Why build a basement wall with insulated concrete form (ICF) blocks?
Building a basement with ICF walls, provides durability, integrity, and insulation for a below-grade wall. ICF on the exterior of the basement walls minimizes thermal bridging and reduces heat loss through the foundation. In fact, according to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), basement walls constructed with ICF reduce energy use by between 20 and 50 percent.
The thermal mass and moisture resistance of ICF also creates a comfortable and healthy indoor environmental quality. In addition, ICF is resistant to many natural disasters, including fire. Of tremendous benefit to builders, is ICF basements which are simple and fast to construct, which saves both time and money.
Ten Benefits of Building Your Basement with ICF Blocks
1. Climate Comfort of ICF
The insulation qualities of ICF basement walls keep a home cool in the summer and warm in the winter. Insulated concrete forms have high thermal mass, provide a continuous air barrier2, and have a high R-value3 that keep a basement comfortable and cozy.
2. Moisture Resistance of ICF
With a basement waterproofing membrane and a reliable drainage system, ICF basement walls significantly reduce the possibility of moisture intrusion. Moisture control is crucial for basements because of the potential of mold and rot. Mold is an issue because it produces irritants and allergens. Touching or inhaling mold or mold spores can cause allergic reactions in some people.
3. Financial Savings of ICF
ICF basement walls dramatically reduce energy use, which saves homeowners money.
4. Disaster Resistance of ICF
ICF basement walls have the structural integrity to protect the home and occupants from tornadoes, hurricanes, and other extreme weather events.
5. Lower Insurance Premiums with ICF
Because of the integrity of ICF, homeowners with ICF basement construction may have lower insurance premiums.
6. The durability of ICF Walls
ICF basement construction resists rot and insect infestation. Importantly, ICF’s resistance to degradation minimizes the need for maintenance and repair of a home, which further saves homeowners money.
7. ICF Walls Reduce Noise
ICF basement walls create a quiet space perfect for a media room or home office.
8. ICF Walls Save Space
ICF basement walls conserve room area, compared to installing insulation on the interior of a wall system.
9. ICF Creates a Healthy Environment
ICF walls don’t contain formaldehyde or other volatile organic compounds (VOC) that could affect indoor air quality. VOCs compromise indoor air quality and can cause nose, eye and throat irritations, headaches, nausea and damage to the kidney, liver and central nervous system.
10. ICF Basement Cost
A basement built with ICF walls may cost a little more than a comparable concrete or block basement wall. However, the additional cost is quickly made up with reduced energy bills, less insurance premiums, and lower maintenance expenses.