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February 09, 2023
What Types of Exterior Finishes Work with ICF Construction?

Insulated concrete forms are being used more frequently for exterior wall construction as the demand rises for eco-friendly and cost-effective building materials. Architects often have questions about how ICFs will affect their designs since they are responsible for the projects’ final aesthetics.

Fortunately, Nudura ICFs can accommodate virtually any design and exterior finish to create the beautiful façade that the owner is seeking whether for residential or commercial purposes. Here are some of the most popular cladding options that can be used with ICFs:

Brick and Stone

Brick and stone, including limestone and granite, create a classic aesthetic that stands the test of time and are both durable and low maintenance. While these natural materials may cool down a house better in warm temperatures than other cladding materials, they can be a pricier option.

Brick or stone can be installed as a finished product onto the Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) material of ICFs through a brick ledge that provides support at the base of the brick or stone. To tie the brick or stone to the wall, brick ties are installed into the ICF fastening strip with screws. For material requiring a heavier or more robust connection, anchoring back to the concrete is also possible.


Wood, cement, steel, and vinyl siding are often a more affordable route for exterior cladding, but some require more maintenance than brick or stone. Still, many like them because they are well-suited to certain aesthetics. For example, wood siding is often used to achieve a cottage chic look.

These siding finishes can all be installed onto ICFs either vertically or horizontally, just be sure to follow the siding manufacturer’s installation instructions. Vertical siding may require additional strapping to be attached to the ICF’s fastening strips, which are located every 8” (200mm) on center and up the full height of the form. Some manufacturers will recommend that siding be nailed to the wall, however screws must always be used on an ICF, as nails will not provide adequate holding power through the polypropylene fastening strips.


Many owners prefer stucco finishes because they are relatively low maintenance, very durable, and can easily be painted a different color. The wide range of textures also offers architects unique design possibilities.

Stucco is one of the top finishes for Nudura ICFs because it can be directly applied to the EPS using a metal lath that is easily screwed into the furring strips built into the forms. All types of stucco materials used in the construction industry can be applied to Nudura ICFs.


Exterior Insulation Finishing Systems (EIFS) is a popular cladding option due to its continuous insulation and the acrylic coating overtop that is available in countless colors, textures, and looks. From wood grain, stone, metallic and reflective surfaces, weathered steel, and more, the aesthetic options with acrylic finishes are infinite. These systems can be installed directly to the Nudura ICFs given the proper surface preparation outlined in the application instructions.

Exterior Panels

Panelization for exterior cladding is becoming increasingly popular due to the design versatility, quality assurance, and labor-savings that come from the prefabricated nature of the assembly. Metal, stone, and continuous insulation (CI) panels with an acrylic finish can be directed screwed or attached to Nudura ICFs using a furring girt system. Additional strapping may be required based upon manufacturer recommendations.

Direct-applied TAFS™

Textured Acrylic Finishes, also known as TAFS, enable a wide range of aesthetics directly over an ICF wall with an impact- and crack-resistant surface. Choose from an array of colors, textures, and decorative shapes to create any exterior design you can imagine.

Parge Coat

A roller- or spray-applied acrylic-based parge coat or Horizon Parge Coarse Coat can be used to cover the exposed ICF foam for the bottom 6-12 inches (15-30 cm) of the structure where the exterior finish ends down to the ground where the below-grade waterproofing begins.

Other Finish Options

If you’re working with a specialty system or have any questions about the exterior finish for your structure, speak to a Nudura sales representative for support.

Check out the endless exterior finish options possible with Nudura ICFs by browsing our residential application and commercial project galleries.


We’re committed to supporting homeowners and design professionals who are interested in or use our products. We’re always happy to help and provide more information.