Sunday November 18, 2018
Insulated Concrete Form (ICF) Homes by Turnstone
The images of the devastation in the Florida Panhandle from Hurricane Michael and the tragic wildfires in CA prompted us to revisit our Insulated Concrete Form (ICF) construction offerings. When we first began building ICF homes, we assumed that people building high-end custom homes on or near the shore would strongly consider this option. Frankly, the adoption rate has been underwhelming. To date we have constructed four ICF homes, two of which are not even that close to the shore (homeowners love the energy efficiency, mold resistance and noise suppression features of ICF too).
This New York Times article “Among the Ruins of Mexico Beach Stands One House, Built ‘for the Big One’
tells the story of the homeowner who built the ICF home made famous in this picture.
Estimates vary about the additional cost of ICF construction. Our experience has been that homeowners should expect to spend about 20-25% more for an ICF home. Do not make the mistake of asking a homebuilder in Delaware who lacks ICF experience to construct your ICF home! Specialized training is required as well as experience dealing with the installation of mechanical systems in an ICF home.
The most ambitious ICF home in this area was built by Turnstone at 34 Collins Ave. in North Indian Beach. This 7,000 square-foot home garnered national recognition, and was featured in Delaware Today magazine.
So, could it happen here? Probably not. Hurricanes almost never make direct landfall in Delaware due to the concave shape of the middle Atlantic states. Hurricane Sandy was only a category two storm when it skimmed past the area, yet it devastated parts of the Jersey shore. A much more common threat to our area is the powerful nor’easter’s that regularly affect the mid-Atlantic. The infamous 1962 storm is the most destructive storm in the memory of anyone alive today.
The ocean meets the bay in Dewey Beach - March 1962
So, no, it’s not likely that Delaware will ever be directly impacted by a Category 4 hurricane like the one that leveled Mexico Beach in Florida. But as super storm Sandy and the 1962 nor’easter have shown, catastrophic damage can occur here.
And homes anywhere can be impacted by fast-moving fires as was demonstrated in the March 2018 fire north of Dewey Beach. The fire resistance of ICF construction could have made a real difference for these homeowners.
If you're interested in building an ICF home we can arrange for you to tour our ICF home in North Indian Beach.