Building with Polystyrene Forms and Concrete

Project: Building an Addition for an Elderly Parent, Episode 2, Part 1

The finished addition will look like the original traditional shingled home and be indistinguishable from the house, but the construction technologies and innovative products in use are anything but traditional. Bob talks with Ron Ardres from ReddiForm about their polystyrene blocks, or ICFs, that reduce steps and labor.  With contractor Todd LaBarge, Bob learns about Insul-Tarp and efficient concrete pours.  Jason McKinnon of Viega North America and Tim Cutler, of TJ’s Plumbing & Heating explain PEX tubing and radiant heat.  Jim Niehoff of the Portland Cement Association and builder Howard Brickman talk about the almost unheard of speed with which the addition is coming together and the anticipated energy-efficiency of the new building. By using concrete and foam construction for the footing, garage, first-floor slab, and walls, and also being used to set up for the upper levels of the addition, significant savings in time, energy, and cost are achieved.

Part 1: Building with Polystyrene Forms and Concrete
The area has been excavated and the slab and footing poured. The pour was done in one step. A number of innovative products were used to make the process faster and easier. Insul-Tarp, an innovative all-in-one vapor barrier and insulation product, was used underneath the floor slab. ReddiForm polystyrene blocks or ICFs, are being used for the walls.

Bob talks with Ron Ardres from ReddiForm about their modified ICF system that reduces steps, labor and money and, thus, speeds the construction. The blocks, lightweight but strong enough to support heavy weight and resist high compression, are simple in design. Their unique layout and flexibility reduces the waste factor to roughly two percent. Steel and glue help reinforce the structure.

In this home, the blocks will be stacked seven and a half feet high to create a basement and a two-car garage. Once the basement walls are complete, foam forms will be put in place horizontally over the structure to act as the first-floor slab.
Part 2: Building a First-Floor Slab and Walls with Concrete
Part 3: Pouring the Upper-Story Walls and Saving Energy with Concrete Construction
More and more homeowners are converting their houses into multi-generational homes for themselves, their children, and their aging parents. In Norwell, MA, Bob Vila meets a couple making room for a mother-in-law.