Insulating concrete form (ICF) systems initially began to enter the home construction market as an innovative approach to building a fully-insulated basement wall. Prior to the 1990s, above-grade walls in homes were typically built with wood framing, except in certain areas of the United States. In the past 10 years, however, concrete walls have taken a larger share of the market for above-grade walls in homes. The Portland Cement Association estimates over 10,000 homes were built in 1997 with above-grade ICF walls. With the number of ICF above-grade walls reaching nearly 11% of the overall concrete wall market, there exists considerable interest in the building community about this relatively new approach to building exterior walls of homes.
Despite an increase in ICF use in homes and an increasing number of manufacturers entering the market over the past decade, information regarding the performance of ICFs compared to more conventional home building systems is needed. A primary objective of this study is to help answer some of the questions surrounding the in-place costs of ICF homes compared to a typical wood-frame home.