With the effects of climate change distinctly felt in different places around the world, the specific needs in shelter of people from various countries change as well. Houses built with steel frames and Insulated Concrete Forms have become leading choices worldwide when it comes to building homes that can stand the test of time and can survive the unavoidable natural disasters climate change entails. Steel framed homes and ICF houses are excellent choices in building structures despite being a bit more expensive than wood. An advantage of steel frames and ICF over wood is that they won’t be damaged by molds and termites.
There are many similarities in the advantages using steel frames and ICF for building structure imposes. But what would be a better suit for your housing needs? Both can withstand earthquakes; but when put to the test, which one has a higher chance of survival?
A research conducted by PCA of Portland Cement Association in the USA revealed that completed ICF walls have higher stiffness and structural capacity than steel. ICF walls also have stronger ability to resist ‘racking’ forces brought by earthquakes and strong winds because of tornadoes.
The strength shown by concrete panels made with ICF means that when an ICF home was hit by earthquakes or tornadoes, only minimal damage will be taken which will result in inexpensive repair costs.
Concrete Formwork as the name implies, is an insulator of heat. On the contrary, steel is a conductor of heat and can actually heat up 300 times faster than wood. This means that homes with steel frames will be harder to cool down during summer or hot climates because of the frames transmitting heat. An additional form of insulation is needed for steel framed homes.
Also, ICF walls do not only insulate heat, but sound as well. With the added concrete in between, you can enjoy a quieter, more peaceful environment with ICF walls.
ICFs are also easier to transport since they are lightweight, against steel, which is heavy.
ICF and steel-frames are popular choices in building modern homes because of safety considerations. Both ICF and steel frames were developed to enhance the strength and security of structures built nowadays. At the end of the day, the choice will always be up to you.