Classic Structures, Inc. specializes in custom construction of homes and additions using Insulating Concrete Forms (ICF) because this type of construction is tailor made for homes in Central Florida. Insulating concrete forms are hollow foam blocks which are stacked into the shape of the walls of a building, reinforced with steel rebar, and then filled with concrete. ICF combines one of the finest insulating materials, Expanded Polystyrene (EPS), with one of the strongest structural building materials, steel reinforced concrete. The result is a wall system of unmatched comfort, energy efficiency, strength and noise reduction.
ICF build homes have the following benefits:
Increased Strength – Recent laboratory testing at the Wind Engineering Research Center, Texas Tech University, showed that ICF walls will withstand wind speeds of up to 200 MPH without collapsing. In addition ICF walls prevented the penetration of flying debris traveling at speeds up to 100 MPH (debris speeds generated by a tornado force wind of 250 MPH.)
Improved Insulation – Houses built with ICF exterior walls have an insulation value of R40 Plus and require an estimated 44%less energy to heat and up to 50% less energy to cool than comparable frame houses.
ICF walls do more than cut down on the biggest types of energy loss. The concrete gives them the heat-absorbing property, “thermal mass”. This is the ability to smooth out large swings in temperature. It keeps the walls of the house a little warmer when the outdoor temperature hits its coldest, and keeps the house a little cooler when the outdoor temperature is hottest. The walls themselves “add back” heat or cooling to the house when it needs them most.
Greater Fire Rating – ICF walls have a fire rating of 3 hours. Experience shows that concrete structures are more likely to remain standing through fire than are structures of other materials. Unlike wood, concrete does not burn. Unlike steel, it does not soften and bend. Concrete does not break down until it is exposed to thousands of degrees Fahrenheit—far more than is present in the typical house fire. Concrete walls have also proven more resistant to allowing fire to pass from one side of the wall to the other. This is especially of interest in areas with brush fires that could spread indoors.
Green Building and Energy Star Approved – ICF built homes are environmentally friendly.
Reduced Sound Transmission – Compared to a typical wood frame wall, only about one-quarter to one-eighth as much sound penetrates through an ICF wall. Scientists would describe loud speech on the opposite side of a frame wall as “audible, but not intelligible.” On the opposite side of an ICF wall, a listener would “strain to hear” loud speech. It would be virtually “inaudible.”