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Standard ICF Installation Instructions
Section 4

Preface (about this manual)
System Description and Specifications
Applications and Design Plans
Wall Layout
Materials and Tools
Handling and Storage
First Course
Cut Forms and Splices
Cutting Forms
Gluing Forms
Additional Courses

Horizontal Re-Bar
Vertical Re-Bar
Intersecting Walls (T-walls)
Exterior Bracing
Window and Door Openings
45-Degree and Other Custom Corners
Rim Joists and Ledgers
Beam and Girder Pockets
Brick Ledge
Utility, Mechanical, and Service
Scaffolding and Bracing Bucks
Before Concrete Checklist
Concrete Placement
Concrete Consolidation
After Concrete Placement
Concrete Curing and Removal of Bracing

Interior and Exterior Finishes
Above Grade Walls
Waterproofing Below Grade
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Copyright Information

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Section 4

Interior and Exterior Finishes

Standard ICFs™ eliminate the need for an interior vapor barrier or an airflow retarder because there is no air movement through the wall. There is also no need for exterior sheathings, weather barriers, or house wraps because the forms filled with concrete provide a good substrate (backing) and are already weather repellent.

All commonly used standard finishes (brick, stone, stucco, surface bonding cement and plaster, drywall, face brick, cultured stone, paneling, wood and vinyl siding, and metal siding) can be applied and secured to Standard ICFs™. Finish materials are attached with course thread screws to the stud flanges and the corner bracket or bonded directly to the foam surface. However, when attaching wood siding, it may be advisable to first add wood furring strips as recommended by the Wood Siding Industry to provide an air space that aids in stabilizing the wood. Furring may also be advisable for other siding or wall covering applications.

When attaching base molding, it may be helpful to add a strip of plywood below the drywall, behind where the base molding will be installed. This method will allow for the use of nails by finish carpenters, and can be used in other areas where attachment is a concern, such as behind cabinets. Stud surfaces are located every 12-inches throughout the wall assembly and at the corners. Care should always be taken not to strip the threads in the plastic studs and corner bracket when attaching any finish materials, and use only foam-compatible adhesives. It may be advisable to attach or anchor heavy objects to the concrete itself, which is 2 3/8-inches below the surface of the foam.

Always follow the recommendations and procedures provided by the manufacturer when applying materials to Standard ICFs™. It is common practice and advisable not to apply materials that are impervious to water vapor to more than one side of the wall so that drying can take place. This is true of all exterior wall systems.

UV rays from sunlight cause oxidation on the forms' surface. For this reason, it is necessary to remove (by rasping) the accumulated dust before installing finishes that require bonding directly to the forms. It may sometimes be necessary to perform a test on a sample area or on a form prior to the actual full and final installation of a product. (back to top)

Above Grade Walls

Above grade walls are built basically the same as those below grade, but because of dissimilar loading requirements, and because above grade walls usually contain more windows and door openings, steel reinforcing requirements may be different. Care should be taken to identify those areas of the wall with load points which will require special reinforcing design such as lintels over openings, beam pockets, floor and roof trusses, gable ends, and etc.(back to top)

Waterproofing Below Grade

It is essential that all below grade walls be waterproofed, especially those involving a living space. A waterproofing material can help keep water out of the building and can also protect the integrity of the EPS foam over time. There are numerous types of commercially available waterproofing products. It is essential that waterproofing materials applied to Standard ICF wall surfaces be compatible with EPS foam plastic and that the installation of these products follow the manufacturer's recommendations and procedures.

In combination with the installation of a waterproofing system, we recommend the installation of a well-designed French drainage system. This will remove excess water from the footer and wall area. Standard ICF walls alone are not to be considered waterproof and Standard ICF™ Corporation assumes no responsibility for the entry of water or the migration of moisture through the walls or the failure of any waterproofing system.

There are a number of waterproofing systems. One type of waterproofing is rubberized asphalt compound waterproofing membrane system. This "peel-n-stick" membrane can be applied to concrete and foam surfaces with the use of a surface preparation or contact primer. These (compound and fabric) composite membranes are applied in vertical sheets 36 to 48-inches wide with overlapping compound-to-compound joints. Peel-n-stick membranes have become a standard for waterproofing ICFs below grade and can be easily applied by the wall installation crew.

The membranes are best applied during temperatures of 40-degrees and rising, because warming temperatures accelerate application. At low temperatures, the use of a hot air gun to warm the wall surface and the membrane will help ensure adhesion and bonding. When applying at the lower temperatures, it is best to store the membrane and primer materials in a warm environment prior to usage.

All waterproofing systems require a clean dry surface. Some waterproofing products or applications may require the use of a protection board and/or drainage board, depending on the type of backfill material and drainage system used. When backfilling, be careful not to damage the waterproofing material, and do not allow large or sharp pieces of backfill material to rest on or near the wall surface where settling may cause damage over time.

Rubberized asphalt "peel-n-stick" waterproofing membranes are available from ICF Building Product: www.icfbp.com. (back to top)


For below grade walls requiring backfilling, remove the bracing after the wall has developed adequate strength and is supported laterally at the top by the floor or roof, and at the bottom by the floor. Normal building steps and procedures usually allow enough time for adequate concrete strength to develop, however it is best not to rush the process.

It is important to consider the design of the French drainage system and the type of waterproofing system when choosing the kind of backfill material. It is important to select a combination of materials that will work and remain effective over time. Materials such as sand, gravel, or sand and gravel, make very good backfill because they settle quickly and percolate water. Care should be taken so as not to damage the waterproofing material when backfilling. See: Concrete Curing and Removal of Bracing, and Waterproofing Below Grade.(back to top)


Standard ICF Corporation is committed to producing the highest quality products and warrants their products against substandard materials and manufacturing defects that do not conform to their own published specifications. The discovery of any product defects should be brought to the immediate attention of our business office by calling 800-424-9255. Standard ICF™ Corporation assumes no responsibility for product or system performance once installation has occurred. All material damaged during shipment is the responsibility of the transport company and all claims should be directed to them for compensation. (back to top)

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Copyright: All printed and electronically available material created, produced, and/or published by Standard ICF Corporation are protected by U.S. Copyright laws. Anyone copying or distributing such materials without the consent of Standard ICF™ Corporation will be in violation of the law. Any person or organization may copy, use, and distribute all or part of said materials for the sole purposes of sale, installation, promotion, distribution, and marketing of Standard ICF Corporation's products only. Any questions concerning use of said materials should be directed to Standard ICF Corporation by calling 800-424-9255 or 800-925-3676. (back to top)

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