The Benefits of Combining ICF Construction with Cold-Formed Steel

The Benefits of Combining ICF Construction with Cold-Formed SteelPowerful duo expands project capabilities and delivers results

Both ICF construction and cold-formed steel framing provide several benefits on their own, but together, they can produce amazing results. This powerful combination meets practical needs and also unlocks a world of design possibilities. The ICF and cold-formed steel combo is most common in multi-residential developments and custom homes, like the Ljubo House. For this three-storey structure, iSPAN Systems’ Composite TotalJoist systems was used to create a modern home that was also structurally sound. The stunning results serve as proof that building with ICF construction and cold-formed steel gives you the best of both worlds.

Improved longevity and durability

Separately, both cold-formed steel and ICF are built to last. Cold-formed steel is durable and non-combustible, and it can even withstand disaster events like tornadoes and hurricanes. ICF is also extremely durable – homes built with concrete can last 75 years or longer. When you put the two together, you have much more durability, mainly because no parts of the building are made of vulnerable materials. Neither concrete nor steel are susceptible to factors like moisture, shrinking, and warping. With ICF construction and cold-formed steel combined, rest assured your development or home will be around for years and years to come.

Structurally sound

Both cold-formed steel and ICF construction have reputations as sturdy materials. ICF is up to 10 times stronger than wood and sustains minimal damage in storms and severe weather. Cold-formed steel is just as strong – it doesn’t rust or corrode over time, and its strength isn’t impacted by temperature changes. Given that each material is strong on its own, using both means you don’t have to worry about safety or structural integrity.

The Benefits of Combining ICF Construction with Cold-Formed Steel

Modern design

It’s quite common for today’s buildings to look more modern – they have boxy, square, and flat designs, they’re sleek, and they’re understated. These buildings are high on function and utility, and they embrace a no-frills approach. To accomplish this aesthetic, cold-formed steel actually provides a level of flexibility that ICF might not have otherwise. Cold-formed steel allows for long spans to meet strength and design requirements. It can also be shaped and moulded to create special aesthetic features and execute designs that call for complex angles and curves. Additionally, cold-formed steel can provide the structural support for buildings with multiple storeys. For building designs that call for smaller, more intricate design details, ICF is paired with other materials, like wood. But for larger, attention-grabbing projects, combining ICF construction and cold-formed steel can take the project’s capabilities to new heights.

Better acoustics and noise reduction

Cold-formed steel and ICF construction complement each other when it comes to acoustics and noise reduction. While ICF has stronger acoustic ratings than other materials like wood, it still requires special adjustments and treatments for optimum noise reduction. Research has shown that ICF can only achieve an STC rating of 55 or higher if the walls are thicker and the building has minimal openings. Cold-formed steel framing provides additional insulation that helps improve the results, without the special conditions. iSPAN’s Composite TotalJoist flooring system has 60% higher acoustic ratings than precast concrete and 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.

Ideal for multi-season projects

Many large projects last for multiple seasons, starting in the warmer months and lasting throughout the winter. When temperatures dip to dangerously low levels, construction usually stops or special accommodations must be made. Concrete, for example, can’t freeze during the curing process, as this significantly impacts its strength. Heaters have to be brought in to protect the concrete or pouring has to be limited to warmer periods of the year. For a project that combines ICF and cold-formed steel, this isn’t the case. The ICF components can be poured and installed during the warmest seasons. Then, because cold-formed steel maintains its strength and shape regardless of the temperature, the cold-formed steel components can be installed during winter. With a little planning, the project can continue year-round.

ICF construction and cold-formed steel are both incredible additions to any project, but when they’re combined, they enable more complex builds, and they help create structures that are safe, long-lasting, and visually appealing.


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