Insulated concrete form house construction (ICF) in Maine.
Where to build, what type of home building in Maine is the real estate buzz today. When you are buying Maine land to start from scratch, and from the ground up to build your Maine house.
This real estate blog post talks about insulated concrete form construction (ICF) home building in Maine.
Since COVID virus twisted the day to day living norms, the pandemic is causing urban dwellers to pack up and head to rural areas of Maine. The Maine land sales are through the roof. The surge to gobble up Maine land listings caused by the reaction to the pandemic whiplash. The strong desire to leave behind crowded city living to head to Maine.
The insulated concrete form house construction (ICF) building increases partly due to the ease to telecommute remotely to work online.
To report to your job you pack up and bring with you to work online remotely from Maine. Because of long and strong, wall to wall local Internet connections we can splice into for broadband up here in Maine.
But a key factor in the desire to buy a parcel of Maine land and build is due to a shortage of existing housing. Since last March the Maine real estate market inventory absorption rate has been full throttle steady. Listing sales in Maine so strong around the state due in big part to the pandemic influencing where do you want to live now life choices.
Less housing stock to pick from means “what about building on Maine land” starts rolling around a Maine home buyer’s head.
For example, January 2020 statewide there were 13,000 plus single family houses for sale. This January 2021, that number was hovering around 3000 housing units.
Time to build, even with a 30% increase in construction house building material costs. Yes Maine land, they did stop making it a few years back. But with so much affordable land in Maine that is one tall drink of water and pretty wide to boot.
All this large supply of Maine land mixed with only a sparse well spaced out population. Well, it means a big selection of affordable Maine land to match up with the building options if you want to bite the bullet.
Saving on waste of time or building materials, insulated concrete form house construction has lots of advantages as this short and sweet ICF ad video demonstrates.
ICF House Construction Video
So insulated concrete form house construction using ICF blocks with R 22, R30 and higher insulation value.
ICF, where did insulated concrete form construction slowly climb onto the building menu of choices? Maine home building always ranged from stick built, modular, log home.
The ICF block house walls are usually six to eight inches thick.
Wrapped with over two and close to three inches of form insulation on each side of the form house building block. R-22 insulation value is typical but dig deep into the wallet. Here we go, hang on. Bumping it up to R-45, R-55 can make it a ROI projection game for the heating and cooling long haul.
I’ve listed lots of Maine homes for sale.
Sold a few yurts, earth homes built into the side of a hill with a grass roof or a geodesic dome or two. But ICF construction? Where did insulated construction form home building first start?
Insulated concrete form house construction, you use doubled insulated on the sides with steel-reinforced grid work center spaces inside the ICF blocks.
Tying it all together to create a strong, durable wall. Once in place on site, bring in the cement mixed nozzle to drizzle in the concrete to the open interior ICF assembly space. Werner Gregori patented the insulated construction form (ICF) design back in 1967.
Gregori got the idea on vacation at the beach and enjoying an ice cold drink kept that way because of a styrofoam cooler. And having the light bulb over his head come on thinking outside the cooler so to speak. To imagine what if the design was enlarged for application to home building construction techniques.
Like legos, but way more expensive and insulated for even cooling, better heating. Gregori, a home contractor thought insulated for house construction form (ICF) blocks could be quicker, easier and help lower house building costs.
The high R value insulated concrete form house construction blocks Gregori created were 16 inches high, 48 inches long and stuck together with a tongue in groove interlock.
Inside the “sandwich” of outside high density form sides was interlocking metal ties. Like short grids of rebar steel to secure the sides and only get stronger once concrete filler was added at the building site.
Is building a home with insulated construction form cheaper? You have to consider the years of use with lower energy bills, not just the initial ICF building costs when you do the math. You also have to tally up the price of lumber, the skilled labor in the area and does your local concrete supplier even have a pump truck. Cause if not, it’s wheel barrow time to slop in the concrete sluice.
Level to rolling Maine land works best or flat with good drainage, the right soils.
Hillside terrains don’t help the construction process either. Even if the Maine land view out front is jaw dropping and causes thousand mile stare detachment. It took time for building codes to invite in the ICF construction method. ICF home building in Maine still has some real competition with stick built, log and modular choices.
What Maine banks financing the housing and local appraisers view of value also impact whether the numbers all crunch correctly in getting a mortgage loan on an insulated construction form house building design.
ICF housing design like log homes will take time to be accepted in the building community.
Change, new ideas until they catch on in real World building practice evolves slowly in a rural state like Maine.
Time is money and the cost of other competing home building construction materials is key to determine if ICF is worth it in your climate location. Like anything, the more something catches on, the lower the costs to mass produce it. And less resistance to new energy efficient green building methods happens.
When something new comes along, the public could be excited to try it out but local contractors slow to change hurts the progress. There is nothing wrong with wait and see easy does it in life. But new is often unknown and untested.
