Canadian Contractor

Answering readers’ questions on ICFs, Part 1 (VIDEO)



Gary Meine, architectural technologist for NUDURA, discusses why builders usually find the switch to ICFs over stick-frame houses relatively easy

In this video, NUDURA architectural technologist Gary Meine gets asked some questions by veteran house framer Rob Koci.

Rob’s first question is essentially this: “Since customers don’t look behind the walls to see if a house is built with the traditional stick-frame method or a modular method like ICFs, why would a contractor care to choose ICFs anyway?”

Gary’s answers will surprise some of you.


Rob’s second question is boils down to: “Why would a contractor want to change their entire method of framing a house, if they have been building with wooden studs and joists for years – as most of us have?”

Gary’s answers here are very interesting and compelling.

Rob’s third question is: “What about your sub trades? Are they going to be able to deal with ICFs without missing a beat? Electricians, for example?”

Gary once again has some good news here, too.

And the final question Rob asks is: “What about finishing the basement of an ICF house? How difficult is it to hang the drywall without exposed studs or strapping to attach to – just EPS foam?”

Gary answers that one as well.

If you have YOUR OWN questions about ICFs (whether they are NUDURA brand or someone else’s) please email them to



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1 Comment » for Answering readers’ questions on ICFs, Part 1 (VIDEO)
  1. Kayne says:

    I have worked on eight ICF houses over the years and I always found it problematic on how to seal the exterior envelope, especially in the window box areas. With vinyl flange windows or vinyl inserts throughout a wall assembly and multiple assorted penetrations making it difficult to seal against the foam, do we:
    a. Cut back to the concrete so the flanges are sealing against a solid monolithic slab, sealing the flanges with caulking, with base of window outflow allowances made for broken vinyl trim which allows water access into the monolithic slab behind the foam.

    b. Cut the flanges off totally and use foam rod and caulk across all wall penetrations.

    c. Use pan flashings within all openings in the ICF?

    When we were doing cementitious coatings on ICF, I had some success using the pan flashing method as long as I was able to get in before the windows were installed (which was rare ). I found using a fiber coated membrane in conjunction with a water-based primer on the ICF worked but I always sleep lightly wondering if I went to get a call in the middle of a rainy night.
    I honestly try to stay away from ICF homes if I haven’t seen the engineering and design work behind all the wall penetrations and know that they have been addressed.
    I also worked at a EIFS and steel panelling plant trying to get certification for window installations from Hershey Warnock. It was one of the most intriguing educations I have had defining how to keep water out of an envelope. It was a while back but I think we ended up getting the certification which took over two years and countless tests.
    I can’t imagine that happening in the field and some contractor has one days worth of training under his belt and figures he can put up in ICF foundation.
    I would enjoy seeing their opening details just so I get a better understanding and maybe learn something new.

    Take care.

    Fantastic magazine by the way.

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