ICFs are hollow blocks or panels made from expanded polystyrene (EPS). They are stacked to create an external wall, then reinforced with steel rods. Concrete is poured into the hollows to create a strong, energy-efficient and noise insulating permanent structure.
For their single storey, four-bedroom home, Andrea Bell-Booth and her partner were looking for a more solid alternative to traditional timber framing and brick veneer cladding. They particularly wanted something that would reduce the transmission of noise from neighbours.
Eventually it was the ICF system that caught their eyes, offering both thermal and soundproofing in one solution. The structural integrity of solid concrete walling also gave them the flexibility to add another storey in the future, as well as alter the internal fit-out whenever they wanted.
“As we used ICF for all external walls and conventional insulated timber walls internally, we now have total flexibility in re-arranging our ground floor to suit an expansion upwards,” Andrea says.