Frequently Asked Questions About LiteForm

Q: How do I install baseboard to the LiteForm walls?

A: One of the best ways is to rip cut ½” plywood to a width 2 to 2 ½ ” then screw it in place to the plastic ties along all the walls (including the partition walls) before the drywall contractors get there.

Now the drywall contractors can set their ½” drywall on top of the ½” plywood and will cut the edge of the drywall sheets accordingly to suit this height. The result is you have full wood fastening for nails along the complete wall surface and the plywood will to be covered by the baseboard. Other options include fastening the baseboard with construction adhesives, or relying on the strength of the drywall by angling the finish nails in an alternating pattern, securing the baseboard to the drywall.

Q: How do you attach drywall and siding?

A: It is anchored to the concealed spacer ties with threaded screws. Smooth nails are not recommended. Exterior siding is often attached to a continuous furring strip, which has been anchored to the spacer ties. Spacer ties are NOT exposed to the surface so exterior EIFS or stucco finishes can be readily applied.

Q: Does it cost more to build a LiteForm structure?

A: Typically a home built with LiteForm will cost slightly more than a comparable wood-frame home. However, much or all of this cost can be recouped through significantly lower utility and energy bills, insurance savings and downsizing of heating and cooling equipment.

Q: How big is a LiteForm block?

A: Blocks are 16″ tall and 48″ wide (5.33 square feet of form wall). You can use blocks, which produce concrete walls from 4″ thick to 12″ thick, in 2-inch increments. The insulating walls are 2.5″ thick per side. CAUTION! Order blocks by the Concrete Wall Thickness, not the overall thickness. For instance, 8″ blocks (for an 8″ concrete wall) are 12″ thick, overall.

Q: How much money can I expect to save on my utility bills?

A: A study commissioned by the Portland Cement Association concluded that homes built with ICF exterior walls offer up to a 50 percent savings for heating and cooling costs over comparable wood-frame houses in some climates. This means that a typical 2,450-square-foot home in the United States may save approximately $200 in heating costs and $65 in air conditioning each year. The larger the house, the larger the potential savings. Some homes are realizing $1,000 per year in savings!

Q: How high can I form and pour at one time?

A: There are techniques for forming and filling commercial walls 30 feet tall and more. Multi-story buildings are usually formed and filled a story (9-10 feet) at a time, paying close attention to proper concrete placement.

Q: How fast can I place concrete?

A: Concrete should be placed in 4-foot lifts (passes), at a rate of 8-feet per hour. For an 8-foot wall, concrete is placed in 2 lifts. Approximately 30 minutes after placement, concrete will support its own weight, allowing for the 2nd lift to be placed above it. CAUTION! If concrete slump exceeds 6″ or contains liquefiers, place it in 3-foot lifts, to reduce the risk of a form failure.

Q: Do the forms float when concrete is placed?

A: No. The narrow ties are designed to allow unrestricted concrete flow, thereby minimizing floating. It is important to follow proper concrete placement procedures to prevent excessive vibration, which could result in a broken seal between layers, allowing concrete leakage.

Q: Should I waterproof a basement?

A: Waterproofing is recommended for all regions. Insulating form walls do not prevent groundwater penetration. Damproofing is only adequate for extremely dry regions where groundwater is not present.

Q: What do I use, to waterproof a basement?

A: A good quality brand of self-adhesive waterproof membrane (60 mil or heavier) is recommended. LiteForm can provide a heavy duty peel and stick membrane that is compatible with the LiteForm blocks. CAUTION! Latex damproofing liquids should not be used as a substitute for waterproofing. We shouldn’t limit this to self-adhering. Spray-on, trowel-on, and rigid systems can be used per manufacturer instructions.

Q: Do I build through a window/door opening?

A: No. Waste is minimized by installing openings and bulkheads as the wall are being formed.

Q: How much rebar (reinforcing steel) do I need?

A: That is determined by local building codes, structural engineers or the generally accepted construction practices for your type of structure.

Q: Do I need to use a concrete pump?

A: No. However, if concrete is placed from a truck, you must have access to all sides of the structure so that each ‘lift’ can be placed evenly. For above-grade structures, a pump is recommended.

Q: Can the forms be removed?

A: LiteForm is designed as a ‘stay-in-place’ forming system. The form’s insulation actually bonds to the concrete wall, making removal difficult.