Once a structure is built with ICF there is no comparison to typical frame or block construction. The ICF industry falls into a trap of comparing the benefits and features to typical frame construction, there are no true comparisons between the two. Both ICF and traditional methods of construction perform the same requirements for most structures, but ICF performance criteria are significantly greater than traditional methods.
ICF’s have one limitation vs. concrete block construction…It requires the application of a durable finish material whereas concrete block can be painted or left bare.
The cost of ICF vs. more traditional methods of construction is typically more for the actual construction, but the cost of ownership of an ICF structure is significantly less than the more traditional methods. In nearly every documented case of the cost of an ICF structure, the return on investment (ROI) for the extra construction cost is within 5 years with many showing less than 3 years. Depending how costs are viewed, ICF may cost a little more or significantly less to build and operate.
High performance R-valuesNo air infiltrationPermanent performance no downgrading over timeShifts thermal loading from peak periodsLower cost to heat and cool
No air infiltration means no dust or allergensNo cavity walls for mold, mildew, bugs or rodentsNon-toxic materialsNo off-gassing of materials
High wind resistantFire rated assemblyStrength is permanentWill not rot or decayResistant to termites (the concrete)Impact resistantNo maintenance requirements
High sound attenuatingEnhances steady temperaturesPeace of mind during inclement weather eventsLow maintenance structureMay attribute to lower insurance costs
Design versatilityEnergy efficientStructurally capableFire ratedSound deadeningQuick (depending on installer)Conducive to Exterior Insulation Finish Systems (EIFS)PermanenceFully code accepted cast-in-place concrete wallsTime tested and proven