Originally posted in our July 2020 Newsletter.
When comparing the cost of building a stick frame home to an ICF home, an additional $2 to $4 is added per square foot to the ICF home, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and concretenetwork.com. This means that for a typical 2,500 square foot, two-story home and lot with a sale price of $180,000, the additional cost is about $7,000.
Once you have paid for the initial cost of the home, however, the savings you reap each month in utility costs, insurance and maintenance make the ICF build a hands down choice.
“ICF wall construction can provide a 20 to 25 percent savings in annual heating and cooling costs,” according to field comparisons by HUD. The amount of savings will depend on the thickness of your concrete walls (usually 6” or 8”), the type of windows and doors you select, the type of ceiling insulation used, and the local climate.
In construction, you save on the costs of wall insulation. Because the block is made of polystyrene, the polystyrene IS your insulation and so is the concrete that is poured down the center of the block. Apart from the insulation in the ceiling.
An ICF block crew can stack block so fast that you will save money on labor costs. Many of our clients have been amazed at the speed that the foundation is installed.
Because ICF homes are resistant to rot and pests, the costs to maintain an ICF home are also considerably lower.
You can also get up to a 25% discount on your insurance by selecting ICF block construction, because ICF structures are resistant to fire, tornadoes, hurricanes and earthquakes.
If you check with the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development’s Energy Efficient Mortgage Program to see if you qualify for an Energy Efficient Mortgage (EEM), you may be able to qualify for a larger mortgage because of the savings in energy expenses.
The cost of your new home per square footage varies the most with the finishes that you select, regardless of whether you build with stick frame or ICF, so this is an area you will need to watch the most. For example, you can select a kitchen faucet for over $500 or one for $100. Budget for the types of exterior veneers, flooring, etc. that you plan to have installed. For you plumbing and electrical fixtures, and heating systems, aim to purchase ones that are both energy efficient and effective, as this will greatly reduce costs in the long-run. The basic cost of your home will be the same, but it’s the finishes that can make or break you.