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Building a Home Using Insulated Concrete Forms (ICF's)

My husband and I embarked on a journey to build our dream home on Lake Travis in 2020. That's right, just when COVID hit and lumber prices sky rocketed! Our lumber package quadrupled practically over night, so we had to get creative.

Thank goodness my husband, Roger, is in commercial construction because he came up with the idea to build the exterior walls in... concrete.

After lots of research we chose to go with Nudura’s ICF’s. Bare with me here... ICF stands for insulated concrete forms. These make it easier and faster to design an energy efficient, resilient structure. Most commercial buildings are already using this product but it’s starting to gain popularity in residential communities as well. There are other companies with a similar products but based on our own research, Nudura was who we felt most comfortable with! Get this - The energy savings on homes built with ICF's is 60% annually in utility costs! They also reduce the outside noise as well as the amount of timbers being cut down in our forests each year.

Installing Nudura Insulated Concrete Forms

Here's how it works. ICF walls are built with reinforced concrete and fire-retardant expanded polystyrene (EPS) foam, providing a fire protection rating of up to 4 hours. That is 4 times that of a typical wood-frame structure! This enables homeowners that much more time to safely evacuate in the event of a fire. Concrete is poured in between the forms that you see in the picture above. The benefits from building your home with ICF’s are longer lasting durability (obviously, it's concrete!), energy savings AND time savings on the overall build out. Our home was completed in 6 months! Nudura ICF's can be constructed in half the time as traditional framing with lumber!

The one lesson learned when building with ICF's was that switching from lumber for the exterior walls reduced the interior square footage by 4”. Thank goodness Roger is a structural engineer because he quickly revised the drawings prior to framing, but it's something you should be aware of as you may need to revise the plan.

Lake house built with insulated concrete forms

We love our lake house! It's our little slice of heaven and getting to wake up to this view every day is hard to beat. I highly recommend ICF's for homes near the water like ours and in Texas in general where the 100 degree heat is common during the Summers! Questions? Reach out to me here.

The view of Lake Travis in Spicewood




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