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Getting Started with ICF Construction

Questions about how to install an ICF system are quite common, even among experienced builders and contractors who may be interested in exploring the technology for the first time. Here is a basic look at the first few steps involved in construction, starting out from a basement or slab on grade condition:

  1. START AT THE CORNERS: The installer will begin by chalking out an outline of where the building will stand, and then set the corner form ICF units in place.
  2. MEET OUTSIDE DIMENSIONS: The standard forms will be cut to achieve the appropriate wall length, and then laid in from corner to corner. Typically, there won’t be any openings in a slab on grade condition – those will begin to form after the second course.
  3. BRING IN THE REINFORCEMENTS: Horizontal steel will be positioned within the form units in the cavity in preparation for reinforcing the wall.
  4. LEVEL IT OFF: Once the second course is laid up, laser levels can ensure perfectly square, plumb and level walls.
  5. STACK: Place the units on top of each other. While some units are friction fit, Nudura forms use a vertical integrated interlock that holds the units solidly together along the horizontal line of the form. ICF units can be male/female (think Lego blocks) or completely reversible, with the interlocks molded into the top and bottom of forms.
  6. PREPARE FOR WINDOWS AND DOORS: As construction continues, installers will want to use a buck material to help create a rough opening where windows and doors will be set and anchored. Made of wood or steel, bucks enable the concrete to be held back and formed in the opening and can be utilized and interfaced with any ICF.

To learn how to complete the process, check our free online training course. We’ll illustrate the process of inserting more reinforcing steel and pouring the concrete, whether it’s just for the foundation or where ICF results are best: building to the roof.


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.