Frequently Asked Questions
This ICF Help & Advice Centre has been created as a reference and information hub for designing and building ICF structures in general, and Polarwall in particular.
In most construction systems, designing curved walls considered expensive both in terms of extra materials and extra labour.. Happily it is very simple to create curved wall structures in Polarwall. The curved ICF wall is a very similar cost to a straight wall.
With Polarwall it doesn’t even have to be a radius curve. We have had designs based upon a freehand peanut shape. So if you have an absolute need for a kidney shaped pool or house then do give us a call.
How We Help Build Your Curved Wall
At Polarwall, we have a CNC Hotwire machine which cuts with great accuracy. We also have a programme that calculates the sizes of the boards to create a specific curve. Once we receive a curved wall design, then we calculate the board sizes required to make that curve perfectly. We then cut the boards very accurately, and supply these boards cut to size for a huge labour cost saving.
The builders on site, have no problems assembling the curve and it assemble exactly as the design has specified.
In a curves Polarwall structure the builder assmeble the boards and rails vertically instead of horizontally. The curve is actually a series of facets. In a tight curve the board have to be smaller. This means more materials, which can cause extra expense. Large radius curves use the same amount of materials.
Build & Brace a Curved ICF Wall
Think of the curve like an arch. The force of the concrete pressure pushes the faceted boards tight together. It is almost impossible to burst on the inside as these boards are in compression. The outer boards are different and the concrete is trying to push them apart. To counteract this the curved wall needs some strapping around this outer face. Several strips of flexible ply will hold it tight together. An alternative is to uses ratchet straps if the curve is a full circle.
In our years in business, we have seen many curved structures. These have included a Hot Tub (don’t ask for this). and a wall curved freehand by the architect. We have seen tight curves and sweeping curved walls. Our most challenging curve was a wall curved in section rather than plan. We called this one the pregnant wall!
For reinforcement of a curved wall, see our section on reinforcement in ICF walls
The various sections above cover the main topics for ICF construction both above and below ground.
Do not use this as an alternative to what your chosen manufacturer recommends. We can do things with Polarwall that ICF blocks can’t do and there may some things that you do with other ICFs that Polarwall can’t do. For example our instructions on vibrating the concrete may not be wise on some EPS block systems.
We want to add to and develop this section, so we welcome all your questions, suggestions for topics and feedback. If you want to go deeper into a topic please let us know. This advice hub does not replace our training (or any other companies training) and you still need to avail yourself of our FREE training course.