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Building a ‘Powerhouse’ with ICF and Cold-Formed Steel

Building a ‘Powerhouse’ with ICF and Cold-Formed Steel- Insulated Concrete Forms and a Concrete Flooring System - iSPAN System- Banner

Working together, these two construction materials have benefits that beat out any others. Let’s take a closer look.

Undertaking a residential project can be stressful enough, considering all of the factors that go into it. But if you’re going to do it, do it right – make it a powerful solution that will ensure the homeowner is happy for decades to come. 

ICF is a dream solution for vertical components of residential structures, especially for below-grade applications. Cold-formed steel is also an incredibly beneficial product for houses and mid-rise construction. iSPAN Systems is the manufacturer of cold-formed-steel systems, and has a flooring system called Composite TotalJoist that is designed to work with ICF blocks.

Combining insulated concrete forms and cold-formed steel can deliver better results in every way – let’s dive in!

Building the Strongest and Most Durable Homes

Developers who want structures that last beyond a lifetime must use materials designed to be superior in every way. 

ICF is built using insulated blocks. These blocks have concrete poured between the insulation panels to create a solid, seamless wall. Concrete gives the wall high compressive strength, while the steel reinforcement gives high tensile strength.

Cold-formed-steel is often used in conjunction with concrete as durable floors for residential structures supported by ICF. First the steel joists are laid out, then the corrugated floor decking is installed, and concrete is poured on top.

Building a ‘Powerhouse’ with ICF and Cold-Formed Steel- Insulated Concrete Forms and a Concrete Flooring System - iSPAN System- 1

This practically impenetrable concrete wall and concrete floor assembly is highly resistant to hurricanes, water penetration and insects/rodents. The steel in the Composite TotalJoist is also heavily resistant to corrosion.

Making Residential Construction Easier

All contractors want projects that go as planned. By choosing the right products, it is much easier for them to find efficiencies and ensure that there are fewer hiccups along the way.

Installing ICF blocks can be done incredibly fast – a small team can create a home’s basement frame in less than a day. This time savings can mean that fewer labourers are needed, and other project activities can start sooner. 

iSPAN’s Composite TotalJoist is simple to install. When the lightweight steel product is delivered, each prefabricated piece is labelled and ready for immediate installation. Corrugated steel decking is secured on top and then concrete is ready for pouring. Some ICF builders use reinforcement fibers to also reduce the amount of rebar needed in these applications.

With no temporary shoring required to support the Composite TotalJoist, the next stages in construction – such as electrical and plumbing – can proceed quickly.

Building an Environmentally Friendly Home

Using a combination of steel and concrete can create a long-lasting solution that will not require maintenance for a very long time, meaning that the products used in the structure’s completion are being put to very good use. 

The insulation value of the ICF will give significant lifelong reductions in heating and cooling – delivering R-values that are practically impossible with lumber. 

On the jobsite, both products will help to reduce waste, since exact quantities are ordered and used. Especially in the case of cold-formed steel, each piece is crafted for the specific use required; steel waste is kept to a minimum. 

Building a ‘Powerhouse’ with ICF and Cold-Formed Steel- Insulated Concrete Forms and a Concrete Flooring System - iSPAN System- 2

For builders who work in regions that have cooler winters, these two products again have advantages over competing materials. ICF blocks can be stacked in extremely cold temperatures – as low as -20°C (about -5°F) – while cold-formed steel can be installed in any temperature since its properties do not change.

Building a New Home Sounds Great

Two layers of insulation and a layer of concrete on exterior walls, with a flooring system built of corrugated steel and three inches of concrete, creates a system that has noise reduction surpassing anything else. 

With steel decking in combination with concrete, Composite TotalJoist has 60% higher acoustic ratings than precast and over 34% higher ratings than wood and gypcrete with reduced sound flanking. 

Together, ICF and cold-formed steel ensure that noise pollution is never an issue, which is especially important in multi-unit residential buildings.

Taking the Next Step to Build Your Own ‘Powerhouse’

Using ICF in your next residential project is a wise way to build. But if you combine ICF with cold-formed steel you will get it all: strength, easy construction, eco-friendliness and high acoustic performance throughout your entire building, from ceilings to walls.

Discuss your project with iSPAN’s Director of Sales Dwayne Schaus and learn more about how iSPAN can be integrated into your current and future plans with ICF. Dwayne works directly with architects, contractors and developers to help them realize the benefits of iSPAN’s proprietary systems. Please contact him at dwaynes@ispansystems.com or 1-855-804-7726.


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