Insulated Concrete Form Prices
Building costs are a huge factor in choosing your building products. Everyone has a budget even if all budgets are not the same. We believe the best way to build in most cases is with insulated concrete forms or ICF’s.
Insulated concrete form prices play into this and we are going to shine some light on the subject.
Insulated concrete form prices can be difficult to understand in the beginning, especially if you aren’t familiar with the process. This is partly the fault of the ICF industry, but mostly the fault or simple misunderstanding of the product and how it is sold.
Buying direct from a distributor or manufacturer
Some ICF manufacturers and or distributors will sell directly to anyone that contacts them. DIYers mostly are interested in this option, but it is rarely the best option. Some manufacturers do not allow their distributors to sell to anyone but certified installers.
Insulated concrete form prices are typically figured by square foot. This gets a little complicated when you get your square footage figured out and place your order only to find that the price is higher than you expected.
This is because insulated concrete forms are sold in bundles or pallets, not individually, So you have to purchase more based on the way it is packaged than you may actually need. You also get freight added to the cost which typically isn’t part of the quote you got because it varies.
We have seen prices for the forms alone vary from just under $3 per sq ft to over $7 per sq ft.
This number is also deceiving because the insulated concrete form is only a small part of the equation to completing your ICF wall. We have found over the years that the cost of the form is about 25% of the total cost.
You’re going to need tools – specialty tools
Now that you have purchased your insulated concrete forms, what do you do next. I mean, how do you install them? I was told it’s as easy as stacking legos!
Well if you have the right tools and some experience it can be that easy. If not, please leave it to the professionals.
First off you are going to have to take delivery of the material. No tools needed here, just labor. ICF’s are shipped on semi trucks. Semi truck drivers do not help unload! This is very important to know before you get yourself into a pickle. They will also only stay for a limited amount of time, so unloading by yourself is not a good option. You are going to need help and you are probably going to have to compensate your help.
As you start building and stacking your icf, you have to install rebar horizontally as you go. The icf’s are designed to hold the rebar in place without having to be tied, but you still need the tools to cut and bend the rebar as needed. You will also need to cut some icf in places as well.
Then comes probably the biggest tool you will need. The bracing or scaffolding system. These are made specifically for the insulated concrete forms. These are very expensive although they can be rented from ICF distributors usually. Even renting them will come with a hefty price though. You will also need cordless screw guns and a corded hamerdrill to install the braces.
You will also need some wood working tools for building the door and window bucks. We use a table saw, circular saws, cordless screw guns, drills and jig saws in some cases.
You will also need a concrete vibrator during the pour. This if used properly will insure you don’t have any voids in your wall. You will not be able to see this, you will have to feel it.
Let’s pour some concrete – vertically!
So you bought the icf directly and had it delivered. You were able to rent the tools you needed and hired some help to get it all installed and now its time to put the concrete in the walls. Congrats, this is a big step, but don’t relax yet. This gets dangerous. The bracing is all that is holding you up and keeping the wall from falling over as well.
Icf bracing systems use turnbuckles to allow for adjustment of the wall. This is critical during the concrete pour because the wall does move when the concrete is being pumped into it. The concrete is falling from the pump truck into your walls. As it falls it is hitting the bouncing around the rebar, door and window bucks and the sides of the forms as well.
You need extra help on the pour day to keep the walls straight and plumb. This needs to be at least two people dedicated to this and this alone.
After you fill the icf with concrete you are pretty much done except for clean up and tear down of the bracing once the walls have set up. You want to do this probably the next day or two after the pour because you are paying for the tools and bracing most likely by the day. You will need help to get this done efficiently.
Or you can hire an ICF subcontractor
The easiest and most accurate way to figure insulated concrete forms prices is to hire a qualified ICF installer. These guys do this every day and give you a firm price before starting. They will include the actual ICF, the rebar, the window and door bucks, the concrete, the pump truck, the bracing, the tools and all the labor. They will give you a turn key price that currently in east Texas should be in the range of $17 to $22 per sq ft of the ICF wall.
So how can I really figure my price?
I’ve gone through an example of doing it yourself and one of hiring an ICF contractor. You will not know until you are done what your actual cost will be if you do this on your own. You also will not be able to accurately schedule because there are a lot of things that go into building an icf structure that if you aren’t familiar with will take extra time to figure out.
Go with a Certified Insulated Concrete Form Sub Contractor for upfront and accurate pricing, every time.
We’ll go over and discuss in more detail actual real world cost and savings when using ICF in your build.
Got any questions please leave them in the comments section below and we will address them.
Thank you, I hope you found this educational.