ICF Homes The Cutting Edge Home Of The Future

     Single pane Window glass repair in an aluminum frame    


     Building a Family Room Addition


ICF Homes - The Newest Way To Get The Cutting Edge Home Of The Future 

  by Dany Daylight

Ever heard of ICF homes?
No? Then read on

What does ICF stand for?

ICF is an acronym for Insulated Concrete Form

What is an ICF?

ICF's are stay in place forms used to build admirable concrete homes.

What are some benefits associated ICF home?

There are quite a few benefits in building or buying an ICF home. Such as fire resistance, superior structural integrity, energy savings, and an ecologically sound building process, among others.

How popular are ICF homes?

About three percent of homes being built today are ICF homes. It is estimated that soon at least five percent of all new homes that are built, will be ICF homes.

How do ICF homes save money?

If you ask anyone who lives in an ICF home, they will be quick to reassure you that, heating and cooling a ICF home is way cheaper than doing so with any other type of home, especially with today's climbing oil prices.

Do ICF homes take longer to build?

Usually when choosing to go with an ICF home, completion takes as long it takes a regular standard home to be built.

How many ICF companies are there?

It is estimated that there are between seventy to eighty companies in USA specializing in ICF homes.

What makes a certain ICF company better than another?

The only difference you will notice when dealing with different ICF companies is the service they provide. There is not a whole lot of differences with ICF's themselves, because they all do the same chore.

Could you install an ICF yourself?

Of course you could. But you would need some insight from a professional, just to make sure that everything is being installed as it should be. This process is thought to be quite complex.

How reliable are ICF homes?

Once you step inside of an ICF home, you will be sure to realize that these types of homes are built to last. These homes have a resistance to fire, wind, and erosion that takes place after a period of time.

How much more would building an ICF home cost?

After reading the above, I am sure you have the impression that building an ICF home would be expensive. Even with the benefits mentioned earlier in this article, building an ICF home would be equivalent to building a two by six wood frame house. But you would experience all the benefits that ICF homes have in store.

And don't forget about the Money Saving Benefits, fire resistance and superior structural integrity ICF home will bring you, so in the long run with the energy prices constantly rising you will better of than with the traditional building materials.

So if you want a Cutting edge home of the future go for a house build from Insulated Concrete Forms

About the Author

You can find more about Insulated Concrete Forms at - where you find more Resources and Tips on Home Improvement, Home Repair, Home Security, Home Financing,Remodeling, Do-It-Yourself Tips, Contractors, and more


Single pane Window glass repair in an aluminum frame  by John Rocco

. Let's suppose you still have those old aluminum single pane windows in your house,and one of the neighbor kids throws a ball through it. ( Your kid would never do that!) Depending on where you live in the country, you can pay anywhere from $75 to $150 to get it repaired. Well, if you're willing to spend an hour or two, you can get the window fixed for around $20 or $30. I'm not going to try and explain how to cut your own glass. I am going to explain how to get the old glass out, measure for the new glass, and install the replacement glass. So, let's use this article to explain the most common type of aluminum frame window.

If you have a sliding window, one of the panels will be stationary, and the other will slide back and forth. If the slider is the one broken, you simply lift up and swing the bottom out. If the bottom won't come out, check for rollers on top. Sometimes the top rollers are adjusted up so the slider can't be removed. Just loosen the screw holding the roller in place and lift up with some force. That should push the rollers down, allowing you to remove the panel. Lay the panel on a table and measure the width and height of the glass only. Take this measurement and add 1/2" to both the width and height. This is the size of the new glass that you need to order. Measure the thickness of the old glass. It will either be 1/8" or a little less than that. The thin glass is called single strength and is actually about 3/32". The 1/8" glass is called double strength glass. Be sure to order the right one. If you order double strength glass because you figure it's stronger than the old single strength piece, you are going to have a devil of a time putting the frame back together. That tiny 1/32" difference can be a real pain in the neck. Trust me, you want to replace single strength with single strength.

Now, it's time to take the frame apart and remove all of the old glass. Make sure to put on a heavy pair of gloves to avoid getting cut. You will find a screw in each corner of your frame. You want to remove two of these screws in opposite corners. So, if you remove the bottom left screw, you need to also remove the top right one. Now, take a rubber mallet, slide one of the corners off the table that has the screw removed, and tap the frame to separate it from the glass. Set that half of the frame aside, then do the same thing to the other half. Now you should have two halves of the frame, a piece of rubber, and lots of glass. Throw away all the glass, then clean out the rubber, making certain to get every piece of glass out of there.

