Frequently Asked Questions 1. 2 3 4 5
What is an ICF? What is IntegraSpec®’s major benefit? What are IntegraSpec®’s other benefits? Are IntegraSpec® homes too airtight? Why is radiant floor heating so popular with IntegraSpec®?
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What about other construction trades? What distinguishes IntegraSpec® from other ICFs? What are the cost comparisons? How do I learn more about IntegraSpec®?
1- What is an ICF? IntegraSpec® is an Insulating Concrete Form (ICF) consisting of two panels of expanded polystyrene (EPS) married with high impact polystyrene spacers used to hold patented webs designed to rebar as needed. Once stacked together, these forms represent a mold ready for concrete placement, similar to a traditionally poured concrete wall. IntegraSpec®’s forms never leave the concrete. This wall system now serves a multitude of tasks: Structural Support: Super Insulation: Strapping/Furring: Air/Vapour Barrier: Render Substrate:
(concrete and steel) (EPS panels and thermal mass) (40mm spacers at 200mm centres) (Low permeate EPS in continuous contact with concrete) (Single material EPS type II)
2- What is IntegraSpec®’s Major Benefit? Energy efficiency; with the combination of insulation on the outside of the wall attacking cold or heat, and the insulation on the inside of the wall defending the comfort that has been paid for, a synergetic relationship occurs. This is a relationship where the total thermal performance is greater than the sum of the insulating components. You also need to take into consideration the benefits of greatly reduced air infiltration. Because of the insulated thermal mass that is created with IntegraSpec® walls, a “heat sink” effect occurs. Therefore, outside temperature swings are greatly moderated within the area protected by IntegraSpec®. 3- What are IntegraSpec®’s Other Benefits? Wind resistance. In coastal areas and "tornado alleys", IntegraSpec® walls can be constructed with increased steel reinforcement bars to withstand extreme wind forces. Reduced injury from airborne projectiles in extreme storms is also a major benefit.
Improved air quality is for everyone living in an IntegraSpec® home. The elimination of mold, mildew, and volatile organic compounds (VOC), is such that an IntegraSpec® home recently won "Environmental Excellence" and "EnviroHome" awards in North America, as well as "Healthy Homes" and "Built Green" designations. Moisture protection from IntegraSpec® walls is an important benefit even for house plans totally above grade. Condensation can be eliminated because of the outside insulation and inside insulation working together again. Living areas below grade are called "Lower Levels" in an IntegraSpec® home, not basements or cellars! Many below grade waterproofing systems can be easily and economically applied to ensure dry, healthy, and safe usable living space. As noted above, structural stability is important when considering shelter from a storm. IntegraSpec® walls can also support greater loads (i.e. log homes and steel trusses) with maximum strength concrete, cured under optimal conditions inside the IntegraSpec® wall system. Also, as open spans and higher backfill heights increase in demand, IntegraSpec® offers simple solutions - which is why architects and designers are confidently specifying IntegraSpec®. Fire resistance is a major benefit for those living in wild land / urban interface zones or shared wall residences. IntegraSpec® forms are designed to be economically upgraded to meet commercial fire resistant standards ensuring superior safety for your family. IntegraSpec® homes are also very quiet. IntegraSpec® homeowners all comment regarding how much they enjoy the quiet comfort provided by IntegraSpec®. 4- Are IntegraSpec® Homes Too Airtight? No. Ask the professionals; controlled ventilation is always preferred. Houses built with today’s technologies should all include an Energy Recovery Ventilation (ERV) system or Heat Recovery Ventilation (HRV) system. These systems filter and buffer fresh air into your home and exhaust stale air and moisture from laundry, bathrooms, and kitchens. Remember, you control the ventilation and you can always open a window. 5- Why is Radiant Floor Heating so Popular with IntegraSpec®? Professionals recommend rigid insulation underneath a heated concrete floor. The insulated thermal mass created with this technique within IntegraSpec® walls is very energy efficient. When the concrete slab is heated by hot water running through tubes within the slab, the entire IntegraSpec® home becomes very resistant to outside temperature fluctuations. It is also interesting to note, research is disclosing increased health and wellness of those living in such houses.
6- What About Other Construction Trades? Drywall is easily installed on the 40mm studs / furring strips, every 200mm. Your drywall is now mounted onto furring strips embedded onto a reinforced concrete wall. Say goodbye to drywall screws damaging your drywall because the wood studs twisted. Electricians working with IntegraSpec® walls are using electric chainsaws to cut the chases for your wiring (vegetable oil is used instead of chain oil to eliminate VOCs). Standard electrical boxes are mounted to the concrete with a "tapcon" and metal stud flange boxes are being mounted to the furring strips.
