Traditional concrete basements and foundations can’t compare to the new foundation technology available in Insulated Concrete Form (ICF) reinforced blocks. We took a side-by-side comparison of traditional concrete versus one ICF manufacturer, Fox Blocks, for use in constructing a Katahdin Cedar Log Home. We learned that the benefits of Omaha, Neb.-based Fox Blocks cover the spectrum of performance, from lower labor costs to a more comfortable and energy efficient result.
Traditional Poured Concrete Basements
The traditional poured concrete foundation requires intense, specialized labor to set up the bulky wooden forms. Abundant concrete material is required for walls thick enough to carry the structure’s load. Once uncovered, traditional concrete basements require additional application of vapor barriers, wood studs, insulation and air sealing to meet new efficiency requirements. Poured concrete foundations are old technology that’s difficult to assemble. If improperly finished, the form ties that hold the form in place can cause leaks in areas where water can seep in. However, when poured and constructed properly, traditional concrete basements can provide stable and long-lasting foundations.
Fox Blocks — A Proven Solution
Fox Blocks are manufactured from expanded polystyrene (EPS) with built-in features that make them an easy-to-use, interlocking and insulating concrete form. Much like the way cedar logs at Katahdin are milled to fit together seamlessly, Fox Blocks have a five-in-one construction assembly that brings together:
- Seamless interior and exterior insulation,
- Reversible interlocking
- Vapor barrier
- Built-in furring to allow for additional finishing
- 4- to 12-inch concrete form to adjust for different load requirements
- Air barrier
- Rebar saddle for reinforcement
Benefits of ICF Block Foundations
With their easy locking assembly and built-in insulation, ICF blocks from Fox Blocks are a money-saving solution. Fox Blocks provide enhanced thermal mass energy efficiency and their engineering reduces the amount of concrete material needed for a basement foundation in your Katahdin Cedar Log Home. The expanded polystyrene forms block moisture intrusion and provide a continuous thermal barrier, with no thermal bridging that can result in reduced energy efficiency. In fact, Fox Blocks exceed below-grade requirements by as much as 20% for energy efficiency codes and will require additional waterproof membrane application for basements.