Insulated Concrete Form Construction Using Zipblocks
Insulated concrete form construction is about to get a lot easier and more reliable thanks to Zipblocks. Our approach to insulated concrete form construction is unlike anything that you have ever seen and it is exceedingly simple.
We Are New to Insulated Concrete Form Construction – Have New Ideas and are Seeking Partners
We are new to the insulated concrete form (ICF) world so this article will be the first time that you’ve heard about our systems. In fact, our ICF systems are so new that the only thing that we can presently show you are some pictures of prototype blocks that we’ve made in a garage. Don’t be discouraged though, if you are reading this article then you already have an interest in insulated concrete form construction and you’ll enjoy reading about our approach to insulated concrete form construction.
Best of all, if you or someone you know is interested in helping us bring this system to market send us an email. We’d love to hear your ideas on improving our current systems and your thoughts on bringing Zipblock ICF systems to market. While we can rapidly produce molds for updated components we still lack the means to commercialize our systems and are seeking partners that can help.
Why All Our Blocks Have Indentations on Them
If you’ve been perusing over our site, then you have probably been wandering what all those funny looking indentations that are on the tops of our blocks are for. Their only purpose is to allow the insertion of clips from which “things” can be attached. For insulated concrete form construction, rebar supports will be attached to them.
To date we have made all our blocks with these indentations in them. Making one sets of molds that has these indentations was our only option. This is because, while it would have been nicer to make some of our demo blocks without these ugly indentations, the lack time, money, and resources prevented us from making two sets of molds. So, best to make a “universal” block that can be used to illustrate all Zipblock capabilities even though the indentations are only used when “things” need to be solidly attached to the side of a block.
High-Level Overview of Current ICF System
If you look closely at the below picture, you’ll see that the top right block has two exposed yellow clips seated into some indentations.
These yellow clips sit flush against the top of tops of blocks. When another block is placed over the clips, as shown in the next picture, the clips are firmly locked into place.
For insulated concrete form construction, orange rebar supports get inserted into the yellow clips. Rebar is then attached to the orange rebar supports and secured into place with a bit of steel wire.
At first glance our ICF systems appear to be like most other ICF systems, but appearances can be very deceiving. While our ICF systems function in a similar manner, the simplicity of our ICF systems provide ICF builders with many advantages.
List of Zipblock ICF Advantages Over Traditional ICF’s
You Choose Where, When and How to Place Rebar Supports
If you wanted to you could place rebar supports every four inches horizontally and every four inches vertically. No one would ever want to use them this close, but the point to be made here is simply that you can place clips and rebar supports anywhere! Traditional insulated concrete form construction systems don’t even come close offering you this latitude of flexibility.
Reinforce Forms With Ease
The above picture shows an orange and white plastic reinforced block connector inserted into a block. Note how the yellow clip completely surrounds the reinforced key. This configuration adds lots of strength to walls.
The reinforced connector shown in the picture is only a few inches long. Reinforced connectors come in sizes of up to eight feet in length.
Imagine how strong an ICF form will be if you placed eight-foot reinforced block connectors at one foot intervals. With the combined strength of interlocking blocks and reinforced block connectors we are talking about some extremely strong walls.
Another benefit of adding long reinforced block connectors is that all the support provided is uniformly tucked away into your walls. This means that less external bracing is required to be added prior to pouring concrete. The long reinforced connectors also provide a convenient and strong point to which wood studs, bracing, sheet rock, etc., can be secured.
Even More Strength
As if all the strength factors that we have talked about were not enough, clips can also be used to secure blocks together. The above picture illustrates how two blocks can be secured together using a clip.
At this point it has clearly been established that you, the builder, will have total control over the strength of your Zipblock insulated concrete forms. Best of all, increasing wall strength is a very simple process. With Zipblocks you won’t spend much time worrying about weak walls. Odds are that you’ll worry more about making your walls too strong, because you don’t want to waste money on embedding an excessive amount of supports!
Our insulated concrete form construction system is fully interlocking and is therefore inherently stronger and subject to fewer blowouts. Other insulated concrete form construction systems stack and subsequently require that a great deal of attention is focused on preventing blowouts and securing stacked blocks.
Cams Ensures Snug Fit
Cam-like features in our blocks pull engaged blocks together upon placement. The above picture shows the lug of the left block about to be engaged with the cam of the right block. Cams ensure that engaged blocks are secured together firmly. This engagement system makes blocks placed together act as if they were glued together!
Traverse Large Spans Without Supports
Eight-foot-long fully interlocking lengths of block allow you to traverse over large openings with ease. The picture above shows two connected eight-foot-long blocks. It sure would be nice if we had a picture showing some blocks traversing a large span, but as mentioned earlier, our current block stock is limited to some prototype blocks that we’ve made.
Using our ICF system you can easily span over openings as large as a garage without the hassle of having to first put supports in place. This is unlike traditional ICF systems that require bracing to be put into place first.
Large Open Spans Get Stronger as You Place More Blocks
Here’s the best thing about traversing over unsupported spans with our blocks, the more blocks that you weave into place, the stronger the unsupported section becomes. This is possible because when you engage blocks together a cam-like action happens and the blocks are drawn together.
Here’s one way to explain how more blocks make unsupported spans stronger. When you slide two blocks together the cam-like action is almost the same as if the blocks are physically “glued” together.
If you were to hold out one eight-foot-section of block by its end it would sag just a little over the span because of the stress. But, if you glued two blocks together and then held them out in the same manner the sag would be far less because now you have the strength of two blocks that are physically glued together. So, when you are sliding blocks into place over a span, every block that you add makes it stronger.
