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BuildBlock® Insulating Concrete Forms. BuildBlock® insulated concrete forms provide a lightweight, high-strength alternative to using steel or wood frame. What are insulating concrete forms?Insulating Concrete Forms (ICFs) are hollow foam blocks which are stacked into the shape of the exterior walls of a building, reinforced with steel rebar, and then filled with concrete. Insulating concrete forms combine one of the finest insulating materials, Expanded Polystyrene (EPS), with one of the strongest structural building materials, steel reinforced concrete. The result is a wall system of unmatched comfort, energy efficiency, strength and noise reduction. What's the difference between insulating concrete forms and insulated concrete forms?They refer to the same thing and you'll see both phrases throughout our website. However, the term insulating concrete form is more precise because it indicates that the insulating characteristic of the form is continuous and ongoing. What are the advantages of an insulated concrete form structure?Insulated Concrete form structures are much more comfortable, quiet, and energy-efficient than those built with traditional construction methods. Use the menu on the right for more details about the advantages of insulated concrete form homes and buildings. Why Choose BuildBlock ICFs? Here are the many advantages BuildBlock ICFs have over other manufactures' ICFs: 1. Fully Reversible: BUILDBLOCK© ICFs are 100% reversible while the vast majority of all ICFs are non-reversible or only partly reversible. This means when you pick up a BuildBlock© ICF, you don't waste your time determining if the ICF needs to be turned up or down or left or right to be installed. With a reversible ICF like BuildBlock©, it always fits no matter which way you turn it. When it comes to corners, one BuildBlock© ICF corner is the same for right or left applications. Non-reversible ICFs come in left and right hand corners which create several disadvantages. First, our distributors tell us they can't count the times when they' ve picked up the wrong corner with other ICFs and marched to the far end of an installation only to find they needed the other hand corner. Second, when you get to the last course there is a good chance you will have the wrong corners (left or right) remaining. The waste factor for fully reversible ICFs can be as little as 1 or 2%, while waste factors of 5% or more are common with non-reversible ICFs. When using products other than BuildBlock© ICFs, you must take this into account, as well as the extra cost for the extra ICFs needed to do the job. 2. Corner Blocks: BUILDBLOCK© 90o and 45o ICF corner blocks are 6" longer on each leg than the industry standard. The many advantages this gives to our product include shorter offsets that get you past the crucial short offset. This eliminates many hours of extra corner bracing and extra strapping. The longer corner blocks prevent corner pullout and head joints from opening up leaving you with a wall that isn't plumb or straight. When corners pull out this can typically lead to blowouts which are common in the industry among other ICFs. The extended corner form significantly reduces corner shifting and enhances the overall stability of every pour. On a 4 to 5 day job this can amount to a full days savings in labor costs. 3. Numbered and Marked Cut Lines: BUILDBLOCK© ICFs have horizontal and vertical cut lines on both sides of the ICF which allow for much faster and more efficient installation times. The ability to pick a horizontal line for your window and door headers saves countless time in the field. No need for a level to mark a level line to cut on. There is no longer a need to measure your vertical cuts. Simply note the measurement number on the block and cut on its line for a custom cut piece that fits every time. 4. Horizontal Connections: BUILDBLOCK© ICFs are not a tongue-and-groove or ship-lap-style form. There are a few brands of ICFs on the market that still use the old school technology. They are much inferior to modern ICFs since tongue and groove blocks dont have interlocking nubs. This causes other ICFs to be more material and labor intensive (including using excessive amounts of glue, strapping tape, zip-ties, form lock, bracing and crew training). BuildBlock©s 1-inch repeating pattern and its molded cut lines pre-align the installation of our ICF and eliminate block alignment issues that other ICFs create. This eliminates block misalignment and the built in furring strips from not lining up, giving you a better job every time. Just wait until you have to explain to your sheet rockers why the furring strips don't line up with the use of older style forms. The self alignment of BuildBlock© ICFs solves all these headaches and many more. This also reduces the need for glue and other methods of holding the blocks together. Waste on every project is further reduced. 5. Half Height Cutting: BUILDBLOCK© ICFs are easily cut in half to make half height forms. With the unique web design the half height form needs no additional bracing. This allows for special height walls without wasting half a block or more on each cut. Use both halves thus eliminating the waste and the extra cuts needed with other ICFs. This also eliminates the need to order special height forms with other systems (if they make them). In addition, the built-in rebar scallops on the inside of the web will also hold your rebar in place as well. 6. Block Bonding: BUILDBLOCK© ICFs bond out to even and odd inches from outside to outside and inside to outside corners. They also have a minimum bump factor of -inch when necessary. Of all ICFs in the industry today that have interlocking nubs, most of them have a bump factor of 1 inch or more. (Some ICFs have up to a 6-inch bump factor.) This transforms into less waste on every project as well as walls that match the floor plans of your designs. Another great benefit of BuildBlock's interlocking connections is the self draining nature of the design. When it rains, water doesn't pool in the connections as can occur with other ICFs. Therefore, in freezing weather there's no water to freeze keeping you from stacking the next day until everything thaws. 7. Tie Web Spacing/Attach Points:BUILDBLOCK© ICFs have web spacing on 6 inch centers. Most ICFs come with 8 to 12 inch spacing on the webs. This is a cost-cutting feature and as a result reduces the over all performance and quality of the project. The 6-inch spacing eliminates the scallop effect of the concrete pressure distorting the ICFs on the outside during the pour. Also, it further reduces the chance of any blowouts. Having two extra furring strips per block per side (which are part of each web) give sheet rockers more attachment points to fasten to. Webs are expensive and having two more webs in our ICFs gives you the most value added product on the market. All furring strips are 15" tall by 1.5" wide per 16" course and have two distinctive marked (sweet) spots on each furring strip at 8 inch centers vertically and 6 inch centers horizontally. These spots have a screw pull out strength that is roughly equivalent to wood or structural steel studs (close to 500lbs). Deeper snap-in rebar saddles accommodate two #5 rebar and the patented corner tie is 6" x 6" wide and 2.5" tall for simplified corner attachments. All ties or furring strips are recessed-inch to allow stucco or EIFS applications as approved by the manufacturers. Why installers choose BuildBlock ICFs over the competition:BuildBlock© ICFs are totally reversible. BuildBlock© ICFs are completely assembled. BuildBlock© ICFs are industry standard size: 16 high x 48 long BuildBlock© ICFs have strong interlocking connections. BuildBlock© ICFs have a 1-inch repeating cut pattern. BuildBlock© ICFs feature molded-in horizontal cut lines. BuildBlock© ICFs feature molded-in, numbered vertical cut lines. BuildBlock© ICFs have a high-density plastic web molded into place every 6 inches on center.