Many different construction materials are needed for setting up a building today, from bricks to steel beams to wooden frames, and concrete, one of the oldest known construction materials, is still central to the construction of any home or commercial building today, big or small, and the concrete industry is bigger than ever. What is more, recent innovations in concrete construction methods have allowed for more efficient and safe buildings than ever, such as ICF (insulated concrete form) blocks and walls. ICF concrete and ICF walls can be a very potent building tool for newer homes and commercial buildings, and concrete materials are still essential for the foundation of any building today. In fact, laying down concrete and smoothing it out is the work of specific crews and contractors who specialize in this material. How can ICF products be a superior sort of construction material, and what is the history of concrete?
Concrete Then and Now
Archaeological digs have revealed primitive examples of concrete used in homes and other buildings thousands of years old, and although an ancient concept, concrete still endures today as an essential building material, and recent innovations make sure that it is stronger and safer than ever, and also efficient for buildings’ safety and insulation needs. When a building is being constructed, a foundation is dug, and concrete crews will be called in to set up wooden walls to define the concrete’s perimeter, and the liquid concrete will be poured and spread evenly across the site. These crew members may also smooth out the concrete with rakes to prevent air bubbles or lumps, and they may also carve special patterns into the concrete as it hardens. Concrete is useful in many arenas, from an office building’s foundation to a sidewalk to constructing a parking garage, and this material has become a matter of fact in any urban area.
Concrete’s Newest Forms
Concrete as a concept goes back to antiquity and beyond, but a more recent variant of this material has emerged as a practical and safe way to construct a home, and that is ICF walls. Why is ICF so desirable? It make for better flooring, for one thing. It has been determined that ICF decking weighs 40% less than regular concrete flooring and has better insulation, too. But it is the construction of a home’s walls where ICF technology really shines, during construction and afterwards. ICF walls are built in bricks that are often 10 inches in diameter, and one row is built at a time with these bricks (end pieces are trimmed as needed so that they can fit). What is more, buildings that are constructed with ICF bricks are six to nine times stronger than those that are built with traditional methods, and these bricks take advantage of the hollow spaces that they create inside when they are built.
Why is there a hollow space inside ICF concrete walls? This space is where electrical wires, plumbing, and wall insulation can be placed, and the concrete walls will keep all of these delicate systems safe from bad weather or other interference. This means that such walls are practical for a building’s insulation, and internal cool or warm air will not easily escape the home once the insulation is in place. This can save on the electric bill every month, since a home will dedicate nearly half of its power to the heating and air conditioning systems. If the air easily leaks through walls or through drafty windows, then the HVAC system is forced to work overtime to keep compensating for the losses, but a home with ICF walls will have insulation placed into the hollow spaces to prevent this problem. This can save a homeowner money every month and year, since less power will be needed to maintain the climate control. What is more, these strong concrete walls are highly effective at protecting a home’s integrity and interior from storm damage, such as tornadoes or hurricanes, and winds up to 402 kilometers per hour in strength can be endured with these walls. This may make such homes very attractive to those who live in storm-prone areas like Oklahoma or Florida, or in fact anywhere on the American east coast.