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Can masonry be installed on the exterior walls?

Yes, Fox Blocks has a brick ledge form and the xLerator ledge reinforcement that is designed to support masonry. Fox blocks also has a tieKey accessory which is a specifically made as a masonry tie, to be inserted through the form into the concrete.

Do I have to finish my basement walls with drywall?

All building codes in the USA and Canada specify that plastic insulation (EPS) must be covered by a thermal barrier equivalent to 15 minutes of fire protection in habitable spaces. If the basement is classified as habitable space, then gypsum board must be applied but does have to taped and filled. Check with your local

What is the typical Interior finish on an ICF?

All building codes in the USA and Canada specify that plastic insulation (EPS) must be covered by a thermal barrier equivalent to 15 minutes of fire protection in habitable spaces. This is achieved with ½” gypsum board or an equivalent material. Fox Blocks has specific fire testing that proves regular ½” gypsum board with regular

How do I apply traditional stucco to an ICF?

Traditional stucco has a thick cementitious base, typically installed over a metal lath. The metal lath is fastened directly to the Fox Blocks webs with screw or staples.

How do I apply an acrylic stucco finish to an ICF?

Acrylic stucco is a thin coat finish which can be directly applied to the EPS insulation on the exterior face of the ICF. Fox Blocks provides a continuous EPS surface conducive for the application of acrylic stucco. All acrylic stucco manufactures are familiar with ICFs as a substrate and each have their recommendations for application

What exterior finishes can be used on an ICF?

Fox Blocks are compatible with all exterior finish materials and systems – siding, stucco, masonry veneer, simulated stone, etc. The attachment of certain exterior finishing systems is recommended with exterior grade screws fastened into the exposed or concealed webs.

Is a vapor barrier required on the inside face of an ICF wall?

No. The characteristics of an ICF wall with the mass concrete and the EPS insulation provide the required vapor permeance to meet building code requirements as a vapor barrier.

What is the R-Value?

The clear R-Value of an Fox Blocks is R22, however current Energy codes recognize the lack of thermal bridging in an ICF and the contribution of the mass concrete on the influence of the thermal performance. Whole wall calculations indicate a Fox blocks wall assembly provides an R24 rating. The continuous double layer (inside and

Is the Fox Blocks form recyclable?

Yes, every component of the Fox Blocks form itself plus the concrete and reinforcement bars are recyclable.

Does the Fox Blocks contain recycled materials?

The plastic webs in Fox Blocks forms are 100% recycled postindustrial polypropylene. The EPS insulation is virgin material. Recycled content for an ICF block is measured by weight. The recycled content by weight of a standard 6″ Fox Blocks form – 48%.

Is an ICF home quieter than a stick framed home?

Absolutely. The exterior walls are two layers of continuous insulation, the density of solid concrete and a layer of ½” gypsum board on the inside all contribute to superior sound suppression of STC 50 for the whole building envelope. Note: A wood frame system of equivalent STC rating would be 2 x 4 studs spaced

What do termites do to the foam?

EPS provides no nutrient value and is not a food source for termites. If left exposed, termites may tunnel into the foam in search of fibrous food. When building, in a heavy termite infestation area, care is required in the detailing and construction of the walls that will be in contact with ground, to prevent

Do ICFs promote mold or mildew growth?

EPS is an inert, organic material. It provides no nutritive value to plants, animals or micro-organisms. It will not rot and is highly resistant to mold and mildew.

Does EPS ‘off gas’?

EPS does not off-gas. Fox Blocks forms do not and never have contained any CFC or HCFC products. The forms are made by a steam process that utilizes ‘pentene gas’ as a blowing agent. The blowing agent dissipates from the product within 48 hours of manufacturing. Fox Blocks forms are odorless, do not deteriorate, and

Is the Fox Blocks product rated by ‘Energy Star’?

Energy Star does not evaluate or rate insulation products. Every Fox Blocks home when tested by an Energy Rater, can meet and exceed the Energy Star home standards and achieve a 5 Star rating and a ‘HERS’ score well below the minimum Energy Star requirement of 85, or in Canada, higher than an EnerGuide rating of

Is the Fox Blocks ICF product ‘LEED’ rated or certified?

Products are not rated or certified under the LEED program. The overall building is evaluated and assigned a LEED rating. In the selection of building materials for a LEED design, Fox Blocks have many benefits that can enable, enhance or directly contribute toward LEED points for the project.

How are Fox Blocks green/environmentally friendly?

Fox Blocks contain a minimum of 40% recycled content by weight. Fox Blocks do not off-gas and are not manufactured using any gases that deplete the ozone or are harmful to the environment. Fox Blocks require low embodied energy to manufacture. Fox Blocks do not contain any materials, that promote mold or mildew growth. Fox

Is burning EPS toxic?

