ICF is NOT fire-proof. ICF is fire resistant according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). This is one reason why it’s commonly used in assemblies in schools and hospitals because it has been tested in fire conditions up to 2000° Fahrenheit for up to 4 hours.  

While standard wood-framed walls take 15 minutes to burn and completely collapse within 60 minutes, ICF walls receive no structural damage in this time.  

ICF is fire resistant

A couple homes in California showed the world that ICF is fire resistant when they survived devastating wildfires in 2017 and 2018. Check out this case study on structure loss to read about the aftereffects of the fire and why the homes remained standing among so much loss.

California wildfire leaves few survivors to show ICF if fire resistant
ICF home in San Diego that survived a wildfire (Lennox, 2019)

The exterior finishes, rigid thermal insulation, and concrete cavity are all fire resistant on their own. The EPS foam thermal insulation contains a fire retardant, but the foam itself will also melt rather than burn when it’s exposed to heat. The concrete core is firesafe as it is, which is why homes made with cinder block (CMU) can also be considered fire resistant.

Concrete floors and walls may help contain fire and prevent it from spreading as fast, which would result in less property damage to items inside a building. ICF homes may provide some protection from external fire spread as well.  

Flame can travel as fast as 20 mph, which is why fire spread is so dangerous. While nothing is truly fireproof, people in at-risk areas for wildfires are choosing to build or rebuild their homes in ICF. They believe it will provide the greatest chance of survival for their home.

Builders Bio

Arthur graduated from the University of Georgia with a degree in Business Administration and a major in Real Estate. He entered the construction and development industry in 1991. His companies have built multi-family duplexes, townhomes, apartments, 1000 square foot patio homes and over 10,000 square foot mansions in his home state of Georgia. He has also built many homes in South Carolina and Tennessee.  Arthur has completed a few hundred residential and commercial projects from new home construction, commercial construction and multi-family homes. He has also completed multiple residential land development projects. Arthur has done development projects that include apartments, townhomes, duplexes and single-family subdivisions. Arthur has now turned his focus on the great state of Florida to put all of his years of real estate development and new home construction to use.