ICFs 101: Air Quality


Custom Homes LTD is fully committed to building environmentally friendly homes, which includes maintaining the air quality  indoors. We face environmental pollution every day we step outside our door. Emissions from industries, carbon monoxide emissions from cars, trucks and buses, and many other toxins affect the air we breathe. It’s hard enough to deal with all of that, much of which is outside the scope of our immediate control, without also having to be concerned with our indoor air quality.

Indoor air pollution is a great health concern today. Household cleaning products, mold, mildew, animal dander, dust mites and outgassing (VOCs) from paint and glues used in carpeting, all invade the air inside our homes, the very place we look to for shelter and safety. Certain building materials, such as pressed board (commonly used in sub-flooring) and sheathing on wood construction, release contaminants like formaldehyde into our homes. Ventilation plays a role in how these pollutants affect us.

It’s clear that we need a breath of fresh air, and one solution lies in the materials we choose to build our homes. A home built with Insulating Concrete Forms (ICFs) has many advantages over a “stick built” (wood) house:

  • ICF walls are non-toxic.
  • ICF walls release little or no VOCs or airborne particulates. The measurement of air contents of actual ICF houses shows an almost complete absence of any emissions.
  • ICF walls reduce air infiltration by 75%: The effects of hay fever, asthma, and other airborne allergies can be greatly alleviated as a direct result of the reduced leakage of outside air, which brings dust, pollen, and other pollutants.
  • ICFs create an air barrier which helps improve indoor air quality by limiting the amount of moisture that can enter your home through infiltration. That also provides better control for the heating, ventilating and air-conditioning (HVAC) system.
  • ICFs limit moisture, so there’s less chance of problems with mold or mildew growth.


ICFs are also great insulators, fire and wind resistant, and super-strong. Using materials such as ICFs along with low-VOC paints, and plant-based cleaning agents will contribute to better indoor air quality and a healthier environment for everyone.

For more information about building your new custom home with ICFs, contact Custom Homes LTD for a builder consultation. (210) 559-9293