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Building Matters

Benefits of Building with ICFs

Builder Josh Salinger explains how and why he's creating the foundation for this new energy-efficient home out of insulated concrete forms.

Josh Salinger, owner of Birdsmouth Design-Build, is on-site in Portland, Ore., to discuss the benefits of using insulated concrete forms (ICFs) to build a foundation for a small, energy-efficient building. ICFs are modular concrete forms that permanently remain in place to provide insulation for the structure they enclose. The ICFs are used instead of traditional forms for pouring a concrete wall. Each ICF block consists of a pair of expanded polystyrene (EPS) rigid-insulation slabs separated by plastic struts to create a void for pouring the concrete.

This project is on an net-zero-energy accessory dwelling unit (ADU), which will be a secondary housing structure built on the back of this single-family residential lot. ADUs are often rented out and used as supplemental income. Other times, they’re used for expanding families. In this case, the ADU will be be a home for grandparents who want to live closer to their children and their newborn grandchild.

Check back soon to see more videos by Josh about the construction of this home.


  1. PAUL KUENN | | #1

    What's going on above in the sponsored content?? No links.

  2. alacartebuild | | #2

    I don't get Josh's detail under the doors for breaking thermal bridging...any chance could see a cross section drawing of that detail? Does the door threshold sit directly on foam?...or is there a 2x sill plate there somewhere?

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