All Zipblock Product Dimensions Are Based on Cubes
If you take a very close look at the block in the below picture, you’ll notice that the block has a length of 16 inches and that the block appears to be comprised of 4 sections that are 4 inches in length. Zipblocks are based on cubes. Excluding the protruding lugs, this block has the dimensions of four 4-inch cubes placed end to end. Excluding lugs this block measures 16-inches-long by 4-inches-tall by 4-inches-wide.
The point of the detailed analysis of this single block is that its dimensions are based entirely on multiples of cubes. The product dimensions of the block in the above picture is based on 4-inch cubes. All Zipblock building products are based on cubes and this greatly simplifies construction.
Cubic Building Products Are Simpler to Work With
The above picture illustrates why cubic-based building products are so very simple to work with. If your architect designs on a 4-inch grid, then everything lines perfectly with our 4-inch-cube based products! Why would you not want to do this?
Deviations from this grid need only to occur around doors, windows, and the tops of walls. These areas can readily be trimmed out and/or framed in using traditional building products and materials. Adjusting opening sizes is a piece of cake as all the openings will be some multiple of 4-inches.
Zero Block Waste
So long as you have your architect design your building on a 4-inch grid, you can plan for zero block waste! Yes, you read that right, 100% of the blocks you purchase will go into constructing your building with absolutely none of the blocks going to waste.
This is possible because when you cut longer Zipblocks into shorter Zipblocks you are simply creating two smaller and yet completely functional Zipblocks. Remember, Zipblocks are based on cubes. So long as Zipblocks are cut to the appropriate number of cubes you will never waste your Zipblocks.
Easy to Calculate Required Building Materials
It just doesn’t get any simpler. To calculated the quantity of Zipblocks that you need for a job all that you need to know is “how many cubes” are in your project! Because all Zipblocks are based on lengths of cubes you simply order enough cubes for your project.
Let’s say that you simply wanted to build an 8-foot-by-8-foot-by-4-inch thick Zipblock wall. First figure out the number of cubes that you need:
- The wall measures 96 inches wide by 96 inches tall
- 96 inches / 4 inches per cube = 24 cubes
- 24 cubes long x 24 cubes high = 576 cubes
- The total number of cubes needed is 576
Let’s say that you want to build your wall using blocks that are 16-inches long. Here’s how to figure out how many of these blocks you’ll need:
- 576 cubes are required for the wall
- Blocks to be purchased are 16-inches long
- Calculate cubes per block (16 inches) / 4 inches = 4
- Blocks to be purchased are 4-cubes-long
- 576 / 4 = 144
- 144 16-inch Zipblocks are required
If you used 8-foot long blocks, then here’s how to figure out the number of blocks you’ll need:
- 576 cubes are required for the wall
- Blocks to be purchased are 8-feet long
- Calculate cubes per block (8 feet x 12 inches) / 4 inches = 24
- Blocks to be purchased are 24 cubes long
- 576 / 24 = 24
- 24 8-foot Zipblocks are required
Easy for Architects
Don’t need to say much here as this is rather self-evident. CAD programs are great. It’s even easier to use them if you constrain a layout to “adhere” to a grid. Not only is this easier but it also simplifies your drawings and prohibits mistakes as constraints can quickly be set that ensure your layout follows a simple 4-inch-grid.
Architects will also love the fact that materials cost calculations are simple. Once we finally start manufacturing Zipblocks we will also be able to provide definitive R-values for our building products.
No Need To Burn
Generally speaking cured polyurethane foam doesn’t burn. Even better is the fact that fire retardant additives can easily be added to polyurethane so that cured polyurethane foam will emit nominal gases under extreme heat. It’s reasonable to say that well over 95% of the ICF products being sold are made from polystyrene. Polystyrene burns.
Getting Zipblock ICF Products To Market
Because Zipblocks Are So Great It Is Inevitable That They Will Be Manufactured
Zipblock ICF building products offer many desirable advantages over traditional ICF building products. Even better, Zipblock products have a wide range of applications outside of insulated concrete form construction. It is because of all this that it is inevitable that Zipblock products will eventually be manufactured because they have so many positive values.
Limited Time Opportunity
Now is the time to reach out to us if you want to get involved with launching a line of products that unquestionably has global application. We are looking for partners interested in bringing Zipblock products to market.
We’ve had numerous conversations with potential partners in the past. But, now, we are at a different venue. We now have actual products, patents, and lot of proprietary manufacturing knowledge.
Lack of Information on Our Web site
Yes, our website is not the greatest. Yes, there is a lot more information that you would like to know about that is not on this website. But here’s the deal. The material that you are reading on this website is/was created all by one person.
It takes a lot of time an effort for a one person with a full-time job and a family to create a website that will:
- Present lots of good information about our products in an informative and pleasant manner.
- Get indexed by search engines such that a fair amount of people interested in our technologies will be directed to our site.
We Are Slowly Rebuilding Our Site
Speaking of websites. We recently took an axe to our website. We simply chopped it down. While this is certainly not an ideal way to make changes it is the certainly the quickest and easiest way. We are changing all of our web site content because we were previously looking for a partner that would be interested in “developing and manufacturing” our products.
We are now seeking partners interested in “manufacturing.” So, day-by-day, week-by-week, content is slowly being added to this site in a concerted effort to find a partner.
A lot of people will be reading this. And, without question, a lot of the people that read about our products think that they are great and would buy them if they were available. But they are not available and this is where things end.
If you like our products, please share your thoughts about them with a friend or two. If a number of people do this then hopefully we’ll find a manufacturer/partner quicker and subsequently get our products to market so that you and your friends may enjoy them.
Should you our someone you know be interested in manufacturing Zipblocks, please contact us. We would love to discuss Zipblock products with you, know your thoughts on some of our designs, and develop a plan to get Zipblocks to market.