An estimated 8,000 homes in the United States and Canada were built last year with insulating concrete forms -- up nearly 50% from the previous year. Homebuyers cite superior comfort, noise reduction, energy savings, and strength and rigidity as the primary reasons they are opting for concrete rather than wood-frame construction -- and are gladly paying a little more for it.

To attract the customers in this burgeoning market, more and more contractors are learning how to build with ICFs. Fortunately, say many of these contractors, ICF construction is easy to learn and easy to adapt to project needs.

What's not so easy, especially if you're a novice, is picking out the best ICF system for a particular application. There are now 35 systems for sale in North America, with significant differences between them. The key factors to consider when comparing different systems include:

  • Manufacturer support and product availability
  • Code approval
  • Cost
  • Ease of assembly
  • Energy efficiency
  • Materials