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Author Topic: icf vs block foundation  (Read 2213 times)

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Offline addicted

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icf vs block foundation
« on: May 01, 2017, 08:41:52 pm »
I don't want to start a fight.  I would just like to know from a diy point of view towards icf or block for a timber frame. Right now I'm designing a walkout basement with pilasters to support the frame. My costs are about the same for block with 4 inches of xps vs icf with similar rvalue as advertised by the manufacturer. The difference Im coming up with right away is time. Im guessing 100 block a day for 1600 block equals a couple of weeks of perfect weather and time availability vs one week for icfs. However I haven't been able to source braces for icfs yet but the zuckle looks cost affective and I have seen them for sale used.
Im open to any advice from guys that have used either foundation and why they prefer a certain method.
Thanks in advance.
Rusty

Offline flyingparks

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Re: icf vs block foundation
« Reply #1 on: May 01, 2017, 09:31:13 pm »
Fox Block is a great product. To be honest, I haven't used block foundation so I have no basis for comparison. ICFs are lighter and seem to be easier to use...especially from a DIY standpoint. Some steps, like adding XPS to block foundation, are eliminated. Fox Blocks are reversible, meaning you can flip them every anywhichway and they will still snap together, which is why I use them. Just be sure to brace more than you think you need: nothing quite like a blowout to keep one's ego in check.  :)

Offline ljohnsaw

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Re: icf vs block foundation
« Reply #2 on: May 01, 2017, 10:33:15 pm »
Considered an ICF but little bracing is required.  I used FasWall blocks.  85% shredded pallets, 15% Portland cement. You can do 6' lifts (per the recommendation), I did 9' on one corner and the sales guy said the "experts" will do 12' lifts.  All about the concrete mix and enough labor.  I did mine with one helper and a pump crew.  The second lift was 6'.  This was over the door ways so I removed the insulation (3" of rock wool).

 
 

 

I can provide contact info if you would like to talk with my salesman.
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Offline Raider Bill

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Re: icf vs block foundation
« Reply #3 on: May 02, 2017, 08:30:02 am »
I used AMVIC ICF. Supplier provided the bracing free. First lift was 12 foot. All blocks were reversible. Pretty DanG easy considering it was the first time I'd ever seen ICF blocks when the delivery truck showed up with my 666 block load.


  

  

 
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Offline Don P

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Re: icf vs block foundation
« Reply #4 on: May 02, 2017, 03:55:07 pm »
I've used both. I've had a blowout on ICF's which wasn't the end of the world but did cause some scrambling and was glad we had an extra hand that day. I've had blowouts with poured walls too. We had an excavator hit an ICF wall with his bucket on one job and that was, different. We couldn't see the structure to see whether it was damaged or not. My other concern is providing insects with a path up to the frame, never had trouble just concerns. I can also throw another way into the mix. I've built on Superior walls a couple of times. They worked well and are installed in a day on a gravel footing, insulated, studded, electrical chases and no foam outside so my insect concerns were relieved. I think their engineering is a little lightweight but it is a good product.

Offline addicted

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Re: icf vs block foundation
« Reply #5 on: May 02, 2017, 04:10:16 pm »
Thanks Don
how do most people line up their posts on a superior wall? Ive never seen a profile of that detail. would be nice to see how timber frames are incorporated into that system.
Rusty

Offline Don P

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Re: icf vs block foundation
« Reply #6 on: May 02, 2017, 04:30:47 pm »
We gave Superior the TF plan and their engineer packed together their stud sections according to the point loads above. In a few locations where we had serious point loads they also specced concrete cookies under the walls on the gravel to help distribute the loads over a wider footprint than just the wall alone. An engineer friend visited the first one during construction and pointed out a few details, I had him look over things beforehand on the second but don't recall any changes being needed, so I think it was maybe a case of us all growing with time. Both houses have been trouble free foundationwise, one is about 8, the other about 5 years old. There are several others in that neighborhood using their first generation system with wood nailers instead of steel that have also been trouble free to my knowledge. You can find prescriptive language for their footings in the code in the same area as the pwf language.

Offline ljohnsaw

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Re: icf vs block foundation
« Reply #7 on: May 02, 2017, 04:53:03 pm »
My other concern is providing insects with a path up to the frame, never had trouble just concerns.

I was concerned with insects as well with my FasWall.  The wood is treated with acid (to remove the sugars they say) so termites won't be interested.  The block is a little porous so I was concerned about ants.  Standard insulation is Polyiso (the yellow crunchy stuff) or you can switch to rock wool (slightly cheaper).  I had ants completely devour polyiso insulation in a pump house so I was having none of that.  The only issue I had with the rock wool is it took me two winters to build.  In the spring, snow melt during freeze thaw cycles saturated the rock wool.  That made the blocks very heavy and since the insulation value is good, the saturated rock wool was frozen to each other in the middle of the stacks even though the surrounding snow was long gone.
John Sawicky

Just North-East of Sacramento...

SkyTrak 9038, Davis Little Monster backhoe, Case 16+4 Trencher, Home Built 38" cut Bandmill up to 64' - using it all to build a timber frame cabin.

Offline witterbound

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Re: icf vs block foundation
« Reply #8 on: May 08, 2017, 09:30:59 pm »
My frame sits on top of my first floor deck.  I've got a full icf walkout basement under it.  I embedded strapping in the Icfs that ultimate got nailed to the outside of my posts.  I simply added blocking under my floor to the icf to support the post point loads.  Didn't have it engineered.  Haven't had any issues after 10 years.