When You get the replacement glass home, lay it on the table with one long and one short side hanging over the edge. Put the rubber on those two overhanging edges. Put one half of the frame (it doesn't matter which half) against the glass and tap the corner on first. Then tap the long edge onto the rubber until it seats. Then do the short edge. Now, put the other two edges over the table and do the same procedure. Finally, install the screws in the corners. Put the panel back in and you're done.

If the broken pane is the stationary portion, there is a little extra work to get the panel out. You need to take out the slider first, then remove the two screws holding the center bar in place. Tap the center bar away from the panel until it is off the side of the panel. Set it aside. Then tap the frame edge to pull it out of the channel attached to the wall. Once it's away from the side channel, you can lift it up and out like you did with the slider. You remove and install the glass in the frame just like you did with the slider, put the frame back in the opening, tap it into the side channel, install the center bar and screws, and install the sliding panel. That's it! You're done.

Let's talk about broken glass in a fixed window, usually referred to as a picture window. The most common type will have metal stops on the outside, around all four edges of the window glass. Sometimes these stops will be held in place with screws, and other times there will be aluminum stops that snap in place. In some rare instances there will be a rubber material in place of metal. If you have the screw type, you remove all of the screws and each piece will come out. If you have the metal snap in stops, carefully pry the stop from the frame using a small, flat screwdriver or a putty knife. You want to start in a corner and work along the stop until it comes out. Don't pry too much because the stops can bend very easily. If you have the rubber type, pry a corner away using the screwdriver, grab it with your fingers, and pull out the rubber. The glass shouldn't fall out because there is a glue or tape on the edge, holding the glass in place.

From here, You can get your measurements for the new piece of glass. The glass edges will be exposed, and you can hook your tape measure to the edge and get your width and height. If there is a hole in the glass, measure the glass thickness. If there isn't a hole, put on some gloves and carefully push on the glass where the crack is located. This will expose the edge so you can measure it. When you go to get the new glass, you're going to need a tube of silicone to replace the glue or tape holding the glass in place. Once you get the glass home, you need to remove the old glass. Go inside and cut between the glass and frame using a utility knife with a new blade. This will cut away the silicone or tape that is holding the old glass. Be sure to wear heavy gloves during this process to avoid getting cut. Start at the top and cut across from one corner to the other. Then cut down one side, from top to bottom. Do the other side the same way. At this point the glass should fall out. You should place a tarp or sheet under the window to catch the glass as it falls out. Using a stiff putty knife, scrape off the old silicone or tape from the frame. If there were setting blocks on the bottom, be sure to reuse them. They act as shims to raise the glass off the bottom.

Now run a bead of silicone about 3/16" thick around the perimeter of the opening. Grab your new glass on the sides, angle the bottom in and the top out, set the glass on the setting blocks, then slowly raise the glass up into place. Push just hard enough that all four edges of the glass contact the silicone, but not so hard that the glass makes contact with the metal frame. Install your outside stops. Don't clean the glass for 24 hours so the silicone can set up.

About the Author

John Rocco has been installing replacement windows since 1978. To learn more, visit How To Install Windows




Last week, I explained how to remove your old steel casement windows as you prepare each opening for the new Vinyl windows. In most of the country, you are limited to a replacement style frame, which is a new construction frame with the nail fin removed. Remember, when you removed the old casement window, you left the perimeter frame in place. So, you have a lip protruding into the opening that is approximately 1/2" wide. You need to order your replacement style frame to fit inside of this old frame. Measure the width from lip to lip and deduct 1/4 to 3/8". Measure the height and deduct 1/4". When you install the new window, rest the new frame on the bottom lip of the old frame. Leave the front of the new frame further outside than the old frame lip. How far out depends on you, and how much inside sill space you want. A quality vinyl replacement window will measure 3 1/4" deep. Drive a screw in the top center to hold it in place. Then, make sure the window is perfectly upright before installing a screw in the bottom center. Now you can secure the rest of the window with screws.

At this point you should have a replacement window that is approximately 5/8" away from the left and right wall, 1/2" from the bottom, and 3/4" from the top. You now need to insulate and trim all four sides. You should get a trim that will adhere to the face of the window frame on the outside, then go over to the wall from which the lip is protruding on all four sides. However, before applying the trim, fill the space with fiberglass insulation. You can get a roll of insulation at the hardware store. You can also get the trim there, but if you choose a wood trim, you will have to paint it. Also, wood is susceptible to weather, so you might be repainting somewhere down the road. I sell a vinyl flat trim in several different widths, that has an adhesive backing to stick to the face of the window. Since it's an exterior grade trim, it will never need maintenance. You do the same procedure when trimming out the inside. Be sure to seal where the trim meets the wall on all four sides inside and out.

