ICF foundation worth the extra cost?

northminnesotaNovember 1, 2012

We are lifting our cabin/lake home and adding a walk out level so we can get more living space. The contractor is recommending we use an ICF foundation as it will allow the lower level to be more comfortable and not damp/musty. The extra expense is approximately $8000 more than a regular foundation. We know nothing about this system and came here to research this. The cabin will mainly be used in the spring/summer/fall with minor usage around the Christmas Holiday. Is the extra expense worth it???

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The comparison should be ICF vs. a conventional insulated and drywalled basement insulated to the same R Value as the ICF. (This presumes the ICF basement will use drywall as the thermal barrier and that the conventionally insulated basement will not contain fibrous insulation unless it is covered with a "smart" vapour barrier.)

When that's the comparison, I've always found that ICF comes second best. But that's using construction costs in my area.

    Bookmark   November 1, 2012 at 4:54PM
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Definitely worth it. Our basement is dry and comfortable without any heating. Drywall is a snap because the ICF has furring strips built in. Wiring and plumbing can go in channels you cut in the styrofoam.

    Bookmark   November 1, 2012 at 6:05PM
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In our area an ICF foundation was going to cost half again as much as what poured concrete with 2" of spray foam on the outside, 2" of rigid blue foam on the inside and a 2x4 stud wall was going to cost. No way it was worthwhile. With fiberglass batts in the stud wall we should have basement walls that are pushing R-30.

    Bookmark   November 2, 2012 at 1:50PM
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Thanks for the information!

    Bookmark   November 3, 2012 at 12:27PM
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