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Re: icf vs block foundation
« Reply #9 on: May 09, 2017, 09:19:54 am »
I used Superior Walls on my home and like them a lot.  They go up quick and easy and you only have to get the concrete trucks in once.  My basement is almost as warm as my house but nice and cool in the summer.  My engineer speced additional footer pads under all my post locations which Superior Walls provided.  There is a diagram on Timber Frame Headquarters site showing how to support posts and still have room on your walls for sips. 
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Offline addicted

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Re: icf vs block foundation
« Reply #10 on: May 10, 2017, 11:57:27 am »
Great advice!
Thanks for your input guys.
What about exposure? I've seen a few pictures of foundation walls and slab poured that sits exposed through the winter. Is this a concern?

What about having the first floor deck on the foundation walls exposed throughout the winter? Some say the treated ply will do well while I've seen others say the corners will start to swell.

Timing for me is the issue. I won't be able to enclose the frame before winter. Getting the foundation in, and the deck on would allow me to raise the frame next spring. Is it worth the risk to have the Icf foundation wall or block with exterior rigid foam and basement slab exposed through the winter?
What has been your experience ?

Thanks
Rusty

Offline Raider Bill

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Re: icf vs block foundation
« Reply #11 on: May 10, 2017, 12:09:40 pm »
My ICF and floor underlayment was exposed to snow and rain for months with no effect. The blocks did get a slight chalking but a quick sweep with a broom took care of that before Stucco.
Kubota L-4200, Ford 8N, S-10 4WD Beater truck, Chainsaw, Bush Hog, couple ATV's and 141 acres of trees I'm not sure what to do with but I sure do have fun and enjoy being in the woods!
The First 50 years of childhood is always the hardest.

Offline addicted

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Re: icf vs block foundation
« Reply #12 on: May 10, 2017, 10:40:53 pm »
Thanks Bill
With the block and slab, my main concern would be frost heave or water getting into a spot between the two and freezing, causing a crack in the mortar or slab.
 If I put the first floor deck on, my concern would be the snow, along with a freeze thaw cycle causing delamination of the ply.
How deep does the frost go in your neck of the woods?

Offline Raider Bill

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Re: icf vs block foundation
« Reply #13 on: May 11, 2017, 08:51:18 am »
About 1 inch :D
Kubota L-4200, Ford 8N, S-10 4WD Beater truck, Chainsaw, Bush Hog, couple ATV's and 141 acres of trees I'm not sure what to do with but I sure do have fun and enjoy being in the woods!
The First 50 years of childhood is always the hardest.

Offline Don P

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Re: icf vs block foundation
« Reply #14 on: May 11, 2017, 01:47:25 pm »
Frost has no power without water. If it is well drained then it will not heave. If you get ice under something there is no stopping it. Obviously we build through the winter before houses are heated, good drainage is the key.

I've had good luck with Advantek floor sheathing. I've pulled up many sheets of failed plywood but have never lost a sheet of this stuff. I do like to paint the floor with cheap oil based porch, garage floor or mismixed paint. Do not backfill a foundation until you have the floor on to hold the wall top in place.

Offline Raider Bill

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Re: icf vs block foundation
« Reply #15 on: May 11, 2017, 04:12:12 pm »
Frost has no power without water. If it is well drained then it will not heave. If you get ice under something there is no stopping it. Obviously we build through the winter before houses are heated, good drainage is the key.

I've had good luck with Advantek floor sheathing. I've pulled up many sheets of failed plywood but have never lost a sheet of this stuff. I do like to paint the floor with cheap oil based porch, garage floor or mismixed paint. Do not backfill a foundation until you have the floor on to hold the wall top in place.

These were 3 of the many helpful tips you gave me 10 years ago when I built mine.
Kubota L-4200, Ford 8N, S-10 4WD Beater truck, Chainsaw, Bush Hog, couple ATV's and 141 acres of trees I'm not sure what to do with but I sure do have fun and enjoy being in the woods!
The First 50 years of childhood is always the hardest.

Offline witterbound

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Re: icf vs block foundation
« Reply #16 on: May 11, 2017, 11:09:25 pm »
My Advantek deck was exposed to the weather, and a lot of rain, for about two months.  I did paint it with returned and unused paint (that ended up pink when mixed) and tried to cover it with tarps to no avail.  It worried me, and showed some staining, but no buckling.  I personally would not want to have left it open to the weather all winter.

Offline addicted

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Re: icf vs block foundation
« Reply #17 on: May 12, 2017, 09:02:30 am »
Thanks Don

Hey Witterbound, Where was your building site? Was it exposed to freezing temps?
Rusty

Offline witterbound

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Re: icf vs block foundation
« Reply #18 on: May 15, 2017, 08:52:02 am »
Arkansas.  No freeZing temps before dry in.

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Re: icf vs block foundation
« Reply #19 on: May 29, 2017, 05:05:04 am »
Don P, what was the engineering concern you had with Superior?  Did you deal with John Cotton (plant in Amelia County)?

We are in Fluvanna and seriously considering Superior's Xi and maybe the AG above grade walls, tho' the cost is estimated at $130 per LF, $110 for the basement (9 ft ceilings).

I'm going to study the other systems mentioned herein, thanks for yours and everyone's comments.
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