We're building an ICF house

Discussion in 'Shiny Things' started by adam_c_eckhardt, Jun 16, 2012.

  1. Commuter Boy

    Commuter Boy Long timer

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    Best one is whatever you can find a local, experienced installer to work with. Trying to teach an old dog new tricks can get expensive fast when you're working with concrete.
  2. Neil E.

    Neil E. Been here awhile

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    I don't know if it's popular in residential construction but diamond polishing is really nice. Every epoxy coated concrete floor I've ever seen (industrial) winds up being chipped and looks crappy. A polished concrete floor finish is fine enough to eliminate any concrete dust.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polished_concrete
  3. adam_c_eckhardt

    adam_c_eckhardt halfway there

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    We went with propane. I'm not a fan of having a tank of fuel oil on my property. We're also cooking with propane, so as long as we have the tank we might as well heat that way too. Being very well insulated, we're not terribly worried about using a lot of fuel regardless the type. We've also got a wood burning stove, but I think it'll make too much heat for the place. We'll see- I think it's just going to be something nice to look at. :lol3

    Funny story how I chose an ICF manufacturer- I went with the guy that returned my phone calls and emails. Nudura didn't call back. Integraspec didn't call back. Reward did. If you followed the whole thread you'll see that the end stages of that turned out disastrous, but that had more to do with their district rep/contractor than it did the block itself. Either way, pretty bad PR for them.

    My GC does a lot of frost walls and foundations with integraspec. His guys like working with them FWIW.
  4. adam_c_eckhardt

    adam_c_eckhardt halfway there

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    I'll see what I can do. It's kinda hard to get interior shots with our camera.
  5. adam_c_eckhardt

    adam_c_eckhardt halfway there

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    I LOVE the look of polished concrete floors. In fact I was really hoping to go in that direction until I got a few price quotes. Basically it looked like upwards of $10 a square foot, which is way more than we wanted to spend. I even looked into renting the equipment, but that's pretty expensive too and the end result isn't guaranteed. :lol3
  6. cab591

    cab591 Been here awhile

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    Sorry for the delayed reply. The floors were like that when I moved in. The whole area is inspired by French Quarter New Orleans. The developers are just a small group, and they're pretty friendly, so they might answer questions. I don't have a phone number or email, but here's their website. (it's flash, and won't work on my phone, but there's probably a contact link on there somewhere.)

    Hope this helps. Good luck.
  7. Going_Commando

    Going_Commando Been here awhile

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    Well, if you also want a standby generator, then I would buy a 500 gallon tank outright (not sure what metric conversion is on that), so you get a better deal on propane. For the generator, I would go with either a Kohler or an Onan 10 or 12kW unit. The 20kW ones use waaay too much propane for emergency situations. The last time I figured it (I think for Adam's house even :lol3), a 500 gallon tank would last about 10 days on a 20kW generator at 50% load. So, I recommend going with a smaller power unit and just dealing with not doing laundry, running the AC, cooking Thanksgiving dinner, etc, and having significantly lower fuel usage. Plus, if you are heating with propane too, then the combo of a big generator and heat is going to be ridiculous. For your usage, a 10kWish generator will run 16 days on a full tank (80%) of propane, at 50% load, 24/7. For heat+the generator, you are propably looking at 15 days on a full tank.
  8. MitchG

    MitchG Iron Collector

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    I've done a few commercial facilities this way, we call it "Terrazzo". Do a quick Google pic search. I think you will like what you see.
  9. Dave.0

    Dave.0 Been here awhile

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    We had the floors of our house diamond polished. When we bought the place the cement floors were coated, and and coating was yellowed and chipping. Diamond polishing looks way better and is basically maintenance free, but it is expensive (and messy when they do it) but it should basically never have to be redone. It exposes the underlying aggregate, and does give it a bit of a terrazzo look, depending on the aggregate mix, but is not true terrazzo.
  10. Gramp-Z

    Gramp-Z Been here awhile

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    Just stumbled across this thread . Sir , that is one fine looking , well thought out dwelling ! Hat is off to you and your wife on making some very good choices . I will be retiring in a year or two and may think about building a smaller version of your house . Thanks for the thread , it is nice to learn from someone actually building in one of several methods I am considering . Will be following along until you finish . Thank you !
  11. farmerger

    farmerger Snowed in Adventurer

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    Wow, you sir are the Bob Vila of ADVRider!!!:clap I'm off to research propane generators now. Thx.
  12. Going_Commando

    Going_Commando Been here awhile

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    Just an electrician who has installed more than a few standby generators and went to school to service Generacs (note how I didn't recommend them :lol3). Hope I at least pointed you in the right direction anyway. Now if I could only have won that same argument with Adam...
  13. adam_c_eckhardt

    adam_c_eckhardt halfway there

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    What argument? I only have loud discussions. :lol3

    We're going with a generator at some point- just don't know when, and it will be propane. Doesn't code say that if you have an automatic transfer switch that the generator has to be able to power EVERYTHING in the house? Just curious.

