When ICF foam forms were first created in the mid-1960s, few could have imagined the impact they would have on the construction industry. With high energy costs, frequent natural disasters, anti-terrorism issues, and overall speed and cost of construction—all impacting home and building owners—it is no wonder ICF use has grown so dramatically.
After ICFs were introduced as a lightweight replacement for heavy steel pan and plywood concrete forming systems, home builders soon wanted to use them to form foundations and eliminate subcontractors, control their construction schedules, and take profit back to their bottom line. Something interesting happened, though. Because of the energy-efficient properties and ability to shield homeowners from loud outdoor noise, homeowners began preferring the comfort and quiet of their ICF basements to the first and second floor, stick-framed areas of their homes.
With skilled labor in high demand, commercial contractors also began using ICFs to speed up construction without the learning curve associated with more complicated building systems. Architects, engineers, and building owners searched out ICFs to address long-term issues like durability, low maintenance, and energy efficiency. Although ICFs represent only a small portion of the overall construction market, the increased use is impressive. Over the past five years, ICF use in the residential market has increased 73%. The growth in the commercial market is even more impressive, 172% in the same period.
Read more highlights from 50 Years of Concrete Construction Progress.