I just heard of "insulating concrete form" construction for the first time today. It's basically a set of styrofoam forms that snap together like building blocks, and then concrete is poured in it. This is for residential construction. Has anyone here had any experience with wiring a house like this? It appears that the wiring is done after the concrete is poured, by cutting channels in the styrofoam and embedding the wiring. There is some means of fastening the drywall over the styrofoam, like plastic strips (to screw into) built into the forms, or something like that.
I'm wondering how one protects the wiring in this type of construction, and if the electrical instalation is very time consuming. My friend who told me about this said he heard ICF homes were the quickest to install power, plumbing, etc., in, but somehow I don't believe this. Anyone know about this stuff?
I've done timber-framed houses with those foam panel walls. The GC showed us neat trick (he of course had done many more than we had). We used a gem box (old work) cut into the plywood. Then take a torch to a plumb bob and drop it down the wall. It would melt it's way right down the wall. Not sure what kind of fumes we were exposing ourselves to.
But to CRW's question: No haven't heard of that construction before. The only thing that sounds like a pain to me is learning a new technique, otherwise its all work no matter how you do it. (its all a pain). Just like the rope guys cringe at the thought of new homes in EMT. It's all I've ever done, and once you get the routine down, it's not that hard.
Re: wiring in ICF construction#36116 03/28/0407:48 PM03/28/0407:48 PM
I have done several of these foam form houses- usually stick built home on a basement poured out of these. they are a major PITA. depending on the forms used the foam thickness is 1/2 to 2 1/2 inches thick. AHJ's here want all electrical and lv (phone and tv) in conduit and boxes. no matter how thick the wall foam is- usually do all of the runs in the ceiling cavity and do vertical drops useing emt down to a 4 sq box and a mudring. in our cold climate the problem has come up later on after we do the noching of the foam and install the conduit the cold permeates the void and the wall will form condensation in these vertical areas on the surface of the drywall. so now we usually have to spray foam over our conduit so it has a similar insulation value as the rest of the wall....any questions? also very very messy.lots of foam beads all over!