Turning ICF disadvantages into strengths

Like all good things, there’s probably a downside to building a house with ICF, right? If you’ve been doing your own research, you’ve undoubtedly heard about some of the ICF disadvantages.

Fortunately, there aren’t too many ICF disadvantages to begin with. And since most of them can either be explained or solved with a simple fix, we believe the positives easily outweigh any negatives.

When GreenBlock Development Group builds homes, we build them specially to fit the needs of our clients. So whether you build your house with ICF or standard cinder block, we’re going to give you the information you need to make an educated decision.

Here are 5 ICF disadvantages and the truth behind them.

Upfront costs 

Since it’s one of the most energy efficient ways to build, insulated concrete is always going to cost more. However, there are many variables at play when calculating exactly how much more an ICF upgrade will cost. 

Likewise, the exact amount of money you’ll save in energy costs also depends on various factors, but we know from studies that the average percentage of savings for typical energy-conscious, single-family homes usually stays within a range of 40-60%. In some cases, building an ICF home will end up being less expensive and cash flow positive compared to CMU or even wood-frame homes. 

Limited possibility for renovations  

Planning for the future is always tricky, especially when real estate is involved. It makes sense why people prefer to leave their options open for renovations down the road, but anyone with this mindset should always be skeptical to build with ICF. 

The reason for this is because ICF is designed to stay in place despite any natural or human-made disaster, and disaster resistance is one of the best features a home can have! The trade-off is you’ll need to decide right away if you want to install that bay window you’ve had your mind on. 

Basically, this is just a case where you’ll have to choose which unexpected route you would rather prepare for.

Cellular signals 

If you’ve ever been in an ICF building, you might remember the cell phone reception being less than stellar. Don’t worry, you simply need to install a cellular booster to fix this.


poor reception is 1 of 5 ICF disadvantages

Most homeowners would probably agree it’s worth it if it means you’ll have a disaster resistant, energy efficient home. Considering your house will stand for generations, it’s a small investment in the long run.  

GreenBlock Development Group installs a cellular booster in our ICF homes so you don’t have to.


 Thick walls 

Because the design is so sturdy, ICF walls are much thicker than other types of construction. How much this matters is a personal preference, but the reality is that it does reduce a bit of the overall interior space. There are many décor and staging techniques that can be used to compensate for the increased wall thickness. On the plus side, ICF walls can create a very desirable window-well effect!

ICF home builders are difficult to find in some areas 

Not all residential builders work with ICF. If they do, make sure they have the expertise to install it properly to provide the maximum benefits. GreenBlock specializes in building custom and semi-custom homes with ICF and CMU in Southwest Florida.

Contact us to get started on your new home today.  


learn about ICF disadvantages vs advantages
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.