Your Ontario Custom Home Builder!
Call Us Free: 1-866 868-6606

ICF Foundation Cost

How To Calculate The Cost Of ICF Foundations In Southern Ontario

The concept of estimating the cost of construction is as much art as it is math. This conclusion is particularly the case of choices related to the custom home building.

One person may determine value by lowest cost or highest quality while another makes a decision purely on intangibles (i.e., comfort, “peace of mind,” design, etc.).


ICF Foundation

Regardless of the method to determine value, a homeowner should make informed decisions about foundation construction options.

Why ICF foundation?

Ninety percent of all basements in Canada are built using some form of a concrete wall system. The most favourite three are: 

Insulated Concrete Forms (ICFs) are polystyrene forms that stack like “Lego” blocks with steel rebar inside. These blocks are assembled on top of each other, and concrete is poured into the hollow core of the block to create walls.

Building with insulated concrete forms results in durable, fire-resistant,  wind-proof, super-insulated, energy-efficient, seismically superior, environmentally-friendly basements.

Why build a foundation with ICFs?

  • Your basement will feel cool in the summer and warm in the winter.
  • You will have the space available for expanding without the cost of adding more structure.
  • Your outside basement walls will be ready for drywall. No framing, insulation or vapor barrier needed to finish the wall.
  • One trade does it all. No bricklayers, waterproofers, farmers or insulation companies.
  • It can be done under adverse weather conditions. Concrete can be poured below freezing temperatures as it cures between two pieces of insulation and does not freeze.
  • Much faster time of construction. In most of the cases analyzed, ICF saved over 50% of the time needed to achieve the same result.

What does the typical ICF foundation cost?

Through many different studies of ICF construction costs, it has been determined that using ICF wall construction adds about 10% to the overall purchase price of a typical wood-frame home.

However, that number does not compare different methods of constructing a foundation. So, how do we figure out the average cost of ICF foundation?

Let’s get calculating:

The average 2500 sq. ft. home has approximately 230 linear feet of wall. If the wall is 8′ tall, you end up with  1840 gross sq. ft. of the ICF wall.

In this example, we’ll figure the area without windows and doors as the material and labour for installing and supplying the “bucks” is a trade-off for formed ICF wall area.

Costs for ICF basement usually breaks down to the following:

1. ICF forms (Nudura, Fox, QuadLock, Buildblock etc), 6″ cavity: @ $4.00-$6.00/sq. ft.

2. Reinforcing steel: @ $0.55 per lin. ft. = approx. $1.20 per sq. ft.

3. Concrete: @ $180.00 per cubic meter = approximately $20.00 per sq. ft.

4. Concrete pump: @ $180.00 per hour + per/meter charge = $1.00 per sq. ft.

5. Miscellaneous items: bracing rental, foam, glue, tie wire, clips, etc. @ $1.00 per sq. ft.

6. Labor to install: @ $8.00 -$10.00 per sq. ft. includes all overhead

The total cost of ICF  basement installed on concrete footings will come to around $22.00 – $26.00 per square foot of completed basement wall in Southern Ontario or around $40,500.00 – $48,000.00 for a basement discussed earlier.

Those numbers work well on the paper. However, ICF foundation cost also depends on the degree of difficulty of construction.

If the job has a lot of corners, or radius walls like most custom homes do, it slows the labor rate down; it will cost more per square foot to build.

The following is the list of other factors that determine the cost of your project:

  1. The concrete factor – how wide of a block will you use? What are the concrete prices like in your area?
  2. Which block will you use? Price varies according to the manufacturer and the distance for delivery.
  3. Some ICF installers will charge more if the client wants to use a particular block because it is harder to work with.
  4. How accessible is your building site? Is there a place to store a large volume of blocks?
  5. Who is going to engineer your project and are they familiar with ICFs? The cost of a project can increase drastically because of the extra rebar or other stuff engineers build in due to ignorance, and which the project does not need.

You should be able to speak with an installer in your area, give them an idea of your project and get a ballpark from them.

When it comes to ICF, you are paying for the expertise due to the concrete.

ICF is not a DIY job while some claim it is, one cannot compare it to wood framing a home.

It’s a night and day difference. 90% of the horror stories out there from ICF are due to inexperienced people thinking they can DIY.

In Germany, one has to go through two years of on the job training with concrete before they can even pour jobs on their own.

