Styrofoam Concrete Forms

Written by Nicholas Kamuda
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In the last 30 years, Styrofoam concrete forms have emerged as a competitor to traditional wooden concrete forms. The success of foam as an alternative is owed to many properties, many of which seem to be continually improving as the process for producing foam matures. Though Styrofoam concrete forms can sometimes be more expensive than other building materials, the advantages of using foam add up to be very attractive to many builders.

The Advantages of Styrofoam Concrete Forms

Firstly, foam forms are not removed after the concrete is poured. This simple fact can eliminate much of the work involved with finishing a concrete surface, and also allows concrete the recommended curing time, allowing it to reach its maximum structural integrity. In environments where hurricanes, strong storms, or even earthquakes are a danger, the structural integrity of concrete can go a long way towards saving a home.

Concrete has a naturally high thermal mass, but operates even more effectively when coupled with high-density foam. According to some manufacturer specifications, walls built using ICFs (insulated concrete forms) have an R-value of 20 or more, compared to R-11 wooden construction houses. ICF walls also attenuate sound much more than many other building materials do, though windows and doors must be selected and installed carefully to take advantage of the noise-reducing properties of ICFs.

In some cases, using Styrofoam concrete forms can simplify building processes, as well. For example, the thermal insulation properties of ICFs can protect concrete from both freezing and premature drying due to evaporation. ICF walls also require little interior finishing--in many cases, a simple coat of plaster may be enough to finish the wall.

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Post Tension Cables

Another newly developed to has been the Pocket Shear. The pocket shear cuts the post tension cable ends in about 5 seconds. The benefit of the pocket shear over conventional methods of cutting is that it does not use heat in any way as a grinder or torch do. The grinder and torch both ruin the integrity of the cable because they heat it. The shear simply and quickly cuts the cable.