How to build a wall with an Insulated Concrete Former – DIY

How to build a wall with an Insulated Concrete Former – DIY

This blog will briefly outline the process of installing your ICFs. But firstly we will cover the basics…

What is an ICF?

An insulated concrete former, or alternatively known as a building block, is a system of formwork for reinforced concrete that is typically made from expanded polystyrene (EPS).

 What is the function of an ICF?

ICFs provide a permanent means of insulated shuttering, making it an ideal permanent interior and exterior substrate for industrial, commercial and housing developments.

First developed in Germany some 40 years ago, ICFs are widely used in Europe, USA, Canada and parts of South America too. Isolite has been manufacturing ICFs since 1993. Our ICFs come in three different sizes, namely: 1200 x 300 x 120 mm, 1200 x 300 x 150 mm, and 1200 x 300 x 180 mm.

The Isowall Group has been manufacturing and distributing Isolite Shape Moulded EPS since 1992. Isolite Shape Moulded EPS Products are manufactured using customised moulds providing a wide range of uses including insulation, lightweight fillers and semi-rigid cushioning.

  • Start by building the foundations as level as possible: either strip or raft (ensure foundations are stepped to suit the height of the ICF).
  • Place 1m long starter bars in the foundations (100mm deep) at corners, wall joins, on either sides of windows and doors with spacing between 1,2 -1,5 m between bars.
  • Place first row of ICFs to floor (ensure all blocks are level).
  • Insert first Y8 horizontal rebar above first block bending around corners by 300mm.
  • Place ICFs 3 high and fill with 15MPa concrete.
  • When concrete is set place the next 3 rows, fit windows or formwork for windows and continue to fill with concrete placing further 1m lengths of rebar vertically, in line with the starter bars.
  • Use timber or fibre cement formwork above window openings to hold concrete in place above window openings. For 180mm ICF walls there is a ICF lintel block that has a solid base to hold the concrete above openings without the need for formwork.
  • Above windows and doors insert 2 x Y8 rebar lengths continuously on top of first block above openings to create ring beam and lintel.
  • Attach hoop iron or wire to the ring beam to secure roof sub structure and fill with concrete to wall top.
  • When wall work complete and internal concrete fully set, plaster with polyfibre plaster solution to 6mm thickness.


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