TF Forming Systems, Inc. was proud to help with a concrete pour this spring on the second story of a three-story Insulated Concrete Form home build. A father and son (home owner) team constructed the walls, installed the rebar to schedule, and braced the I.C.F. TF Forming Systems, Inc. was there to assist the day of the pour.
Insulated Concrete Forms are the best way to reduce headaches and stress when trying to get a foundation in before the heavy snow flies and the ground freezes solid. Because of the insulating nature of the 2.5″ polystyrene panels on both sides, the system creates the perfect environment for the concrete chemical reaction to take place even when temperatures dip below freezing at night. This reduces the annoyance of trying to tarp and/or blanket the foundation for days or weeks after the concrete is poured. You can relax knowing that your foundation is as strong and robust as the engineer intended.
Exemplified in the video below, a DIY homeowner organized this late December concrete pour in Northeastern, WI. Both the conventional retaining walls and the TF System ICF basement walls were poured in the same day; however, only the top portion of the ICF wall needed to be covered and protected by blankets from the cold temperatures at night, whereas the conventional retaining walls needed to be COMPLETELY covered by multiple sets of blankets to keep the concrete from freezing before a full strength cure could be achieved.
What are splice pieces? What is a more efficient way to cut them?
In the previous blog post, we mentioned how to cut a splice piece, which is a filler piece in a wall where a regular poly panel does not fit. In that post, Jerry Spude demonstrated how to cut a splice piece with a handheld saw, and then he sanded off the rough edges. We also mentioned how you could use a hot wire cutter to cut a splice piece.
In this video, Jerry Spude uses a hot wire table to cleanly and efficiently cut a splice piece. The hot wire table was made on the end of a table saw table for the convenience of adding a groove to the splice piece. In the video, Jerry explains how you can make your own hot wire cutter if this process is something that interests you.
We enjoy using the hot wire cutter in the shop for several reasons:
- Satisfaction of cutting through things with a hot wire
What are they, and how do you cut them?
As Jerry states in the video above, a common question we are asked is “how do you cut our poly panels for a filler piece?” How about what even is a filler piece?
A splice piece, also known as a filler piece, is needed when a vertical wall does not have enough space to fit a full panel but also does not quite reach to the corner. A splice piece is a cut panel piece that can be added anywhere in a wall, middle or end. The video above demonstrates one way to cut a splice piece to fit into your wall.
There are two common ways to cut a splice piece:
- Cordless skill saw
- Hotwire table
There are benefits to using both of these, as demonstrated in other videos. When using a cordless skill saw, it is important to remember to sand off the edge where the saw didn’t completely cut through to have a smooth edge.
Don’t put your building plans on pause just yet because TF Systems’ Vertical Insulated Concrete System can be used throughout the winter months, even in Wisconsin.
Winter is coming soon, and with it comes snow in the breeze. When that snow hits, people in the North can’t help but think of the impending cold months.
Due to this, many people put plans of building a home on pause come winter months because construction isn’t as feasible. With traditional building methods, this can be true, but with TF Systems’ vertical ICF system, this couldn’t be further from the truth.
To get concrete ready for winter pours, cement is mixed with hot or warm water to reach a temperature of around 70°F. As the cement cures within the insulated walls, it can reach temperatures of up to 130°F. This is because the limestone is curing, burning off the excess water to solidify. The concrete is insulated so it does not settle or shrink in the cold months.
What does this mean for homeowners?
Plans of that dream home, garage, deer stand, cabin, etc. do not have to be put on pause! Homeowners do not have to wait for fair weather to make their dreams come true; they can start at any time of year. Why not cure winter blues by watching your building design come to life? This just means that come the fair-weather months, it’s time to decorate, not build!
What does this mean for contractors?
Bundle up because with these vertical ICF forms, there doesn’t need to be an off season. Building may be cold, especially in Wisconsin, but TF Forming Systems is able to ensure that there can be work available all year long.
Local Homeowner Proving We Can All Build Green
Berrie West and her partner are building a home near Shiocton with only the help of their loving family. When West told me that their way to give directions will be to “look for the green house on top of the hill”, I couldn’t help but laugh because the house was built based on passive solar design (eco-friendly), the 6 acre lands will be filled with home gardens and chickens (go green), and the house itself will have vibrant green siding. All these brilliant aspects tied into one beautiful pun!
Thermal windows and sliding doors beneath roof with eventual solar panels.
Helping the Dream Home Become Reality
West built her berm style home with the help of her father. Between the two of them, and a little help from family, the built the whole home in their spare time. Both West and her father are thankful to David Rudolph, from Rudex, LLC construction services, for the help he offered. Rudolph came out to assist with initial training and pours. West and her father both said that Rudolph was extremely knowledgeable about the system and what he was doing.
When West was asked what inspired the style of the home, she said she wanted a smaller home for her family that was eco-friendly. She chose to build with TF Forming Systems’ vertical ICF system because of our high R-value with insulation. Because it is a passive solar home, more insulation helps keep in the heat from panels and solar windows. The entire foundation was done using TF’s ICF forms (the main floor and second story).