Many times we hear that ICF is “not more expensive, just different.”

Whether ICF is more expensive than the poured concrete foundation is not something that can be said in blanket terms for all areas and every project.

Pricing of labor and materials, as well as building methods, vary widely. Every homeowner should be aware of the variables that affect their market areas to discuss the ICF option with confidence.

The lowest price doesn’t always get the nod, many times, the educated buyer is sold by the knowledge of the salesperson.

More on Wikipedia:

  1. Hi i looked over your costing on the icf forms. You’ve given a labour cost of 7.00 psf. Does that cost include the footings. And does a wall over 8 feet high make a difference in the per ft cost.

    • That cost does not include footings. Yes, tall walls cost a little more. How much? It depends on the installer.

  2. Hello how are you.. I was wondering how much it would cost for 1600sq ft foundation. Just regular corners like 1 big square box.. And i will be doing it myself.. I was trying to find how much the blocks would be here in Canada?

    • Approximately $25,000. Blocks cost about $4.00 – $5.00 per sq.ft. Fully finished ICF wall starts @ $18.00 per sq.ft. including steel, concrete, and labour.

      • Do you have an update on cost , when you say square foot are you referring to floor area of a house or wall area?

        • Linear foot of wall x wall height. I don’t have any experience in this, came here to learn, but above mentions average wall length of a 2500 square foot home is 230 foot, assuming it’s an 8 foot wall that makes 1840 feet. 1840/8 is 230. Hope that helps to clear some things up.

  3. Hi We was looking for the cost of a house using ICF for the house. How much would a 1,000 sq ft with 2 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms open kitchen to living room and finished.
    Thank you
    Susie K.

  4. Hi. Home will be built in the Calabogie area. Looking for referrals for 48x48x30 (3 sided box)… Looking for 9 foot walls….I calculated just under $20,000. Thanks

    • Hi, my name is jatinder and running construction co.
      I am planning to build a house.
      Plz let me know more information abt icf.

  5. Struggling to find the name of any mnfctr that could have built the steel beam trusses in my ICF homes roof. Need it for solar load roof calcs.
    Any clues/names appreciated.

  6. Do you have a list of contractors who work with ICF in my area (Sudbury)?

    • Contact the manufacturer of the ICF you are going to use. They should have a list of approved contractors for your area.

      • Hi, I want to know the cost of 2500sq home putting up the whole exterior wall all the way to the roof. Approximately how much am I looking for ?

    • Hi Carmen, I was wondering if you ended up finding a good contractor. Please let me know your experience if you don’t mind.

  7. Hello ADMIN, do you just do foundation walls, if so I would like to email plans for a home I am planning to start excavation in may 2018 in Weston village, Toronto west.


  8. Hello
    We are building a 69 x 28’ garage with an 450 sq ft loft/living space over top/centred above the garage. There will be a crawl space under a large portion of the garage. No basement required.
    Im looking for some guidance. Is ICF recommended or necessary? In any case, an approximation of cost would be much appreciated.

  9. Calculated the cost for install of 8′ walls for a 1500sqft home at $18.00 however I am wondering how much I should add for Flat work such as floors and porches? This is for budget purpose only at this stage.
    Thank You

  10. After drywall goes onto the exterior walls how do you hang pictures or tvs on the walls? Do you have to anchor them to the cement? What about your plumbing? Where do you run that if needed on exterior wall?

  11. we have a land the size is 164 x 24 feet, we plant to build a 3 storey ( max. 30 feet high) bachelor room for student. if we do ICF Foundation, what is the costs ?


  12. need insulated concreate foundation 24x42x8 in Wasaga Beach

  13. Hi, so reading your article above we want to add on an a basement addition to the house. It’s about 393 sq. ft so call it 400. Doing my math at 16.00/ft/sq means $6400.00. Aside from digging the hole which would be additional what else would be required on top of the $6400.00? Weep tiles, drainage etc?

    • It is calculated by the square foot of a wall area, not floor area. So, your pricing is wrong. Also, your description of a job lacks details. If you want us to price this job for you, we need to see the complete set of plans.

  14. Hello..I am new here in canada I wonder if I found a lot and I want to build a house just foundation with the basics. My husband can do the drywalls, trims, the painting and all other interior job. How much it cost for 1000 sqf.for basement and one floor. With garage
    Thank you.

