Barton’s 2,780-square-foot ICF Legacy Home was built with donated LOGIX ICF forms and consists of 222 linear feet of concrete wall and nearly 60 cubic yards of concrete. The walls, including the gable walls for the roof, have 614-inch concrete cores surrounded by 2¾ inches of foam on each side. The home is topped off with structural insulated panel system (SIPS) roof construction.
Barton’s mantra for ICF construction is “plumb, square and care.” He explains, “Any wall can be straight in any type of construction and any wall can be perfectly plumb in any type of construction as long as the crew installing cares to do it and pay attention.” Barton concentrates on ensuring his first three courses, or 4 feet, of the wall are in perfect plumb before gluing the forms to the footing.
He says another key concern when pouring ICF walls is the mix. “I find a pea gravel at a 512-inch slump pours smooth like pancake batter into the forms,” he explains. “And I pump with an elephant hose that reduces down to 3 inches. A lot of guys will hold the end of that elephant trunk vertically and shoot the mix down the wall, but what I do is drop the boom and lay it so the discharge is horizontal. That way the mix doesn’t have as much acceleration.”
From Barton’s perspective, ICF construction doesn’t have to cost more than a wood frame home. He explains if you compare an ICF build to a home built to the minimum code standards, then yes, ICF construction will come at a higher price. “If it’s being compared to a great framed wall, where the builder is paying attention to air sealing and using the proper amount of insulation to work toward the performance of my ICF wall, then we’re going to be right about even on cost or my ICFs will be a little bit less. But framed walls can’t compare to the airtight performance of the ICFs.”