Insulated concrete structure forms are on the cutting edge when it comes to erecting commercial buildings. And for good reason!
Insulated concrete forms are a cast-in-place building system. After all of the form blocks are put into place and fastened together, the building's walls are finished by pouring cement down into the center of the form's two permanent expanded polystyrene (EPS) sides.
Unlike other traditional building systems, such as wood or metal framing, insulated forms are left in place once the concrete cures and they become part of the finished wall.
Building with insulated forms has many advantages, including:
- strength and stability
- multi-story building capability
- high energy efficiency
In addition, insulated forms are designed to directly attach a building's exterior finish without an additional vapor barrier.
If you are considering the use of insulated concrete structure forms, then the following tips will help ensure a successful project:
Tip #1: Utilize Manufacturer Design Guides
The manufacturers of insulated concrete structure forms all provide design guides. Inside the guides are the manufacturer's requirements and recommendations pertaining to:
- bracing systems
- additional reinforcement
In addition, following the manufacturer's design guide will reduce cutoff waste and other unnecessary finishing work that will raise your project's final costs.
Tip #2: Avoid Designs With Corner Windows
Buildings constructed with insulated concrete structure forms do not have corner supports like buildings made using traditional methods. This lack of support means corner windows have to support all of the weight of the concrete above them and this is not possible.
Due to the lack of corner support, you should always avoid designs with corner windows when building with insulated forms.
Tip #3: Proactively Avoid Form Blowouts
One of the biggest frustrations contractors face when building with insulated concrete structure forms for the first time is form blow-outs from vibrating air bubbles out of the cement as it's being poured.
The best way to avoid form failures is to either use minimal vibration during the cement pouring process or to use a high-strength cement mix.
High-strength cement mixes have higher water content. Because of their thinner consistency, high-strength cement mixes don't require as much vibration and in most cases none at all. This makes working with forms a lot easier and prevents blow-outs.
Tip #4: Consider Utilizing a licensed Insulated Concrete Form Contractor
Finally, since building with insulated forms is a specialized way to erect a new commercial building, it is a good idea to work with a licensed contractor with ample experience in this type of building material. Utilizing a licensed insulated concrete form contractor will help you avoid costly mistakes that would have been easily avoided by working with someone with experience.
If you have any questions about insulated concrete forms, contact a local provider.