If you live in the west, you have a second option. You can get a retrofit frame with a 2" lip on the outside. The purpose of the lip is to stop against the exterior of the house as you insert the window into the opening. If you have a stucco exterior with wood trim around the opening, the retrofit lip will cover the wood and rest on the stucco. However, you have to make sure the new window frame goes further into the room than the lip of the old frame. If the new frame does not go beyond the old frame, you won't be able to trim out the interior to hide the old frame. A quality retrofit window frame measures 3" deep from the back of the retrofit lip. The distance from the stucco surface to the old frame lip must be less than 3", otherwise you have to use the replacement style frame as I described above. If you are able to use the retrofit style frame, you eliminate the step of trimming out the exterior. You still must trim out the interior. If you have any questions about anything in this article, you can send me an email.

About the Author


John Rocco has been installing replacement windows since 1978. To learn more, visit How To Install Windows



Building a Family Room Addition

by Mark J. Donovan

Besides providing your home with more living space, building a family room addition can be a terrific investment. However, before embarking on building a family room addition the homeowner should first consider several important items. These items include: home market values in the neighborhood, financing, home building costs, family room design plans (size and scale of project), architecture, timetable for completion, personal disruption/inconvenience threshold and the sweat equity commitment level.

Designing a Family Room Addition and Assessing Market Value Prior to actually breaking ground on a family room addition, it is best to first have a plan. You need to determine what you are looking for in terms of additional living space. For example: How many square feet? What types of rooms? Once this is understood, it is then important to find out the market value of homes in the local area with similar size and features to the new and improved home. With this information the homeowner can then calculate the difference between their current home market value and the new and improved home market value. This difference should represent the maximum cost budget for the new addition if a positive investment is desired. For example, a homeowner would not want to spend $40,000 on a new family room addition that provides only $20,000 in increased market value to the improved home.

Financing the Family Room Addition The next important question involves how to fund the cost of the family room addition. Unless the project is being funded via cash/savings then financing will be required. If current mortgage rates are higher than the existing mortgage, then a home equity loan will probably make the most sense. If current mortgage rates are lower than the existing mortgage, then refinancing the entire home, including the cost of the family room addition project, may make the most sense.

Family Room Addition Design and Architectural Considerations Once the financial items have been addressed it is then time to focus on the size and scale of the project, as well as the architectural and aesthetics of the new family room addition. The family room addition should be of size and scale such that it aesthetically melds into the original house. It should not be too small or too big. Frequently, homeowners get carried away and add large amounts of new living space without sufficient thought on the outside appearance. From a market value, there is more to a home than just pure living space. A home needs to maintain its exterior aesthetics as well. It is important to consider such items as siding, doors, windows, rooflines, and elevations. All should meld into the existing home exterior seamlessly and aesthetically. If an architect is not planned for the project, then the homeowner should at least make some sketches of the home exterior with the new addition. The building inspector will probably require them anyways during the permit process. Also, there are many Home Design software packages on the market today that can help create such drawings.

Schedule and Sweat Equity Commitment The next two items that should be considered include the timetable for completing the project and the homeowner sweaty equity commitment level. Many homeowners assume they can do a lot more than they are either skilled to do or have the time to do. From personal experience, I would suggest contracting out the site/ground work, rough framing, roofing, siding, heating/cooling, and the drywall. All of these tasks require skill, time and brawn. If local laws permit, electric and plumbing may be tackled by the homeowner. However, both require skill and can be life threatening if not performed properly. Other tasks that a homeowner could tackle include installing interior doors, finish trim, painting, cabinet installation, tiling and hardwood flooring. Prior to a homeowner signing up to any specific task however, they should first honestly assess their skill and available time, and compare them to their project schedule. If they don't match, hire the contractor.

Threshold of Inconvenience and Disruption Finally, a homeowner should consider their threshold for inconvenience and disruption. A family room addition, particularly if it involves the kitchen, is very disruptive to today's busy lifestyles. It is also a dusty, dirty and noisy endeavor. In addition, dealing with subcontractors can be challenging at best. For a typical family room addition anticipate several months of effort and inconvenience.

If after assessing all these issues you are still willing to move forward with the project, contact your subcontractors, pull your permits and get ready for an exciting time. For most homeowners building a family room addition is a positive experience that provides both new living space and a great investment. For more help on building a family room addition, see's Room Addition Bid sheet. The Room Addition Bid Sheet will help ensure that your room addition project goes smoothly and is completed on time and budget.

About the Author

About the Author: By Mark J. Donovan. Over the past 20+ years Mark Donovan has been involved with building homes and additions to homes. His projects have included: building a vacation home, building additions and garages on to existing homes, and finishing unfinished homes. For more home improvement information visit and