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Concrete & ICF

The solid choice for tropical builds.

concrete-icf-cayman-reallife The reality of building, whether it is a home or business centre, is one that is rife with decisions and choices, many of which will have life-long implications for the inhabitants. Choosing which building material to use, for instance, will affect not only the construction costs now, but also the edifice’s strength, durability and energy efficiency for years to come.

Fortunately, in the Caribbean of the 21st century there is only one truly viable contender, and that is concrete. Used to build bridges, runways, piers and roads as well as houses, concrete has become the most widely used man-made material in the world. But what makes it so good?

It’s strong: Made from a mixture of cement, aggregate and water, concrete is as hard as a rock, and becomes even stronger over time. Reinforced concrete can withstand hurricane force winds and earthquakes.

It’s durable: The fact that so many Roman buildings remain standing today is because they were built from concrete. An inert material, concrete is not susceptible to rot, mould, corrosion or decay and can last for hundreds, if not thousands, of years.

It’s versatile: Because it is a thick, viscous fluid when wet, concrete can be poured or cast into almost any shape, from building blocks and beams to decorative balustrades or textured floors.

It’s energy efficient: Concrete’s excellent thermal mass slows the passage of heat through a building’s walls or roof, shielding it from extremes of temperature, and reducing cooling costs considerably.

It’s fire and pest resistant: A non-combustible material, concrete has a high fire resistance rating and rodents, termites and other pests are unable to penetrate it.concrete-icf-cayman-reallife-2

In the Caribbean, where two of the main considerations when building a home are whether it will stand up to the rigours of tropical storms and whether the costs of keeping the interior cool will be affordable, concrete offers clear benefits.

All the properties that make concrete ideal for construction can be further enhanced when building homes by choosing to do so with Insulated Concrete Forms (ICF), a special form of casing for the concrete.

ICF's are blocks or panels of insulating foam that are connected with webbing and stack together without the need for mortar – a bit like Lego. Steel reinforcements are inserted into the space between the forms before concrete is poured
or pumped in.

It makes for a fast, efficient building process and the forms remain in place permanently, forming an insulating ‘sandwich’ around extremely strong concrete walls.

For homeowners this double-sided insulation means:
• Even lower energy costs as the insulating foam further reduces heat transfer, and therefore cooling costs, which over time can represent a significant return on investment;

• Peace and quiet due to the soundproofing qualities of the foam, not only from outside, but also from other rooms in the same building;

• No warm or cold spots as drafts are eliminated and temperatures remain even throughout, and;

• Improved air quality thanks to better insulation and lower infiltration of allergens.

In an age where environmental responsibility has become a driving force in design and construction, there would be little sense in building a home that was not as sustainable and energy-efficient as possible. Concrete’s strength, composition and durability are ideal for the job, and the insulating properties of ICF's multiply the benefits.

For more information in Cayman contact Flowers Foam Products: or visit: www.flowersfoam.ky

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