The claim of saving energy by a third to heat a place in Northern Maine using ICF insulated concrete form block construction methods can perk the ears.
But to someone that’s a son of a birch processing ten or more cords of wood a year to heat their home, saving a few dollars on energy costs is not keeping them up nights. No worries when you own a Maine woodlot. When you enjoy keeping a year ahead on the heating supply of renewable natural resource fuel.
I know awhile back, urea formaldehyde insulation was the cats meow. Sprayed into uninsulated walls of older housing stock in Maine and then next door in New Brunswick Canada it was ripped out and given a black eye.
Cancer causing materials in a Maine house don’t help it sell.
Plus if you ever do some remodeling in a home with sprayed in urea formaldehyde wall cavity insulation, you see the shrinkage. From the sides and top of the blown in foam insulation, there is an air gap from contractions.
Where do you want to build the insulated construction form house blocks (ICF) makes a huge difference.
Frost in the ground, do you have that issue when the temperature drops? How does the location and weather around it add to the construction costs with pilings or footings to secure the house from future movement?
Watched a show about an English couple last night who found a challenging country land parcel, built an ICF home. Kinda uncomfortable watching the couple pour their life savings into a money pit. The contractor suggesting a round wall of ICF instead of the rectangle sharp corner. Ching ching big time $$.
And like lots of brand new never built before home builders, cost overruns happen with ICF or any house construction job.
Some of their own making when so many decisions to make that are tied to the wallet. Impacting it with an attitude of “we only are going to do this once” and bigger, better is added to the bottom line costs of materials.
The couple out of money borrowed heavily from their family members and the unusual house design became an addiction to feed like a cancer until complete. Heck of a view but at a hefty cost and worry about overspending sickness must diminish the panoramic setting impact. As you sit on the deck and wonder what have we done.
The show went on to highlight another English couple who bought another challenging lot that had been for sale forever and expensive demolition and construction using again ICF housing design.
Complete with opening scenes building the bliss and abandon in the dream with wall to wall glass caused a rapidly building marital rift. The house building moderator was kinda brutal in asking why are you doing this? Voicing his own sharp opinion on how ugly this or that looked.
Not pulling any punches in how exactly he felt about the ICF house design and home site chosen location.
He was smart but like Simon in the funny but barbed quips. The English home building couple did not recoil or get mad but instead lamented the costs and all the unknowns that caused the spending overruns. It seemed they felt they lost control of the spending fueled by a dream that turned into an eye watering nightmare.
The ICF home builders freely admitted the shift from knowing exactly what they wanted. That became a desperate “just end the spending pain” and lament on what have we done. And what do we do not in this sticky thicket situation.
It all makes you appreciate the workmanship of the existing New England housing stock I have listed and sold for over forty one years.
Double floors and walls, lots of lumber and carefully constructed masonry, tin ceilings, and features like summer kitchens, sleeping porches and endless supply of rooms. Bigger families and extended ones under the same multi generational roof line.
That cycle is returning as COVID sends people to spacious Maine. Those bringing online jobs with them and others deciding it is high time for retirement in Maine.
For once in your life, to roll out the blueprints. To prepare for the creating a building space to get exactly what you want in the Maine house you plan to call home. For this stage of your life, with everything you liked about where you lived before and nothing added that you disliked.
Is ICF Ideal for your housing needs today and the beyond?
For some the last home they will ever move into and others who get the bug or itch to build again. Armed with the knowledge of what they did right and what they would not do again when building a home in Maine.
Talked to a couple local Houlton Maine area builders about insulated concrete foundation ICF block homes and most praised the energy savings you get.
But if you want to change a window location, good luck when it is solid cement in that wall. The building system is all integrated and like a log home, harder to modify down the road. Because everything is tied together in the construction.
Know how a log home purloin runs the length of that exposed cathedral ceiling? When there is a house fire, replacing a section of the damaged purloin is not so easy to splice into happens. That’s why house insurance is higher on log cabins.
I asked a couple Houlton Maine area contractors about wiring… how to run those lines when concrete walls happen. Running a groove in the insulation like a channel in a log home is one remedy. Or creating “chases” for the power line much like the conduit used in hospital and nursing homes that are exposed but covered. Maybe on top of a beam and hidden comes into play. To run lines you don’t want to see after the house construction is complete.
Here to help you locate the perfect piece of Maine land to build whatever home on it.
A simple in town or waterfront lot, a couple acres of country land in Maine. If you are thinking start from scratch and build a Maine home that reflects your perfect design no matter what material. Thank you for reading this blog post on insulation form construction ICF home building on Maine land.
I’m Maine REALTOR Andrew Mooers, ME Broker
207.532.6573 | MOOERS REALTY 69 North ST Houlton ME 04730 USA