What West and TF Systems alike were both impressed with was the lack of waste on this job site! Pieces of cut poly-panels were put to use under and above window bucks, alternating seams inside and outside so that two cut pieces weren’t mirroring each other. In total, West and her father filled roughly four garbage bags full of waste products, two of which were filled with poly-panel scraps to be taken to a special recycling center for Styrofoam. There was no need for a dumpster at all on this job site! Many kudos to West and her family for the hard work they put in to having little waste from this home… in fact, they even had pieces left over because of how many scraps they were able to utilize! This home truly is a “green house”.
Example of scrap pieces being utilized under a window.
Enjoyment with the System
We asked both West and her father what they enjoyed about using TF Systems’ forms. West said that she enjoyed the challenge of learning a new technique. It was her first time ever building a house, and she got to learn as she went. She commented that it was like building a Lego home! (For adults that loved building with Lego’s as kids, here you go!) West’s father enjoyed the system because it was easier to work with as a finished contractor than some other systems.
Challenges with the System
West and her father were then asked what challenged them in the system. West, having put extra corners in her home to create more dimension, did not enjoy having to erect so many corners. “I didn’t realize how challenging corners can be to put up and then brace!” West commented. West’s father stated, “the problem with the system is that not everyone working on the project takes the time to understand the system.” He means that from start to finish, everyone coming in to work on the home, whether it be electrical, plumbing, roofing, finishing, etc. should understand how the foundation of the home works. Often times, individuals come in for their part of the building without paying attention to the whole picture.
Overall, West is very happy with the project, and is understandably excited for it to be finished so they may move in to their dream home. We, here at TF Forming System, are happy that we could help make her dream home a reality.
In August, 2017, Popular Science wrote an article about safe rooms built from insulated concrete forms, and they eluded to not needing a safe room if you have a safe home. Guess what we sell! And what have we been saying!
For years, TF Forming Systems has been selling a patented vertical ICF system. We have also stated that there is no need for a safe room when you could have an entire safe home. Now our statements have been backed by Popular Science!
What makes ICF the best for building safe homes? The walls are made by alternating plastic studs and inner and outer poly panels. These poly-panels form a sandwich around concrete and rebar, insulating it. Because there is no wood within the structural supports, the home is virtually fire and disaster resistant.
Popular Science’s article also states that a safe room should be comfortable for everyone, including children. We know a lot about making a room comfortable, but we know more about making the whole house comfortable. You could hide in a safe room or storm shelter or you have the option to hide in your living room, on the couch, with all the snacks from the pantry that you could carry. How nice would it be to be reassured that you don’t have to run to a corner of the dark, cold basement when the tornado siren goes off; instead you can all congregate in the kitchen, bathroom, or bedroom and know that you are still safe.
Disclosure: Our form system does not prevent glass windows from shattering in the event of a natural disaster. Please continue to avoid areas with glass or unsupported doors when in a natural disaster situation.
You can read the Popular Science article here.
What can TF Systems’ vertical ICF system be used to build?
It can be used to build disaster resistant homes, garages, basements, schools, multi-complex apartments, or commercial buildings. But it can also be used to build extraterrestrial containment centers.
You read that correctly.
Think Area 51. Do we really know what’s there? No, we (the public) do not. Do we know what could be there? The answer is, yes, we know what could be there. A TF System vertical ICF building could be there because it would be the best option for extraterrestrial containment buildings. There isn’t one there currently, but it should be considered.
- Sound proof buildings
- Damage resistant walls
- Escape proof
- Multilevel and room capable
You’re building an extraterrestrial containment center, what do you want it to incorporate?
Sound proof buildings will ensure that outside prying eyes can’t hear what’s going on inside, and inside beings can’t hear the outside world. Damage resistant walls can withstand what extraterrestrial powers could potentially be used against the human race. Because the walls are so damage resistant, it limits the possibility of escape; no little extraterrestrial beings running rampant in the streets. With multilevel and room capabilities, the building could be as large as an apartment building, and it can be underground for added protection. Imagine the possibilities!
These ideas can also be reversed- TF System can build an extraterrestrial proof building. Keep safe inside a sound proof and damage resistant room that can be above or below ground.
TF System – Local Business since 1994
New residential building being constructed in Little Suamico.
In the midst of a newly growing residential area, there exists a plot of land that has newly broken ground. What waits there now is the potential of a dream home come true… That’s exactly what these local homeowners are planning- building local with TF Systems. And the nice thing for the already established neighbors? Building with TF Systems’ vertical ICF system is quiet; it does not require the sounds of loud drilling or screwing, only the occasional sound of a saw and hum of a generator.
As a local business, TF System was proud to take on the task of constructing a new home in Little Suamico under a well experienced contractor. The home is a two-story, 2,000 sq. ft. (on the main floor) home. It consists of an insulated basement and main level with an attached garage.
The basement foundation was finished in early September. The floor joists for the main floor are on schedule to be put in this week, with plans to start the main level soon after. The home’s foundation is scheduled to be finished in late October.