External cladding professionals have the 40mm furring strips at 200mm centres and at each outside corner to fasten the cladding, as do bricklayers when supporting the brick with metal brick ties. The outside corners also have a vertical cavity for metal or wood inserts for additional fastening capabilities. Render installers quickly realize the benefits of applying their products to an IntegraSpec® wall. There are no exposed furring strips or "webs" and the steel reinforced wall is so stable that stucco cracks are eliminated - unlike conventional construction. No need to install insulation board as the IntegraSpec® walls are ready for the prep-coat and fibre mesh. Plumbers typically use the interior walls to run their systems; sleeves are easily placed through the wall for water, hose bibs, sewer/septic connections, and so on, prior to the placement of concrete. Framing contractors can use conventional framing methods and the use of steel studs in IntegraSpec® houses is on the rise. Anchor bolts are placed into the wet concrete as specified for floor and roof connections. 7- What Distinguishes IntegraSpec® from Other ICFs? IntegraSpec® was designed to be "The user friendly ICF". Concerns regarding transportation costs and site storage are quickly alleviated. The forming units are easily transported in flat bundles 1.2m long shrink-wrapped in plastic. The "webs" are transported separately in cardboard boxes. Also, because of the plastic wrap, freezing rain, snow, and ultra violet sunlight problems are eliminated. IntegraSpec® forming units are assembled on your site. When the patented webs are placed into the forming units they lock together. This unique feature eliminates form lift and compression during the placement of the concrete. No other ICF offers this patented feature. IntegraSpec®’s interlocking web also reduces the number of braces required during concrete placement and greatly reduces the use of fibre tape. IntegraSpec®’s new alignment/bracing system is lightweight, safe, and takes only one person to operate when aligning the wall after concrete placement. IntegraSpec®’s patented reversible, interlocking "Lego" design is one of the best kept secrets in the ICF business. Waste is virtually eliminated since forming units cut horizontally and for gable angles are easily reversed and used elsewhere. House designs with numerous doors, windows, and gables are efficiently constructed with IntegraSpec®. Contractors quickly realize the waste reduction benefits and no tipping fees for waste disposal. Experienced installers use a table-saw or miter saw on site to quickly and effectively cut panels, a luxury not available with pre-assembled style ICFs. The dovetailed ridges on the inside of the forming units ensure permanent contact between the concrete and the IntegraSpec® form, thus reducing air infiltration. IntegraSpec® is truly the toughest ICF in the industry today. With their very simple product line, the customer is now able to build a 100mm, 125mm, 150mm, 200mm, 225mm, 250mm, 275mm, 300mm and up concrete core wall system using the patented "H-clip".
(Recently, a 4P high wall was completed with a PP concrete core IntegraSpecÂŽ performed with amazing strength and accuracy. Previous to this project, the same architect completed a P high wall with a PP concrete core. Such concrete widths have not been available with an ICF). Competitive quotes, including speed in layout and setup time, ease of concrete placement, along with all of the benefits mentioned above are reasons why contractors and home owners choose IntegraSpecÂŽ wall system.
8- What are the Cost Comparison? IntegraSpecÂŽ lower level walls typically cost more than traditionally poured, non-reinforced, damproofed concrete walls at the "ready for drywall" stage. This cost is easily attributed to IntegraSpecÂŽâ€™s steel reinforcement bar, double insulation inside and outside of the concrete wall, furring strips every 200mm centre, and the waterproofing. Your investment in IntegraSpecÂŽ includes a finished lower level to your height specifications with windows where you want them, not at the top of the wall. How much is a â€œHealthy Homeâ€? worth? Negating off-gassing from oil found in traditional â€œcast in placeâ€? concrete walls is not too mush to ask for. The superior air quality is priceless. When comparing IntegraSpecÂŽ to above grade construction, the comparables are more diverse. Obviously IntegraSpecÂŽ is more expensive than a stick built wall with minimum building code comparables, but every component added to provide the necessary specification for comfort or security brings IntegraSpecÂŽâ€™s cost similar to those of conventional, and in some cases less. To what are you comparing IntegraSpecÂŽ? Do you require protection from high winds? Is air conditioning considered necessary and is electricity expensive in your area? All of these questions and more will help determine the overall cost difference for an ICF in your home.
9- How Do I Learn More About IntegraSpecÂŽ? Ask your architect or designer about IntegraSpecÂŽ or ICFs in general. www.integraspecgb.co.uk with them and then ask their opinion.
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Ask your General Contractor to provide an IntegraSpecÂŽ quote. Estimates are free and will not delay your project. Making an informed decision is the key to the success of your new home or project. If unable to locate someone near you, call our head office or contact us via email, email@example.com, and we will provide you with the nearest IntegraSpecÂŽ Representative to help with your IntegraSpecÂŽ needs.