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Old 08-13-2020, 05:30 PM   #21
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The last two summers I helped an old friend that has been in the concrete business for 50 years. He still does some work because he likes to do the work and enjoys some extra money.
I have helped him about 10 days total each summer doing basement walls. He uses the insulated concrete forms. We can do an entire floor and walls in about 6 days. The insulated Styrofoam forms take about 5 hours and yo will have the walls set and ready to pour. That is with just two people doing the work. He makes big bucks for just a few jobs and pays me well for my time.
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Old 08-13-2020, 05:50 PM   #22
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I thought that this was pretty cool.

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Old 08-13-2020, 08:42 PM   #23
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A close by neighbor is building a 3 story concrete home that's very contemporary. It's going to be quite beautiful when it's finished--at 17,000 square feet.

But it's going to be a 2-3 year project. I just feel sorry for his next door neighbor who'll never get any compliment on his home after the "big house" is completed.
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Old 08-14-2020, 05:57 AM   #24
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[QUOTE=pb4uski;2471031]I thought that this was pretty cool.


Indeed. I did not know this innovation was being implemented. One step to eliminate homelessness.
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Old 08-14-2020, 09:20 AM   #25
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I thought that this was pretty cool.


Indeed. I did not know this innovation was being implemented. One step to eliminate homelessness.
While it is a very cool building process, I don't see how it will eliminate homelessness without free money.

These things cost money to build, possibly the same cost as using concrete block construction.

Homelessness is a complex issue with a multitude of factors, some of which are not affected by the availability of even freely provided shelter.
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Old 08-14-2020, 10:00 AM   #26
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I think the play is that these houses can be built for very little so housing would be more affordable... about $4k for a basic house IIRC.
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Old 08-14-2020, 11:37 AM   #27
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Built a boathouse into the hill at our lake house using this construction. Worked great and I'd definitely use it again. We framed inside walls just for the ease of running electrical and water, but that wouldn't be required.
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Old 08-14-2020, 12:24 PM   #28
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Built a boathouse into the hill at our lake house using this construction. Worked great and I'd definitely use it again. We framed inside walls just for the ease of running electrical and water, but that wouldn't be required.
Which construction? Printed/extruded or poured concrete wall or wire frame with sprayed on concrete? Dome roof? The dome home we offered on in Prescott had wiring in plastic conduit in the sprayed walls but a big drawback was the curved dome walls: picture hanging? Unless one is a fan of exposed conduit/plumbing runs one really needs to have a solid notion of exactly where plumbing and outlets and lights will be forever with concrete walls - unless, as you did, you do false walls.
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Old 08-14-2020, 12:40 PM   #29
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My brother-in-law is building a garage/workshop with a small dwelling unit above using the foam blocks that have rebar and concrete inside. He's done the garage floor and walls so far, but he's kind of vague about the plumbing and electrical for the upstairs unit, so I'm quite interested to find out how all that works out in the end.

This photo was before they poured the walls.
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Old 08-14-2020, 01:13 PM   #30
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Which construction? Printed/extruded or poured concrete wall or wire frame with sprayed on concrete? Dome roof? The dome home we offered on in Prescott had wiring in plastic conduit in the sprayed walls but a big drawback was the curved dome walls: picture hanging? Unless one is a fan of exposed conduit/plumbing runs one really needs to have a solid notion of exactly where plumbing and outlets and lights will be forever with concrete walls - unless, as you did, you do false walls.

It was ICF. It went up quickly and we just used waterproofing on the hill side wall before backfilling.
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Old 08-14-2020, 01:18 PM   #31
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It was ICF. It went up quickly and we just used waterproofing on the hill side wall before backfilling.

As a further note we used Hardi on the upper/exposed sides.
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Old 08-14-2020, 02:03 PM   #32
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My brother-in-law is building a garage/workshop with a small dwelling unit above using the foam blocks that have rebar and concrete inside. He's done the garage floor and walls so far, but he's kind of vague about the plumbing and electrical for the upstairs unit, so I'm quite interested to find out how all that works out in the end.

This photo was before they poured the walls.
I had looked into these. Plumbing would probably come up through the floor... for electrical they have specialty heated knives that cut the styrofoam for receptical and light swtch boxes and wiring.. then you install the boxes and rough in the wiring and start putting up drywall.
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Old 08-14-2020, 02:09 PM   #33
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My brother-in-law is building a garage/workshop with a small dwelling unit above using the foam blocks that have rebar and concrete inside. He's done the garage floor and walls so far, but he's kind of vague about the plumbing and electrical for the upstairs unit, so I'm quite interested to find out how all that works out in the end.

