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Old 07-18-2011, 03:10 PM
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Default Concrete Block vs ICF



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The wife and I have been planning on building with ICF's for a while. However recently she went to visit a relative and he is building with 12 inch filled concrete blocks. He is also doing it himself and it is taking a while.

I was thinking that if we were to use block instead then we could put foam insulation board on the outside then put the waterproofing over that. I think that it would be quicker as well as stronger. And no I haven't priced the diff yet.

Ideas, comments, suggestions, problems?? Open to all the constructive critisim ya got. Blaze away.
BK
Old 07-18-2011, 03:30 PM
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I think you have more flexibility with ICF. I did use it in the past and was very happy with it.

All the concrete blocks will be heavy and you will need to lift them up over all the rebar.

Interesting you said "Blaze away" - I think that rebuilding after a house fire might be a bit of a challenge if you used ICF - but that is the only long term concern - and minor at that.

You will have to frame out and put up a vapor barrier with the concrete blocks. The ICF will be ready for drywall right away.
Old 07-21-2011, 04:09 PM
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I have been a mason for over 7 years and I would agree with 9111315 block is heavy and takes alot more work and care than people think. And you still have to fill the block in the end though I thik they're close in price but it all depends on suppliers and builders.
Old 07-21-2011, 05:03 PM
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I have never used ICF but have done a bit of CMU work. I think it would depend on price in the end. Also, depending on how you plan to finish the interior and exterior of the cabin/home you may not have to finish the CMU block as if were going to be the finished product. No jointing, etc. Either way, you are going to have a concrete truck there to fill the cells on the CMU or the ICF. Do you have experience with setting the forms for the ICF, etc? With the CMU blocks yo will have to be fairly acurate with your verticle rebar placement when pouring the footing so youdon't have to go back and cut out the rebar and epoxy new in place. In the end, I know CMU and I would probably go with that unless the price was much better with the ICF.
Old 07-21-2011, 05:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 9111315 View Post
All the concrete blocks will be heavy and you will need to lift them up over all the rebar.
lift them over what rebar?
Old 07-21-2011, 05:24 PM
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the block method is quicker but not as strong as the equivalent thickness of solid concrete found in a ICF. depending on the block supplier and how they set their prices you may find it cheaper to use solid concrete. the block supplier where i live charges something like $1.00 more per sq ft than if the hollow block was solid concrete.

ICF construction tends to be more expensive because its labor intensive.
Old 07-21-2011, 05:39 PM
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We have some property that i have been dreaming about building a small "cabin," on and think ICF is the way to go...Lots of benefits..

here's a pretty good website on it..

http://www.icfhomes.com/index.html

good luck....
Old 07-21-2011, 06:56 PM
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I built a building with 8" block (not filled with concrete) with 2" foam insulation outside of that and thin, flexible stucco outside that. I forgot what the stucco was called. It has worked extremely well. The many tons of concrete and blocks maintains a very uniform temp. year round. That was 30 yrs. ago. I am very pleased with it.
Old 07-21-2011, 07:03 PM
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Check out the 'quad lock' system. As far as ICF goes these seem just fantastic.
Old 07-21-2011, 08:36 PM
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Thanks for all the replys. I am looking into the price. I think that if we do go with block we will isulate with 2 inch foam board as stated above. Not really worried about the labor, we pretty much have that tied up with our MAG. I was thinking of filling with a concrete/pea gravel mix as we went up.But whatdo I know... thankful for the internet. It makes research much easier!!
Old 07-21-2011, 10:32 PM
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I was thinking of filling with a concrete/pea gravel mix as we went up.
wait till the entire wall is complete, the rebar set in place, then fill it solid.
Old 07-23-2011, 12:29 AM
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wait till the entire wall is complete, the rebar set in place, then fill it solid.
You need to be sure to have to have your rebar with the end bent into an "L" embedded into the concrete for at least the first 3-4 rows of block. This way you only have 30" of rebar sticking up to lift the blocks over. You will then extend the bar up another 3-4 rows. If you want the most strength out of your walls then you should build the entire wall first with your vericle and horizontal rebar and then come back and grout the whole wall at once. If you grout as you go you will tend to have cold joints in your wall with your grouting. Cold joints in a grout filled wall = weak. However, since it is not retaining it may not matter too much.

