ICF – What They Don’t Tell You!

If you have been reading Dimes2Vines for awhile, you know that we began construction on our home overlooking the vineyard in August 2010. We decided to use the Rewards Insulated Concrete Forms mainly because of their insulation value. We completed what will eventually be our basement and moved in the weekend after Thanksgiving, 2011.

We have been very pleased with our ICF home except for one thing - something no one warned us about – chickens like it. Not only do our chickens like it, they LOVE it. Love to eat it that is!

You read it right – our chickens love to peck and eat the styrofoam off the house! They have left holes along the lower edge exposing the supports which are built into the ICF blocks. The concrete which fills the ICF blocks is visible in several areas!

We had temporarily painted the house yellow. Our plan is to put a stone facade on the walk-out basement wall. This will be after the upstairs is finished and dirt is pushed around to cover three sides of the basement making it a true basement.

It might seem logical to shoot some chickens. But, we value their eggs! They lay their eggs in the morning and normally, we let them out of their pen in the afternoon to free range. We could not believe it when we first saw it happening. And, you would not believe the sense of satisfaction gained by running and shooing those chickens away from our house! I am sure we looked like people gone crazy.

We are now taking precautions to keep them away from the house using barriers.

As for the holes, John has filled them with Great Stuff – spray foam which expands. It looks unsightly but does offer protection from water seeping in the holes and flowing into the house. And, yes, that has happened :(

Hopefully, one day in the not too distant future, it will all be covered by dirt or stone. For now, it is one of those funny (yet humbling) things you would not believe unless you saw it!



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Comments

  1. Well at least you can say you’re getting some extra fiber in your eggs!! Would it be cost effective to surround the house with chicken wire, that way they would still be able to be free range, just not able to get at your house?
    Good Luck :)

  2. We have free range chickens and had a problem with them getting into our garden. A chicken wire fence was not a desirable solution to our problem. In order to solve this we used the chicken’s weakness of not wanting to get wet. We installed what are called scarecrows in our garden. Think of a motion sensor that shoots water. It works! If the chickens get near (or anything else like flying bugs, cats, dogs, deer) the garden they get a nice shower of water and the chickens automatically run for the hills. Another advantage we were not counting on was it waters the garden! I am not a sales person for this product (maybe I should be) just thought this might be a solution to your problem.

    They also have a pretty good range of water. We have raised beds with a fairly large size in the middle with gravel (with a scarecrow on each corner), so another advantage is that the kids are going to have a ball this summer! We run these on well water and put these on rechargeable batteries, once the chickens learn where they are you can turn the sensitivity down.

    If you want more information, email me and I will send you the link to where we bought them.

  3. Coat the ICF with Quickwall. This product is used to bond dry stack block walls and is filled with fibers. Bonds well to foam and keeps birds out. I had 6000 sq ft of ICF that the woodpeckers were destroying and this cured it for me.

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