On August 26, 2006, we started cutting and assembling the ICFs. What the heck are ICFs, you ask? Good question. Glad you asked. ICF stands for Insulating Concrete Form. Basically, instead of using boards to form a cavity to pour concrete into, you can buy these blocks which are two pieces of styrofoam with plastic webbing in the center that holds the styrofoam together and gives you a place to snap in the reinforcing rod (rebar). They interlock at top and bottom like Legos.Because of the odd shape of our house, we couldn’t get ICFs with premade corners. We used straight sections and cut the 11.25 degree angles with guides we built.
The foundation (including footings) is only 28″ deep, not nearly to the frost line. In order to achieve this, we designed it as a Frost-Protected Shallow Foundation (FPSF). This style of foundation is very common in Scandinavian countries and is gaining popularity in the US due to the lower cost of excavating and less concrete use.
After we cut and assembled the ICFs we braced the corners with wire mesh and put sleeves through the walls to allow for utility pipes and wiring. We also made openings for the doors and sealed up all the gaps with expanding foam. The whole thing took us about a week, and Frank came back out and poured concrete into the forms. He then dumped more sand in the center and compacted it down.
So, another day or two of work for Frank, and a couple of weeks of work for us. Did I mention we are not trained professionals?