Author Topic: ICF vs. concrete block vs. poured (full basement)  (Read 4391 times)

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Offline Erin

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ICF vs. concrete block vs. poured (full basement)
« on: June 17, 2008, 12:21:33 PM »
DH and I are still debating how we want to do our full basement but we're both wanting to get at it soon!

ICFs, block or poured?
Also, as it's a daylight basement, we could theoretically wood-frame the exposed portions, but I think I like the masonry look on the bottom layer, so we might stick with concrete anyway...

Keeping in mind we're trying to do this on a shoestring budget (aren't we all? lol) and are capable of doing the work ourselves in the case of block or ICF, which method would you all recommend?  We keep leaning toward block walls, but I think that might be because both of us have experience building block walls.
We're in a semi-arid climate, so a damp basement isn't much of a concern, btw.  Any drainage system we set up will probably be sufficient for any of the above foundation systems.

Basic specs:  24x40 (lengthwise), garage in one half of it, loess soil (kind of clay-ey). 
The slope is about perfect for this purpose in that the back of the basement will be just a smidge below grade (just right for dinky little basement windows) where the front will be right at grade.  A fall of about six feet for the run of 24.


Any thoughts welcomed
The wise woman builds her own house... Proverbs 14:1

Offline John Raabe

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Re: ICF vs. concrete block vs. poured (full basement)
« Reply #1 on: June 17, 2008, 01:28:24 PM »
If you are not going to use this basement area as heated living space then a standard concrete block wall may be the most economical. ICF can make sense for living spaces.

If you already have skills with block and know the soils to be well drained you are likely to have success. Make sure you know the reinforcing needed and how to do a bond beam if needed. The backfill pressure will vary in a daylight basement.
None of us are as smart as all of us.

Offline n74tg

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Re: ICF vs. concrete block vs. poured (full basement)
« Reply #2 on: June 19, 2008, 05:17:58 AM »
Have you considered a dry-stack type block wall.  I know you have experience with mortared block, but drystack with vertical rebar (into the footers) and bond beam on top might give you some advantages not found in the mortared wall. 

Are you in any kind of a seismic zone?

I have a similar situation as it relates to type soil and amount of slope on the lot (except that mine drops 6' in 57' of length, not 40').  I built a drystack wall.  It's detailed at length in blog below.
My house building blog:

http://n74tg.blogspot.com/

Offline John Raabe

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Re: ICF vs. concrete block vs. poured (full basement)
« Reply #3 on: June 19, 2008, 08:01:16 AM »
Great blog Tony! :D

Lots of helpful information and a great way to share your experience with others.
None of us are as smart as all of us.

Offline Erin

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Re: ICF vs. concrete block vs. poured (full basement)
« Reply #4 on: June 19, 2008, 01:31:08 PM »
I actually discovered your blog long before now, Tony.  :)
And yeah, we'd been looking at dry-stacking, but aren't you supposed to use blocks specifically for dry-stacking?  (I've never been able to find anything but standard concrete blocks)

No, no seismic zone.  We'd be building in the extreme NW corner of KS...
The wise woman builds her own house... Proverbs 14:1