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Using foam blocks for foundation

Petey's picture

I will be tearing down my attached garage and will be putting in a new foundation. I would like to use the foam foundation blocks, not sure what brand. I have met with my architect and although he is encouraging, he is just not that experienced with them. I guess I need to know what my advantages would be using them. I know being able to do it myself is a plus but I have the ability to do a conventional foundation as well. As much information as to the pros, cons and type would be appreciated. Thank you all. (and I am not just another homeowner)

Just another homeowner...



Edited 8/12/2009 9:59 am ET by Petey

Just another homeowner...



(post #108757, reply #1 of 6)

They are called Insulated concrete forms or ICF's.   I 've done it and they are extremely DIY friendly..  It's important that you buy them from omeone who does more than sell them.. I bought mine from my local cement plant who gave me a video to watch how they were supposed to go together, they then gave me an instruction manual to follow and finially the day before the pour sent someone out to verify that everything was done properly. 

  The day of the Pour (actually pump) I was extremely nervious but it turned out the worry was for naught.. really simple to do. Just pump it as slow as possible  so nothing overwhelms anything.. and a couple of hours later you're admiring your handiwork.

  It's also extremely easy to put sheetrock on the walls and do other sorts of things..

 My foundation was ICF's the top of them was SIP's but if I built my house again I'd use ICF's al the way up to the roof line. 

 Did I mention how easy it was? 

(post #108757, reply #2 of 6)

The advantage with Insulated Concrete Forms (ICF's) is Insulation.

A garage foundation that will be filled on both sides with a slab on top, will not significantly benefit from an ICF wall.

If you are in a cold climate and need additional insulation, underslab foam and/or exterior wall insulation would be much easier.

Most building departments require additional re-bar (too much in my opinion) while working with ICF's

Unless you are just looking to experiment and try something new (which I understand) then just stick with a conventionally formed wall.

I built an entire home with Quad-Lock brand ICF's, and was pleased with the product and manufacturer.




(post #108757, reply #3 of 6)

I almost type the same thing out an hour ago but decided not to post it.  The major benefit is for insulation and if all you are using it for is a foundation in a garage, it doesn't seem to make much sense.

(post #108757, reply #4 of 6)

Thank you all for the tips. It is for a garage foundation which will also be my shop. It will be built partially into a hill so at least 75% of the wall will be exposed, approximately 4' from the floor. What I really want to know is will the cost of the blocks exceed the cost of the extra labor it would take to build it conventionally? If it's a wash then isn't it a better way to go?



Edited 8/12/2009 5:59 pm ET by Petey

Just another homeowner...



(post #108757, reply #5 of 6)


 Factor in your time and  skill plus the insulation benefit before you decide..

  If you intend to simply write a check there aren't a lot of people with real experiance doing ICF's  so there is little competion.. and a fat hog can be cut.. (another words it will tend to be expensive) 

 If you have experiance setting block then there is little to be gained other than some insulation benefit. If however you've never built a foundation before ICF's make it very simple.

 You can do form work and pour a concrete foundation (same risks of a blow out as ICF's)    However the wood required for the forms will likely be wasted and you will pour more using forms than you will pouring ICF's

 I used Reward brand forms and I cannot say  enough about how great they are.

I had a chance of buying forms from others and most were cheaper but few were as well engineered and offered as much help..

(post #108757, reply #6 of 6)

we been using "Reward" brand ICF