Mar 152013

Cute little dog mascotLincoln here with my friends at Advance Concept hard at work at the new home they are building in Northern New Mexico.

Today a lot of materials came on a big truck.  My little friends back home have building blocks so imagine my surprise to see giant building blocks like these.

Insulating concrete foam block


I learned these are called ICF Block, or insulating concrete forms.  This house won’t be constructed like traditional houses with wood frames or with brick.  The ICF blocks are made of foam and act like forms or molds.  The foam acts as an insulation and concrete is poured into the blocks to provide the structural support for the house.



My last blog talked about the caisson foundations my buddies from Advance Concept dug and poured for this house.  Now they are stacking the ICF blocks on top of that foundation.


ICF stacked block





What about windows and doors?  Those have to be framed right up to the ICF block.  And they have to be made of wood so the there will something to attach them to!

ICF block with window and doors






You can see the framed in doors and windows and the reinforcing steel (rebar) extending from the  ICF block.  There is a really big door on the opposite side from where I’m standing.  You’ll have to follow my future blogs to see what that door is for!

ICF block framing






The blue skies, the rock formations, and the juniper trees.  It’s so nice up here.  That’s why they call it the land of enchantment.  Ah, I love my job.

Finally, it’s break time.  Whew, it’s hot.  I like breaks!  My friends at Advance Concept Construction are talking about ICF block.  I’ll share with you some of the things they said:

  • With the insulating foam and the concrete, this house will be quiet and there won’t be any drafts or cold spots.  The way the wind blows in New Mexico, I know that will make this house real comfortable.
  • With all the concrete, there is a lot of thermal mass making the temperature more moderate, cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter.
  • Some building materials off-gas chemicals such as CFC’s HCFC’s and formaldehydes, but not the ICF block.  There is no wood that can rot or get moldy so it’s great for people with asthma or chemical injury.
  • The structural strength can withstand a severe storm.
  • Energy Efficiency.  Everybody talks about energy efficiency and this home will have many energy saving features.  The ICF block is a big part of it.  The literature from the ICF block companies estimate it takes 44% less energy to heat in the winter and 32% less energy to cool in the summer.
  • ICF block is a green building material.  It is estimated that this home will save 8.5 trees.  It will also reduce the energy footprint.  These ICF block homes could really make a difference.