How Much Does an ICF Foundation Cost?

Common Range: $20,700 – $38,000, or $18.25 – $31.75/square foot

National Average: $29,450

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Free ICF Foundation Cost Quotes
Updated: September 30, 2022, by: Steve Hansen

Cost Range for an ICF Foundation

The cost range of an ICF foundation, or insulated concrete form foundation, is $20,700 to $36,000. These costs cover foundation sizes from 800 to 1,600 square feet with wall height starting at 8 feet. An ICF foundation price is $2.00 to $3.00 per square foot higher than the cost of a poured concrete foundation due to the cost of the expanded polystyrene, or EPS, forms.

While an 8-foot wall is the minimum height of a full foundation, you might prefer to upgrade to higher walls to provide more room above for utilities, home theater equipment and a drop ceiling, especially if you plan to finish the basement for living space.

The cost of an insulated concrete form foundation includes the ICF forms, which is around $5.00 per square foot of wall space, both inside and outside of the home, or a total of $10 total. That comes to around $11,000 for the insulated concrete forms for a 30’x40’8’ foundation.

Total cost includes excavating, cement/concrete, rebar, miscellaneous supplies and labor. In most cases, drain tile or a French drain is also installed to provide drainage away from the foundation. The system often includes a sump crock and installation of a sump pump.

Average Cost

Average Do It Yourself Cost
Average Contractor Installed Cost
Typical Cost Range
$20,700 – $38,000

new home icf foundation walls up

Free ICF Foundation Cost Quotes

Free ICF Foundation Cost Quotes

Overview of an Insulated Concrete Form Foundation

ICF foundations are growing in popularity as homeowners watch building costs and energy costs rise. You get more from your home’s square footage by finishing the basement, and an ICF foundation definitely makes the space more comfortable in all seasons.

Plus, an insulated concrete foundation has an R-value of around 26, and that reduces energy needs to heat and cool the basement by up to 45%. As a result, the investment is paid back in less than 10 years. That’s one reason ICF walls are being used for whole-house construction, not just the foundation.

If the perc test done on your property showed that it is suitable for a full foundation, then an ICF foundation is an option along with more affordable choices like a crawlspace or a full concrete foundation that doesn’t use ICF construction.

ICF Foundation Cost Factors

How much is an insulated concrete foundation? National average cost is about $24.00 per square foot complete, from excavating the basement to finishing the walls.

*Note that when sites like Attainable Home give an ICF foundation cost of $7 per square foot, they are talking about the cost of the forms only, not about any of the other costs of a foundation.

These factors consider all aspects of ICF foundation installation and how they impact cost.

  • Design Fees – Some communities require the foundation to be designed by an engineer or architect, and that will add professional fees of several thousand dollars to the total cost.
  • Permit – Every foundation requires a permit that includes inspections of the footings and completed foundation, at a minimum.
  • Excavating Costs – Digging the hole is where it begins. Foundation size and depth, whether it is fully below grade vs a walkout and soil conditions all affect excavation costs.
  • Site Conditions – Slope, wet areas, obstacles like a stand of mature trees and access to the building site on the property can impact total cost significantly.
  • Infill and backfill Materials – A foundation is always dug “oversized.” A base of stable materials like pea stone and gravel form a base for the slab plus backfill materials around the completed foundation. Soil conditions depend on how much infill and backfill is required.
  • Wall Height – Most ICF forms are 16” tall, so 5 of them form an 8’ wall. Adding one form gives you a 9’, 4” wall. Adding two creates a 10’, 8” wall.
  • Foundation Design – A simple 4-corner foundation offers faster build-time for the ICF forms. Time, labor and costs go up with a more complex design.
Free ICF Foundation Cost Quotes

Free ICF Foundation Cost Quotes

icf foundation ready for finishing

ICF Foundation Services and Costs

Here are basic material costs required for an ICF foundation.

  • $35 – $55 per Cubic Yard | Pea Stone or Gravel for beneath the slab and around the perimeter of the foundation
  • $110 – $160 per Cubic Yard Delivered| Mixed Concrete Delivered for Footings, the Wall Core and Slab
  • $0.12 – $0.20 per Square Foot | Vapor Barrier for beneath the slab
  • $2.75 – $3.90 per Square Foot | ICF Forms Plus Delivery

Using ICF forms eliminates the need for foundation waterproofing and for interior sealing of the basement concrete.

How much does a cubic yard cover? One cubic yard of material covers 108 square feet to a depth of 2”, 81 square feet to a depth of 4” and 54 square feet to a depth of 6”. Slabs are typically 4” thick. The concrete core of ICF formed walls is 7” thick.