Test reports conducted by the National Research Council state: “The maximum toxicity index obtained from the combustion of polystyrene was of the same order as that of wood.” Fox Blocks ICFs have been tested to meet building code requirements for flame spread ratings, smoke development and toxicity

Does expanded polystyrene (EPS) present a serious fire hazard?

The EPS in an Fox Blocks has a flame retardant that allows the forms to be flame resistant. The EPS will melt when exposed to sustained temperatures over 300°F (149°C). The ignition point of the melted styrene is 600°F (315°C) (wood is approximately 500°F (260°C). Fox Blocks have been tested to meet the building code requirements

What size and how much steel reinforcement is required in an ICF?

Fox Blocks walls are designed as reinforced concrete walls, with steel reinforcement bars specified to be installed vertically and horizontally, as the walls are built. Typical reinforcement bar sizes used are #4 or #5 (10 m or 15 m).

How do you control voids in the wall?

The concrete mix is a high slump 5″- 6.5″ (125 mm – 165 mm) with a smaller aggregate size so the concrete flows easily. The person in charge of placing the concrete should watch the concrete flow throughout the whole wall to ensure there are no void pockets. Internal vibrating provides good consolidation, eliminating voids.

Can you build and pour concrete in cold weather?

Yes. The forms insulate the concrete and enhance the curing process. The top of the forms, or exposed concrete areas will need to be covered, temporarily, with insulation to prevent the exposed concrete from freezing. Fox Blocks projects can be constructed any time of the year, no delays for cold weather.

Is there a problem when placing concrete, dropping concrete from the top of the wall which may be over 8′ (2.4 m)?

No. Specifications in the America Concrete Institute (ACI) do not limit the maximum distance concrete can free fall. Engineering studies and reports have shown that free fall from up to 35′ doesn’t reduce concrete quality and there is no evidence of segregation or weakened concrete strength. ICF concrete design calls for a high slump mix

Why is the concrete limited to a placement height or lifts of 4 feet (1.2 m)?

To alleviate the pressure from the liquid concrete, the concrete is placed in layers or ‘lifts’. The first lift is limited to 4′ (1.2 m) of concrete around the perimeter of the building. This allows approximately one hour for the concrete to set-up before continuing with the next 4′ (1.2 m) lift. The lower lift provides

Do ICFs require a special concrete mix design?

The concrete is normal strength, minimum 2500 psi (20 MPa) per building codes. The mix design specifies a smaller aggregate and higher slump than concrete typically used for floors. Most Ready-Mix suppliers are familiar with an ICF concrete mix design.

Can you vibrate or consolidate the concrete in ICFs?

Yes, consolidation of the concrete is one of the key elements in the placement of concrete in an ICF wall. Fox Blocks recommends internal vibration with a pencil vibrator, quickly in and slowly out.

Is an ICF house faster to build?

The assembly and placement of concrete may take the same time as to build with conventional methods. The advantage with Fox Blocks is that the walls are now insulated, have a vapor and air barrier installed and are ready for finishes once the windows and roof are installed. These benefits will save weeks and/or months

How do frame in openings?

Fox Blocks has developed the Fox Buck specifically to frame openings such as windows and doors. The Fox Buck provides insulation around the opening plus support for the attachment of the window or door.

Does the EPS provide support for a wood sill plate?

No, the EPS has no structural capacity to support any loads. Wood sill plates must achieve the required bearing from the concrete within the ICF. A wood plate that cantilevers 1 /3 over the EPS and bears 2 /3 on the concrete is allowable. This can be done with a minimum 2 x 6 plate.

Can I install a 16′ garage door and / or large openings in a concrete wall?

Yes, if the following criteria is available for the design of a concrete lintel (beam) over the opening – concrete lintel depth minimum 16″ (400 mm) or more with no point loads. Larger openings would require an engineered design.

When can I backfill the foundation wall?

The concrete must cure for a minimum of 7 days and the foundation wall must be laterally supported, meaning the floor system is installed supporting the top of the wall. All below grade waterproofing / dampproofing must be installed.

What fasteners are recommended for ICFs?

Fox Blocks has conducted numerous fastener tests for pull-out strength and shear capacity for various fasteners – screws, ring shank nails and staples into the plastic webs. The recommendation for interior and exterior applications of finish materials is for the use of screws which provide the best holding capacity into the plastic webs or fastening

Can I leave Fox Blocks forms exposed to ultraviolet rays for an extended period (months)?

Yes, but you will notice a light dusting on the surface and a yellowing discoloration of the forms. This does not indicate any detrimental effects to the ICFs. We do suggest, that if the exterior finish is not going to be installed within around a 3 month period or more, the forms be protected from

How do I determine which size ICF to use?

ICFs provide a reinforced concrete wall which is designed to specific engineering principles. Typical residential construction, per the applicability limits in the building code, allows walls 10′ (3 m) high or less between lateral supports (floor and roof connections). Below grade walls must have a minimum 6″ (150 mm) concrete core. In some regions, an

What if my contractor doesn’t know how to build with it?

