Insulated Concrete Form Construction (ICF) homes are made using high density Styrofoam to form a cavity of six, eight, ten or twelve inches wide in which concrete is pumped or poured. The cavity also has steel reinforcing bars placed so that the resulting structure is similar to concrete bridges and over-passes in its ability to resist otherwise disastrous winds of tornado and hurricane strength.
The images in the slide show feature examples of Insulated Concrete Form homes that have remained standing after a tornado, hurricane, tidal wave, or wild fire.
Since the poured concrete completely fills the space between the Styrofoam forms, there is no place for water to enter and remain. The incidence of mold is greatly reduced in above and below grade ICF walls.
In addition, the Insulated Concrete Forms are highly insulating and along with the thermal mass of the concrete provide up to three times the energy performance of standard insulated wood stud walls. Less heat loss and more efficient cooling means greatly reduced energy bills.
The use of exterior Insulated Concrete Form walls also significantly reduces the amount of noise entering the home from the outside world. Loud lawn mowers, sirens, truck traffic and other sources of noise are greatly muffled, often to the point of being totally unrecognizable inside the home.