Insulating concrete form is a style of manufacturing homes and other buildings designed to be more energy efficient, fire, wind and insect resistant, soundproof and less porous than wood frame houses. Europeans began building insulating concrete form homes in the 1970s and the construction style is now gaining popularity in the United States.
The framing package for an insulated concrete form house as compared to a wood frame house can be as much as 10 per cent higher. Insulated concrete form prices are highly sensitive to the price of concrete. However, the initial extra cost is amortised somewhat by lower heating expense due to better insulation.
For a wood frame house, moving windows or doors is usually a relatively simple and cheap affair, requiring tools that cut drywall. Moving these parts in an insulated concrete form home requires tools that can cut concrete, which are more difficult to handle and more expensive. This can be avoided with careful planning.
Insulated concrete form segments need to be fitted together and sealed especially well in order to keep out insects and seeping water. The insulating material can be treated to be inhospitable to insects, but careful and thorough maintenance is required to keep the insulation dry.
Since insulated concrete form is relatively new in the United States, it can be more difficult to find skilled practitioners who understand completely the construction method. This also factors into the cost, as skilled labourers familiar with insulated concrete form are in demand, and more expensive.