Fox Blocks offers the most comprehensive installer training in the industry. We can train your contractor or help you locate a trained installer in your area.

How does the ICF block get secured to the foundation?

The ICF blocks are held in place with either low expansion spray foam or a metal starter track. The bracing/alignment system, typically installed after the 4th course of block, also supports the ICFs in place. Once the concrete is in the wall there is no concern with the forms moving. The concrete is connected to

Is installing ICFs a DIY project?

Fox Blocks recommends that all installers using Fox Blocks ICFs complete a Fox Blocks training program to ensure they have a better understanding of the basics. However, for first time installers, it is preferred that a Fox Blocks trained, experienced installer inspect the installation prior to placement of concrete and assist in the placement of

What is a ‘blow-out’?

A ‘blow-out’ is a break in the form, generally due to the pressure from the liquid concrete during the concrete placement and/ or consolidation. Fox Blocks ICFs are designed to maintain a high safety factor of pressure from the liquid concrete. Damaged forms or failure to support areas where forms have been cut leaving a large

How do I protect the ICFs below grade?

All ICF walls below grade, that have habitable space on one side (basement), must have a waterproofing / dampproofing membrane installed. For walls that do not have habitable space on one side (crawl space, frost walls, etc.) the EPS can be left exposed to the earth. The EPS will not deteriorate when exposed to the

Do you need special code approvals to build with Fox Blocks ICFs?

No, ICFs in general are covered in the building code and Fox Blocks ICF has a product evaluation report that confirms the product and applications meet the requirements of the respective building codes in the USA and Canada. These reports are available on our website.

When is a Taper Top form required?

Taper Top forms are specifically designed to provide a larger bearing surface along the top of the wall. Typically, the increased bearing surface may be used to support masonry, floor or roof loads. Taper top forms are used in the transition from ICF to wood frame construction and the taper top form would be the

How much will it cost per square foot to build an Fox Blocks ICF home?

Building with Fox Blocks ICFs provides you with a high performance wall system for the foundation and above grade walls. Building any high performance home, with either ICFs or conventional wood framing, has many factors that define the end capital costs. What additional materials and labor are required to make a conventional foundation equivalent to

Is a high performance ICF home less expensive to build than a wood framed high performance home?

Yes, marginally higher on the initial capital costs, but, it is a recorded fact that Fox Blocks high performance homes out perform in comfort and operating costs over a wood framed home. These creates monthly cost savings for the life cycle of the Fox Blocks home.

What is the difference between Fox Blocks ICFs and the competitors, and why are Fox Blocks ICFs better? Why should I use Fox Blocks ICFs?

Most ICF blocks share common features and benefits. Fox Blocks, as a company, provides 30 years’ experience in product development, documentation, testing and training, as well as versatility in the line of products to meet all applications. The key difference comes in the expertise and support you get from Fox Blocks. Fox Blocks is the

Does EPS absorb water?

No, EPS is a closed cell foam and does not act like a sponge or absorb water.

Can the plastic webs be detected by using stud finders?

A stud finder typically uses the density of materials to locate studs. The polypropylene (plastic) web material will show up on high quality density stud finders. Note, the webs in Fox Blocks are spaced at 8″ (200 mm) on center and will be continuous vertically on each side of the wall.

What is EPS made from?

Polystyrene is virgin material, manufactured from petroleum. Polystyrene beads are expanded with steam heat to be up to 40 times their original volume and then the expanded beads are molded again by steam heat into 25 /8″ rigid insulation panels to create a Fox Blocks ICF.

Is EPS the same as XPS?

No, these insulation products are quite different. EPS is closed cell expanded polystyrene, while XPS is a closed cell extruded polystyrene. The properties, applications and costs of each are quite different. The majority of ICFs are manufactured with EPS.

Are there different types of Expanded Polystyrene (EPS)?

EPS is listed basically under four property classifications – Type I, II, III and IV. The characteristics are based on the density of the molded foam which defines the product type. Fox Blocks ICFs are manufactured as a Type II EPS with a density of approximately 1.5 pounds per cubic foot.

Is there a top and bottom on the blocks when installing the Fox Blocks forms?

Fox Blocks forms have a reversible interlock system on all blocks. The robust interlock allows the blocks to fit together very tightly, eliminating any requirement for adhesives. A reversible interlock speeds up the installation.

Where can I purchase the product?

Fox Blocks has a wide-ranging network of knowledgeable product distributors and trained installers across North America; contact Fox Blocks Customer Service to find the closest Fox Blocks product distributor or trained installer in your area.

Do I need an engineer to design and stamp Fox Blocks building plans?

Fox Blocks are listed in the building codes (IRC- Sections R404, R611 or NBCC Part 9) with specific applicability limits for residential construction. If the project meets the applicability limits within the building code, a Professional Engineer may not be required (dependent on local building department requirements). A building official has the right to request

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