ICF Help & Advice

Our insulated concrete formwork help & advice centre has been created as a reference and information hub for designing and building ICF structures in general, and Polarwall in particular.

ICF Design

The Black Art of Acoustics

The science of acoustics is a bit of a Black Art, and designing an ICF structure for noise reduction is not an exact science. It is likely to be more successful than designing a quiet and tranquil lightweight structure though!

Within the home there are two main types of noise. One is impact sound such as heels clicking on a tiled floor and the solution for this is simple. Carpet slippers or carpets is an easy fix.

Airborne Noise Reduction

The other type of noise is airborne noise, from shouting, talking, music, TV, and electrical appliances. The noise of living. Heavy construction with high mass reduced airborne noise effectively

A thicker concrete core works well to reduce airborne noise.  The concrete within the wall is very good at creating a quiet home not hampered by outside noise.  The more dense the concrete and the the thicker the wall, then the better the reduction will be.

Sites near roads or railways often need a thicker core to reduce the noise nuisance.  Reduce the nuisance of the noise source by increasing the core of the concrete to 200mm within the wall facing the source. Reduction of window sizes and a noise barrier will be a great help too. A 200mm core is usually enough though on one occasion we did use a 250mm core on a wall facing the nearby rail tracks. 

The Impossible Acoustic Design

Within a dwelling, you cannot design for teenagers with a taste for loud booming music or video games. You can give them headphones, and you can ensure you never buy a drum kit. A basement can be a welcome quiet space or a place of banishment for would-be-drummers.

Neighbour Noise Reduction

We reduce the noise between adjoining dwellings by using a 200mm concrete core for all separating walls.  This applies to apartments and terraced homes. In an apartment block, The wall between an apartment and the common staircase will have a 200mm core.

A concrete floor will always help in noise reduction between storeys.


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.

Have a question or suggestion not listed here? Feel free to contact us