This photo was before they poured the walls.
Will he be doing the second floor in the same way, or building a stick (2x4 or 2x6 stud) top floor ?
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Old 08-14-2020, 02:24 PM   #34
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I had looked into these. Plumbing would probably come up through the floor... for electrical they have specialty heated knives that cut the styrofoam for receptical and light swtch boxes and wiring.. then you install the boxes and rough in the wiring and start putting up drywall.
That makes sense for the electrical. The plumbing is a mystery though. The pad they poured for the garage floor doesn't have any water supply or drains, so I guess those will be external and maybe surrounded by some kind of wooden box with insulation. Let's just say nobody in the family is too surprised about the vagueness of the plans and we are all just waiting to see what he ends up with.
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Old 08-14-2020, 02:32 PM   #35
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Will he be doing the second floor in the same way, or building a stick (2x4 or 2x6 stud) top floor ?
See previous comments about vagueness of plans. I asked that exact question on a family zoom call, but the answer sounded like the concrete walls were already 1.5 stories and there would be an A-frame roof above. Then I saw the photos and that didn't make sense, so now I have no idea.
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Old 08-14-2020, 03:24 PM   #36
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Thanks everyone for the feedback and information. Where we are currently at (South Korea) almost all of the houses here are built out of concrete. Was hoping there was more experience on concrete builds in the states, as our online research echoes what everyone is saying on this thread; expensive and hard to find contractors to do it. Particularly in the more rural areas we would be looking to retire to.

It's such a shame because in theory it should be less expensive as you are dealing with fewer materials to get a sturdier and longer lasting house. We love our concrete homes out here and maybe one day it will be more widely adopted back in the states...maybe not.
It very much depends on where in the US you are looking concrete or cinder block houses are common in south florida due to the huge termite problems there, plus they survive hurricanes better. Down there the insulating nature of ICFs is not as needed as further north. Here is an article from the Orlando Sentinel on the comparison between frame and block houses. You can reinforce the blocks with rebar. Note that because lumber is expensive in the Carribbean a lot of housing there is also block. To increase insulation foam panels could be put on the inside and outside.
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Old 08-25-2020, 04:03 PM   #37
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I appraised a nice one a while back for a local news sports guy who was a big hunter. He wanted a log home but without the maintenance. He had a concrete home that was built like a tilt-up (think Costco) but the outside had every appearance of being real logs. I asked him how he liked it and he said he did, but that he really missed having logs inside to hand all his trophy mounts. Inside was drywall like most homes and that’s not how he had envisioned it.
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Old 08-25-2020, 05:36 PM   #38
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Been looking for about 15 years at ICF

There are some good points raised, and a few that I would add...


1. ICF has been proven...cost is about 20% higher than stick, depending on your area's cost of concrete.
2. Finding an installer with experience is essential, and not going to send his kids to Ivy league schools on your project.
3. Wifi isn't an issue, just run Mesh pods via wire in the attic (plan for it)
4. Plumbing is easy, comes out the floor, and can also be installed in wall using hot knife like the electrical.
4. You can build out the walls an inch with strapping to allow for the Styrofoam to be untouched in areas.
5. ICF is VERY energy efficient...in addition to lower tonnage of equipment needed on HVAC, lower costs are observed every month.
6. Other cost offsets are higher selling price, as people who learn about it love it, and combined with the right roof, can lower your annual insurance bill.
7. Sound abatement is fantastic, good for those of us who are light sleepers or suffer from PTSD or similar.



In summary, if people cared about structure more, and the latest appliances,patterned tile, or the latest fashion trend that will be out of date in 10 years, most people would go for ICF, SIPS, or Block walls. But as any builder will tell you, very few home buyers will get overly excited about withstanding hurricane force winds (unless there is a hurricane on its way.


Hope that helps.

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Old 08-25-2020, 05:41 PM   #39
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Cinderblock houses are pretty common in Florida. They can not use the styroforms because of Termites. We can not use them in Georgia for the same reason. I have written to this Old House a few times to mention that in their show but I guess it got lost in the mail. Here in Georgia they use the styroforms to pour the basement then they remove all of the outside pieces before they backfill. Looks like a waste but Termites can be bad around here.
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Old 08-25-2020, 05:58 PM   #40
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Cinderblock houses are pretty common in Florida. They can not use the styroforms because of Termites. We can not use them in Georgia for the same reason. I have written to this Old House a few times to mention that in their show but I guess it got lost in the mail. Here in Georgia they use the styroforms to pour the basement then they remove all of the outside pieces before they backfill. Looks like a waste but Termites can be bad around here.



Hi Markie,



Good point. However there are several options in Termite prone areas. Several manufactures are injecting insecticide in the foam. In addition, there are a couple of barriers or membranes that work. EPS foam is not a food source for termites also.


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