    We pre-wired for the hot tub today. Not that we can afford one but at least we can plug one in. Also got the well wired up and was happy to see water for the first time. We're getting close to being done with the rough-in wiring. A few nights this week and we should have it.

    After the plumber does his thing I'm going to pre-plumb for central vacuum.

    The AV guy continued wiring today (he likes working weekends when the rest of the crew isn't around.)
  14. adam_c_eckhardt

    adam_c_eckhardt halfway there

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    Thanks.

    Check out www.rosschapin.com for some really awesome smaller home designs.

    I'm kinda torn on if I'd do another ICF home or not. If I didn't go with ICFs I think I'd build 2x12 walls instead. It's a neat feeling being inside the home- very quiet and solid feeling. No creaks when the wind blows. I definitely am glad that all 3 levels are concrete slabs with radiant heat in them- and I don't know how you'd pull that off without concrete walls to hold them up. We could debate it all day long. :lol3 If you're in the area you're welcome to stop by for a visit.
  15. ian408

    ian408 Oh? Administrator

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    I don't think you need to power the whole house, just the panel you'd want to provide emergency power to. Stuff like fridge, heating, convenience outlets and what not.
  16. Going_Commando

    Going_Commando Been here awhile

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    Shoot me the square footage, what you'll have for AC, and how deep your well is (roughly) and I will shoot you the info for how big a generator you need to do a whole house transfer switch, and give you a couple other options too.
  17. weave

    weave Been here awhile

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    We're going with a generator at some point- just don't know when, and it will be propane. Doesn't code say that if you have an automatic transfer switch that the generator has to be able to power EVERYTHING in the house? Just curious.

    you can wire the transfer switch to an emergency panel, those items you wish to use when the power is out. Meets code and allows you to use smaller generator.
  18. Mambo Dave

    Mambo Dave Backyard Adventurer

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    Subscribed.

    That floor pour video was great.
  19. adam_c_eckhardt

    adam_c_eckhardt halfway there

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    Roughly 2200 square feet finished. 2800 total.
    Well pump is about 450 feet down.
    30 amp wall oven
    gas cooktop
    AC is off a double pole 20 amp
    Don't forget the hot tub. :lol3
  20. Going_Commando

    Going_Commando Been here awhile

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    Soo, after doing a bunch of calcs, and figuring pricing versus fuel consumption/hr, buy a 20KW :lol3 (forget the hot tub on the generator). I didn't realize you had an electric oven before, and load shedding just the AC doesn't really save you enough $$ to mention with the oven in the picture. I figured it was gas, and that thing is a power hog. The load calc for your house comes out to 19,820VA, which equates to 19.8kW, or 83A. If you had gone with a gas oven, and slapped the AC on a load shed module, you could get away with a 10 or 12kW generator, hence why I mentioned 10kW earlier. The Kohler 20kW should only set you back about another $500 over a Generac 20kW, and with that in mind I would go Kohler 6 days a week and twice on Sunday. An Onan 20kW (Cat's ass, bee's knees, Cadillac, etc) is going to cost about $1000 more than the Kohler, but even that, in my opinion, is worth it in every way. When I get my own place in the sticks, it is going to have an Onan for backup power. I have worked on several Onans that are 20, 30, 40, 50 years old, and are still purring along like kittens (really big, noisy kittens :lol3).

    Engine work on a Generac is a test in patience and fortitude, so if your Generac needs to be worked on outside of warranty, it is going to be pricey as hell. The Kohler is still easier to take apart than a Generac, but neither can touch the Onan. It looks like Onan hopped on the V-Twin bandwagon, which is really too bad. Their older residential standby generators were boxer twins, and were an absolute breeze to work on. Here are some spec sheets for you to peruse:
    Onan:http://www.cumminsonan.com/www/html/Common/pdf/specsheets/a-1555.pdf
    Kohler:http://kohlerpower.com/onlinecatalog/pdf/g4209.pdf
    Generac: http://www.generac.com/Brochures/0193260SBY.pdf

    If you want, I can PM you some prices, but I am not going to put them up in the public domain for obvious reasons.