    • Wow! Without a house plan? It will cost you from $40,000 to $500,000. Please read the articles on our website. House costs and how to price a home are discussed in several of them.

  15. hi
    What is the best building materials?
    What are the best types of houses and the cost

  16. I have an old cottage in Orillia, Approx 1400sq. Wanting to rebuild a new house for the same size, would it be cheaper to have it renovate 80% of the house ( like keeping 1 existing wall)than building a brand new home from scratch.

  17. want to build a 33 x 40 foundation for a new house due to water table it would be about 4′ under ground and 4’above
    just looking for an approx. cost
    in the Orillia area

  18. Hi I am looking to building a 5000 square foot house with 4 car garage. I am sure there is a lot of variables to determine pricing.

    I am not sure at this point It I want wood framing or ICF, what would you thing would be the average price to build a house this size? I also want to put wood 2X4 studs in the walls so that It will easier to put up TV’s or hearing pictures.

    Would the price also include the flooring and walls inside the house.



    • Without your building permit plans, I can’t even come close. There is really no “average price for that size”. However, these days prices start at $300.00 per sq.ft. and go up.

  19. Hi , you estimate 20 $ per sq. ft concrete . For what core of ICF . I got for 6′ core . 6 x 2.54 =15.24 cm ,
    100/ 15.24=6.56 sq. m , 10.764×6.56 =70.61 sq. ft ,180 / 70.61 =2.55 $ per sq. ft . of 6″ ICF . Am I doing mistake in calculation ? Thank you.

    • Yes. Please read the article again. Also, since the time the article was written, the price per sq.ft. of finished ICF wall has risen to $20-$25 depending on the complexity of the wall.

  20. Planning on building bunker style house in side of hill. What method of construction and thickness of block would you suggest for walls,and roof. Could you recommend Canadian website ( Canadian building Codes) for research.

  21. I am building a 6 unit townhouse with dimensions 58′ X 170′. There are 2 4′ step down after 2nd and 4th units. Would ICF be an economic choice to use for a frost wall and also would ICF be beneficial for support walls where step downs are or simply poured concrete sufficient? Thanks Gerard

    • ICF would be an economical choice for all the walls. If you email us the plans, we can give you more info.

  22. The 18.00 psf price you are talking about is for an 8′ high 2500sf basement. Can you think of extra costs (estimates for window and door bucks etc.) if the walls were built on slab and used as the external walls of a one story?

  23. Hello,

    Does the ICF product act as a waterproofing membrane on the exterior of the foundation?

  24. Do you come to Brantford? I am adding an addition to my home 12/30 432 sq’
    Minus door and windows. Are you interested in my project? If so please send budget quote only. And if not do you have a recommended contractor in my area?

    Thanks inadvance

  25. In your opening picture, it looks like a footing built with icf as well, which brand is that? And after all these years do you still recommend a mono pour using that style?

  26. I’m located in Kitchener and wondering if you would be able to work on the project.

  27. Hi.
    Building a house in eastern Ontario area and have to build a slab on grade with radiant heating.
    24” feet below grade to rock. Want to use ICF block.
    What Is the minimum height for ICF block can I use? Footings will be 8” high.
    Or should I do traditional concrete forms?

  28. Thank you for all this information… however these pricing guides… are they the base costs or does a company have to add on their profit percentage to that?

  29. Hello. Im looking for a quote on a 24×40 garage with a 2 bedroom 1 bathroom apartment above.
    Was thinking of going ICF from footings to top plate/trusses.
    Basically a rectangle box with 3 garage doors and about 8 windows and 2 man doors. Any helpful advice would be appreciated. Thanks

  30. Given the current climate, in your opinion, would ICF be on par cost wise now with stick built due to the massive rise in the cost of lumber? (Dare I say maybe cheaper?) Or does it still remain more expensive than?

  31. What is the current cost for finished ICF per sq ft.

  32. I’m having a 1100sqft house ( rectangle shape) built. Curious average cost would be for a walk oit basement with ICF vs. Regular poured formed walls.

  33. We appreciate you sharing this detailed breakdown of how much ICF bases typically cost. I found your piece to be very enlightening and helpful because of the way it detailed the many variables that go into determining the final price. Continue your excellent job!

  34. Were you aware that your concrete cost is listed as $20/sq ft in your breakdown?

  35. For just doing the foundation for 2632sqft how much would it cost us

Leave a Reply