ICF Foundations: Things to Know Before You Build

Are you planning on using ICF to build your concrete foundation? Great choice! Your new basement will outperform the building code and give your buyers a more comfortable living space.

To help your ICF project succeed, we’ve jotted down a few helpful tips on planning, design, and installation. Read on to find out more!

Space planning with ICF

  • Consider how you’ll plan the space. To be realistic, allot roughly half of the ICF basement to storage and mechanicals, and leave the other half for living space. With this much living space available below grade, explore the option of reducing the square footage of the main floors. This trade-off will optimize the home’s floor areas and save your buyers money. 
  • Keep in mind that ICF works above grade too. Upgrading your main floor walls to ICF will speed up installation, reduce your project’s material use, boost the home’s energy efficiency, and free up some floor area. 

Design with ICF in mind

  • Regardless of the basement’s intended height, try to design your walls to a 4-inch height increment. This way you can use a combination of our regular 16” tall blocks and our 12” tall V12 blocks and you won’t have to cut the top course.
  • Avoid 1-foot jog corners. Instead, go with 16-inch, or better, 32-inch corners. 
  • Keep the block height in mind when designing footings. Ideally, the footing steps should measure 16 inches to match a course of Logix ICF blocks.
  • Use the Logix Prescriptive Tables and our One Minute Engineer for tips on designing and reinforcing your ICF basement. Or, click here to discuss your project in-depth with an ICF engineer
  • If you’re introducing ICF to approved plans and your floor areas change, get the architect or engineer to review the changes. In some cases, you may have to tell your local building authority as well.  

Plan before your build 

  • The soil beneath your site may be full of costly hazards. To prevent surprises and stunning unexpected costs, get a geotechnical survey and establish the soil conditions before you build.
  • We’ve had builders who can erect a 2,000 ft² ICF basement in 3-4 working days with a crew of 3. That said, if you’re new to the game plan at least a week to build a standard-sized ICF foundation once the footings are in place. 
  • Budget for adding drywall to the basement walls. This is a code requirement you’ll need to meet to get the occupancy permit. 
  • If you need a rough cost estimate, use our Logix One Minute Estimator or ask a local dealer. For a firm number, however, reach out to an installer and get them to quote your project.

Install your ICF with care

  • If you’re setting up an ICF basement for the first time, see our Logix Installation Guide for full instructions. Follow the steps with care to avoid errors and rework. 
  • Tell the installer to keep your footings level. Ideally, they shouldn’t slant more than one-quarter of an inch. 
  • Ask your local Logix ICF dealer about bracing rental options if you can’t source standard ICF bracing. 
  • Keep the waterproofing membrane safe from leaks and holes. Halo® rigid insulation products add a quality, cost-effective protective layer to your basement walls and slab; ask your Logix dealer for a quote.
  • Cover the weeping tile with at least 6 inches of drainage material.

Wrapping it up

Our final, and most vital tip is this: call your local Logix ICF dealer sooner rather than later!

Most Logix products are can be bought through Logix dealers, who may also offer ICF bracing rentals and installation services. A Logix ICF dealer can: 

  • provide quantity take-offs, advice and technical support, and 
  • refer you to local, ICF-experienced construction professionals for quotes, installation and design services. 

We hope our tips and resources, like the One Minute Estimator and the Logix Prescriptive Table, will help you build your ICF foundation with success. Until next time! 



Content provided by: Andy Lennox, President at Logix Brands Inc