Breakdown of the lot prep, traditional methods and materials for the construction cost of the house
|▪ Lot prep and excavation
|| $ 22,765
|▪ Foundation and exterior damp-proofing
|| $ 19,367
|▪ All flat work
|| $ 11,700
|▪ Lumber and labor for all framing
|| $ 53,334
|▪ Insulation package including labor
|| $ 9,630
|▪ Drywall and installation labor
|| $ 15,900
|▪ Painting and staining
|| $ 10,000
|▪ Roofing materials and labor
|| $ 12,073
|▪ Garage doors and system
|| $ 3,500
|▪ Exterior trim materials
|| $ 2,829
|▪ Siding materials and labor
|| $ 23,000
|▪ Windows and doors material and labor
|| $ 27,000
|▪ Flooring and tile includes labor
|| $ 13,000
|▪ Electrical and plumbing
|| $ 26,000
|| $ 13,000
|▪ Appliances, counter tops and cabinets
|| $ 35,000
|▪ Millwork and closet shelving
|| $ 11,000
|▪ Screen porch
|| $ 10,000
|▪ General Contractor fee @ 6.5%
|| $ 20,740
|Total Traditional Construction
|| $ 339,838
|| $ 41,500*
|Total Cost before Landscaping
|| $ 381,338
*This is a very reasonably priced lot. Most buildable residential land will cost between $75,000 and $175,000.
Building with ICF’s eliminates materials and reduces construction costs in the following ways:
Lower Level Living (below grade or exposed lower level)
- Elimination of labor for removal of concrete forms after pouring the foundation
- Elimination of the framing lumber and fasteners for finishing the interior foundation wall
- Elimination of framing labor for finishing the interior of the foundation wall
- Elimination of the insulation material for the foundation wall both exterior (if any) and interior
- Elimination of labor for insulation installation for the foundation wall
- Elimination of the poly vapor barrier and fasteners for the interior foundation wall
- Elimination of the labor for installing the poly vapor barrier
- Elimination of polyurethane spray foam material and installation in box sills
- Elimination of framing lumber, fasteners and framing labor for exterior walls
- Elimination of insulation material and installation labor on interior of envelope
- Use of concrete and rebar, pump truck, bracing and lifts to form exterior envelope
- Faster, safer, lighter wall construction
HVAC and Homeowner’s Insurance
- Because of the energy efficiency of an ICF envelope, the HVAC system was downsized by approximately 16%, saving a bit more than $2,000.
- Due to the strong, durable construction and the 2 to 4 hour fire rating due to ICF construction, the couple’s homeowner’s insurance expense was expected to be reduced by nearly 40%.
Decision Based on Financial Considerations
On a per square foot of wall space (4,306 in this example) basis using ICFs, the cost for the lower level and above grade construction and materials (including ICFs, concrete, rebar and installation labor) was approximately $9.02 which added $11,442 to the “first cost” of the house. Factoring in the reduction in the cost for the HVAC system, the total additional “first” cost for building with ICFs was $9,500.
One of the many benefits of ICF construction is the energy savings provided both in usage and expense. Thinking about this benefit and the fact that their homeowner’s insurance would likely be less, the couple decided not to look so much at the “first cost” of the house, but at what their monthly expenses for living in their home would be. After all they reasoned, before the 30 year mortgage was paid off, they would be selling the home and someone else would be assuming a “first cost” for the home. In reality, they would be renting the home from their mortgage holder for the time they lived in it.
When the couple looked at their expected monthly expense for living in the ICF home, including the mortgage, property taxes, maintenance, homeowners insurance and the cost to heat and cool the home, they quickly realized that the additional expense of $45 per month for building the ICF home would mostly be offset by savings in energy expense and reduced homeowner’s insurance premiums.
Their furnace and water heater would be powered with natural gas. They live in a zone 4 climate where their higher heating expenses are from November through April. Their heating costs in their prior home which was not built with ICFs, were approximately .2 therms per square foot annually (furnace only not including hot water). Natural gas prices were $.79 per therm. At this consumption and price level, they calculated their new home would cost them $500 annually to heat. They assumed that ICF construction would allow them to save minimally 50% on their usage which gave them an annual savings of $250 which is $21 per month.
Their savings on electricity for air conditioning during the summer months at 50% amounted to $41 annually or $3.50 per month. Energy savings in their new home as a result of ICF construction were projected to be approximately $25 monthly, $300 annually and $3,000 over the ten years they expected to live in the home.
So even without the savings provided by lower homeowner’s insurance premiums, the ICF house would cost them only $20 more per month, $240 annually or $2,400 over the ten year period in which they expect to live in the home.
Decision Based on Other Important Factors
This homeowner considered their $2,400 investment in ICF construction in other important ways. They thought about safety and the fact that an ICF house is a virtual bomb shelter in a tornado and will allow them plenty of time to evacuate their home if threatened by fire. They thought about their health and the health of their children. ICF homes are freer of allergens caused by dust and pollen because of their air tight quality. They also require less dusting and vacuuming due to less outside dust-laden air infiltrating their home. Insects, pests and rodents don’t penetrate ICF walls and they don’t like to eat the materials. Mold and mildew do not grow in ICF walls since ICFs resist moisture and do not trap it within the wall cavity as insulated frame walls do.
They thought about how quiet an ICF home is and that while the remainder of the construction in their new housing development was completed they would not be bothered by the sound of construction and machinery in their new neighborhood. And they thought about how consistent the temperature of their new home would be, no warm or cold spots inside and no colder lower level.
In the end it was a “no brainer” for this couple and their two young boys. They decided to build their new custom home with a Cellox® Performance Wall System and in no time other lot owners in their sub-division were asking their builders how they might do the same.