's sheer durability overdecades of use goes a long way towards waste reduction. A study published by the Portland Cement Association show

that over the life span of a house, ICF has a reduced CO2 burden vs. wood-frame construction, by 220,460 lbs.


Energy Savings – Click here for information about Energy Savings from ICF construction.



Greater Comfort

Be careful to have guests over for any extended period of time, they may come to envy the comfort of your ICF home. The most common regret we

get in feedback from owners of a ICF home is that they didn’t build to the roof with ICF.


ICF construction provides a monolithic building envelope, and thereby reduces air leakage to about half of a conventionally built house, virtually eliminating

cold drafts and minimizing temperature fluctuations. Constantly adjusting the thermostat to feel comfortable will be a thing of the past.


Noise reduction – another of the great comforts is not being inundated with exterior noise. Looking out your windows will be like watching silent movies

of the outside world. With a attenuation rating of STC 50+, your ICF home has the necessary sound reducing qualities to reduce outside noises to a

whisper and let you enjoy your home with a quiet comfort we all look for in a home.


Build Anytime

Build any season, regardless of temperature. ICF construction is not hampered by the same limitations or special needs of conventional concrete forming, the

more common type of foundation for conventional building. After any concrete wall is poured there is a curing process that needs to occur. Without adequate

curing conditions this does not happen, and the wall weakens and is prone to cracking and even shifting. One of the most common complaints in new homes is

leaky basements due to cracked foundation walls. With ICF construction, concrete is protected by the very forms that create its shape, which means that the

curing process will complete as required. In fact, because of its optimum curing environment, an ICF wall cures to be stronger than a conventional wall. Rest

assured that your ICF wall will not leak, or crack regardless of what season you build in.


Design Versatile

Any design possible with conventional construction is possible with ICF construction. ICF are forms made of foam and plastic, both easily manipulated. If you

have a concern that you design may not be possible to build with ICF, contact us to find out how we can make it happen with ICF.


Zero maintenance

Unlike wood which suffers the elements leading to rot, decay, and mould or termite infestation, concrete doesn’t rot or corrode, and the reinforcing steel is

protected from corrosion by the concrete that surrounds it. The foam from which the ICF is made also does not rot or decay. This makes for a durable

combination which will require virtually zero maintenance.


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Health Factors of ICF


Often, people express concerns about the health implications with ICF. So let’s review...


It has been proven that ICF construction is the most hypo-allergenic available. In fact, one case personally relayed to us was of a person on the east coast with 20th Century Disease, a condition attributed to hypersensitivity to the environment caused by an overload of assaults by artificial materials in their environment. This person found refuge in a home built using LOGIX ICF.


Unlike many of the materials used in construction, Insulated Concrete Forms and concrete are practically inert compounds, meaning they do not off-gas. Concrete is made up of natural minerals, and recycled materials, including crushed concrete, none of which change its inert nature.


ICF blocks are not Styrofoam, a common misconception. LOGIX blocks are, in fact, made of expanded polystyrene, similar to Styrofoam. An important difference is that when LOGIX blocks are made, no CFCs of HCFCs are used in the forming process. The fire-retardant that is incorporated into the blocks will off-gas slightly in the factory. However, this process is finished before the blocks leave the factory, and long before a home-owner ever takes occupancy of their new ICF home.


Furthermore, as ICF construction does not rot, decay, or suffer any of the other susceptibilities of wood, the home-owner can enjoy their home assured they will not have to deal with the unpleasant realities of wood-frame construction such as mould and mildew. Designed properly, an ICF home will naturally be cleaner and healthier. Dusting can even be a less frequent activity in an ICF home.



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Financial Considerations of ICF

Although the price of a LOGIX home is usually slightly higher than that of a traditional wood-framed home, the actual overall cost is often lower when energy savings are considered.


This chart illustrates the difference between "Price" and "Cost", using general comparative estimates:



If we now update this study, with increased energy costs and increased materials costs that ICF has not suffered as much, we start to see long-term savings when

choosing ICF.


Further consideration needs to be given to the impending building code revisions due in the short future which will increase insulation and building envelope

requirements in efforts towards reducing the environmental footprints which will add more costs to building a house, unless you have already chosen to build with

ICF. For more information about the new building code, click here.


Interested in investigating further the costs as they will relate to your planned project? Click here to be directed to our contact page.


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ICF, EnergyStar/EnerGuide 80, and the new Building Code


In recent years a trend towards building with greater environmental responsibility has become clearly visible. Energy Star and EnerGuide for homes have become more prevalent and requirements in favour of higher building standards have become a reality.


One of the earlier programs was called R2000 and since then many other initiatives and programs have been established in efforts to update old build ings and build better new buildings. However, the integral part of constructing homes has not been required to change, which still leaves wood-framed homes susceptible to risks involved with this old-fashioned type of construction.


There is only one way to ensure a tight building envelope that will virtually eliminate the risk of rot, decay and mould. Building with ICF will provide a home with the

tightest possible building envelope, creating a quiet, comfortable, and healthy living environment free of basement leaks, risks of wood rot/decay, and poor temperature



On December 31, 2011 another building code change will take effect. By then new housing will have to meet the new ENERGY STAR/ENERGUIDE 80 standard, a new

and improved energy standard that will help “green” home building to even more save energy and further lower greenhouse gases. An ENERGY STAR/ENERGUIDE 80

qualified home is projected to keep 4500 lbs of greenhouse gases out of the air each year. As ICF buildings have such a long life span, this environmental benefit will

last for many, many years to come.


Air tightness of a building is one of the most effective ways to meet the new ENERGUIDE 80 standard. A CMHC study concluded ICF buildings to be extremely airtight,

contributing to significant savings. Although other elements such as energy efficient appliances, windows, water heaters, and HVAC systems are additional ways to

making a house more energy efficient, the building envelope has been proven the greatest influence on how efficient a house is, or not. The structure (building

envelope) is typically also the largest part of a home-owner’s investment, and once the structure is built, there’s no turning back. Buyer’s remorse for someone who

did not choose to build with ICF is an awful thing. About half the air-leakage, virtually no thermal bridging and a far greater performance R-value of R-50 make a

significant contribution to meeting the new EnerGuide 80 building standards. Why wait? ICF buildings use fewer natural resources, consume less energy, and produce

less green house gasses.


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Advantages of LOGIX ICF


Today there are many insulated concrete form manufacturers out there. So why do knowledgeable ICF builders everywhere suggest LOGIX to their clients? The answer lies in the superior design and performance of LOGIX. Backed by our network of local stocking distributors, their talented regional support teams and their 6 manufacturing facilities, LOGIX is the one for quality, value and outstanding customer service.


Only LOGIX offers a choice of web type, foam type, cavity thickness and panel thickness. With LOGIX, designers have more freedom to create.


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