Another thing to consider. I have a good family friend who builds high end custom homes in Hawaii. He built his own home using 8x8x16 CMU. He didn't use mortar in the joints. Instead, he used liquid nails to hold the block together. He then went back and fully grouted the walls. The strength of block walls comes from the grouting not the block. He is a very respected builder in that area and knows his chit. The home has lasted through several hurricanes to date.
Old 07-24-2011, 06:53 PM
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i am building a cabin with icf after much talking with contractors this is what i came up with
1 stick build 10,000 dry in no insulation
2 block 20,000 dry in no insulation
3 icf 13,000 dry in with a r 50 wall
when you lay it all out the icf its the way to go.
and i can do all the work my self the block i would have to pay someone else to put it up just my 2 cents if you are interested i can do a thread with pic on how to do icf i will stack the walls this weekend
Old 07-25-2011, 12:15 PM
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In my opinion ICF is stronger. I have owned a house with a concrete block foundation and after a few years the home had settled and the blocks split apart at the seams and was very expensive to repair. I'm now in a 2000sqft ICF home and love it. Low energy use, tornado proof, nearly bullet proof, but looks just like any other home. Before I moved in the home wasn't heated at all in the winter and even when exterior temperatures reached -5* it was still 45-50* inside.
Old 07-25-2011, 06:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Big Blzn View Post
You need to be sure to have to have your rebar with the end bent into an "L" embedded into the concrete for at least the first 3-4 rows of block. This way you only have 30" of rebar sticking up to lift the blocks over. You will then extend the bar up another 3-4 rows. If you want the most strength out of your walls then you should build the entire wall first with your vericle and horizontal rebar and then come back and grout the whole wall at once. If you grout as you go you will tend to have cold joints in your wall with your grouting. Cold joints in a grout filled wall = weak. However, since it is not retaining it may not matter too much.

Another thing to consider. I have a good family friend who builds high end custom homes in Hawaii. He built his own home using 8x8x16 CMU. He didn't use mortar in the joints. Instead, he used liquid nails to hold the block together. He then went back and fully grouted the walls. The strength of block walls comes from the grouting not the block. He is a very respected builder in that area and knows his chit. The home has lasted through several hurricanes to date.
im not sure if your saying the same thing i am but to make a short explanation long: in the concrete slab #5 rebar is set at whatever distance the building code requires. the first few courses are laid over the rebar then the remaining courses are laid without having rebar as a hindrance. the first course has the cells broken out that contain rebar to allow access to the steel so that once the block is completed a full-length stick of rebar can be slid into the entire cell then bar ties are used to connect the piece in the footer. plywood is placed over the broken piece of block then when the wall is poured solid the plywood is removed. if the cells containing the rebar arent poured solid with concrete the rebar may as well not have been used. it is also possible to use specialty blocks that allow horizontal rebar to be used for additional strength. small metal grids can be placed in the mortar between courses for additional strength altho this stuff isnt as sturdy as rebar.

i built a room out of concrete block and attached the individual blocks with latex modified adhesive. mortar isnt actually designed to be an adhesive, its primary purpose is to allow the blocks to be set plumb and level. its only a secondary intention for it to be sticky.

ive demolished mortar-set walls where the mortar may as well not been there. i also experimented with the adhesive i used and the block itself broke before the joint did. concrete block alone is very weak structurally, it is only when it is reinforced that it has some semblance of strength.

for a concrete block home to survive a hurricane/cyclone isnt saying much. the sheer weight of the material itself is generally adequate to withstand the wind forces.

8x8x16 block filled with concrete (grout) is far and above better than any wood frame home however it pales in comparison to solid poured concrete.
Old 07-25-2011, 06:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rolla91 View Post
In my opinion ICF is stronger. I have owned a house with a concrete block foundation and after a few years the home had settled and the blocks split apart at the seams and was very expensive to repair. I'm now in a 2000sqft ICF home and love it. Low energy use, tornado proof, nearly bullet proof, but looks just like any other home. Before I moved in the home wasn't heated at all in the winter and even when exterior temperatures reached -5* it was still 45-50* inside.
solid concrete is stronger

if a home settled then cracked the walls that is due to a poor foundation preparation. i had the same problem w/my house and it was/is a pita to fix. my method was slightly overboard but its guaranteed to be stronger than any house in my neighborhood.
Old 07-26-2011, 01:44 AM
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look into rammed earth. no special tools. minimal concrete mixed with a dirt mix. rammed earth homes are very energy efficient.
Old 07-26-2011, 01:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rolla91 View Post
In my opinion ICF is stronger. I have owned a house with a concrete block foundation and after a few years the home had settled and the blocks split apart at the seams and was very expensive to repair. I'm now in a 2000sqft ICF home and love it. Low energy use, tornado proof, nearly bullet proof, but looks just like any other home. Before I moved in the home wasn't heated at all in the winter and even when exterior temperatures reached -5* it was still 45-50* inside.
when you say tornado proof you mean you put steel plating on the walls? concrete or icf itself does not make tornado proof homes. an ef3 tornado can and will push 2x4's through 6" of concrete not reinforced.
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