Choosing Your ICF
Which ICF should I use? What is the best ICF? How much does it cost to build using an ICF?
So you have landed on this page to get some information in the hope of assisting you with the decision of which Insulated Concrete Form to build with.
Why I choose StyroStone for the preferred ICF system.
Do you have a bag for life or do you continue to pay 5p every time you shop then throw the bag away.
If you have a choice of car will you pick a Lada or a Rolls Royce , a VolksWagon or a Mercedes. There is a reason some things are cheaper. They are not as good. You get what you pay for.
Do you use a Hoover? A Dyson? or a vacuum cleaner.
It is fact that all ICF's or PIF's were known generically as StyroStones. As building with them became more and more popular many variations emerged on the market.
One of the first questions most people ask is what is the price for building with an ICF?
Surely a better question is what is the cost. There is always someone who will do it cheaper. The price is what you pay however in the long run it can cost you dearly.
In what way will a cheap system cost me more?
If you use a system that comes in flat pack form your labour costs will be accelerated considerably.
It is much more time consuming to put the components together on site.
There is also the risk that ties will inadvertently be left out. There is a greater chance of bursts during the pour.
Some systems have metal ties. These are potential thermal bridges it also means risk of injury on sharp ends and more effort to cut to size.
Some systems have styrofoam ties. These are potential acoustic/fire breaks.
Some systems are less dense and can not take the pressure of mass concrete being poured from hieght. This means more pump visits to pay for and extra labour expense.
StyroStone is a complete system. It comes in factory assembled fully moulded together units thus reducing the possibility of bursts during the pour. There is less requirement for additional timber bracing around windows and doors. It has zero thermal bridging due to hard plastic ties and can provide any U value requirement by using the VIB STONE-link. The StyroStone 350mm neopor block supersedes Passiv Haus requirements with its 0.147W/m2 U value. It can be filled in 3m high lifts with ease.
Some systems have inferior U values to styrostone https://www.styrostone.co.uk/r-value.html- this is fine for use on outbuildings , swimming pools etc however when self building your dream home surely you will want to eliminate energy bills as far as possible. After all it is pointless having a dream home that you can not afford to live comfortably in.
Consider that you built with a cheap inferior system. Your energy bills continue to rise year on year draining any cashflow. However if you build with StyroStone , your energy bills are minimal. The extra money you save could be used to clear your mortgage off years earlier or you could afford to use the savings towards a holiday a better car or basically better lifestyle.
You may only do a self build once in your life. Build it to your best ability. Build it right. Build it air tight. Build it using energy efficient StyroStone.