Although ICF walls look dramatically different from other framing methods, an unlimited variety of exterior finishes can be applied to an ICF building including dimensional sidings, textured finishes, stamped concrete, brick, stone, and cultured stone.


Lap sidings, including vinyl, aluminum, steel, cedar, and fiber cement, are a popular exterior finish for both commercial and residential projects and can be attached with nails or screws, depending on manufacturers’ fastening instructions. Fiber cement siding is particularly popular due to its durability, ease of installation and fire-resistant qualities. However, because of the weight of fiber cement siding, it is recommended that it only be installed using coarse thread screws.


Any stucco finish works on ICF. Textured acrylic finishes are specifically designed for foam. Stucco finishes are usually applied with a trowel over a basecoat and mesh. In addition to traditional stucco styles, finishes can imitate granite, limestone, Italian plaster, and brick at a fraction of the cost of actual masonry. Some manufacturers offer horizontal or vertical stamps that imitate wood planking, log cabin construction, weathered wood, and other textures. They are available in many colors and can be sent to the jobsite premixed and ready to use. Most acrylic finishes are waterproof, durable, relatively inexpensive, easy to apply, and versatile enough to create a wide range of styles. One product is specifically formulated for ICFs and produces a one-coat, impact-resistant finish that is literally bulletproof.


Brick and stone are popular finish choices and harmonize well with acrylic finish systems. Real brick and stone are typically constructed on an ICF steel-reinforced concrete brickledge that is at least 4 inches wide and poured monolithically with the rest of the wall. Because of the weight of brick or stone (about 50 lbs. per sq/ft) brick ties must be attached to the webs to secure the brick or stone to the wall. Manufactured stone doesn’t need a brickledge due to its lighter weight and the stones are cemented to a steel mesh covered wall using mortar.