Free ICF Foundation Cost Quotes

Free ICF Foundation Cost Quotes

Example ICF Foundation Sizes and Estimated Costs

This section considers material costs and cost factors in pricing ICF foundations in three tiers – Easy, Average and Difficult. Then, those ICF cost per square foot are applied to common foundation sizes to give you a total cost for each.

Easy: $18.25 – $25.50 per square foot

8’ walls. Simple design with 4 or 6 corners. Good access and site conditions near the road. Example: A city or small suburban lot with little slope, dry conditions and soils that are easy to work with.

Average: $20.00 – $27.50 per square foot

8’ or 9’4” foot walls. 6-8 corners. Rocky soil, trees making access difficult or other factors making exaction and installation moderately challenging. Low to moderate slope. Example: Large suburban with trees or rural lot or with the building site well off the road. Damp conditions and/or possible freezing temperatures requiring the use of an additive in the concrete to prevent freezing.

Difficult: $23.50 – $31.75 per square foot

9’4” to 10’8” walls. 8 or more corners. Wet or very sloped site conditions. Building site well off the road. Difficult access. Possibly freezing weather. Example: A sloped lot possibly treed or with heavy soils adding to exaction and installation time.

800 Square Feet – $22.50 – $31.75/square foot

  • Easy: $18,000 – $21,500
  • Average: $19,800 – $23,750
  • Difficult: $22,000 – $25,400

1,200 Square Feet Foundation – $21.00 – $30.00/square foot

  • Easy: $25,200 – $31,500
  • Average: $28,700 – $33,950
  • Difficult: $32,600 – $36,000

1,600 Square Feet Foundation – $19.50 – $28.75/square foot

  • Easy: $31,200 – $37,950
  • Average: $36,800 – $42,450
  • Difficult: $40,000 – $46,000

2,200 Square Feet Foundation – $18.25 – $25.50/square foot

  • Easy: $40,150 – $47,500
  • Average: $44,850 – $50,300
  • Difficult: $47,700 – $56,100

Permits, Inspection, and Labor Costs

Permits and Inspection

  • $300 – $1,200 or more | Permits for ICF foundations are sometimes a little higher than for standard foundations because the ICF framing takes longer to inspect. Cost of the permit is also determined by the size of the foundation.

Labor Cost

HomeGuide states that labor costs are lower for an ICF foundation than for a standard poured foundation. This is because footings and walls are typically poured at the same time, and an experienced crew can put the forms together pretty quickly.

As a result, labor should account for about 35% to 40% of the total cost.

Here are labor rates and how they impact the cost of insulated concrete form foundation.

  • Wages for Foundation Crew | $20 – $45 per hour. Wages have gone up in recent years, and the rise has hit the construction industry hard. Pay is based on skill level from general laborers to crew leaders and concrete finishers.
  • Excavation | $100 – $200 per hour – Excavator and operator. Excavating a 1,600 square foot foundation requires 10-12 hours for digging the foundation plus transportation and loading/unloading time. Total around $1,750 – $2,200 for most foundations.
  • Base Materials Delivered | $35 – $55 per cubic yard. These stable materials drain well and won’t expand and heave with frost or moisture absorption. They are used for the base of the slab plus backfilling around the poured foundation. A 1,600 square foot foundation needs up to 35 cubic yards of these materials at a cost of around $1,700.
  • Concrete and Delivery | $110 – $160 per cubic yard. Cost factors are concrete mix, whether additives are included and travel distance. 55-60 cubic yards are used in a 1,600 square foot foundation and slab for a total cost of $3,800 to $5,600.

Time Required for an Insulated Concrete Foundation

How long does an ICF foundation installation take?

Here’s a typical timeline. Keep in mind that weather delays or delays between contractors can extend the time.

  • Up to 1 Day | Site Excavation
  • 1-2 Days | Installing the Footing and Wall Forms
  • 3-6 Hours | Pouring the Footings and Walls plus several days for the concrete to harden
  • Half Day | Spreading Base Materials for the slab
  • Up to 1 Day | Pouring and Finishing a concrete slab
  • Up to a Half Day | Backfilling the foundation
Free ICF Foundation Cost Quotes

Free ICF Foundation Cost Quotes

Concrete and insulation are key parts of every home. Here are related home improvement projects you might be planning for your new home construction project.

Are You an ICF Foundation Company?

If so, head over to our Costimates Pro’s page, and help us make this page better and more accurate for both our visitors and your future customers.

DIY or Hire a Pro

Very few homeowners tackle this project. It requires wearing a bunch of hats – General contractor, schedular, skilled laborer to name a few.

Plus, paying retail costs for materials and rental costs for equipment eat into your potential savings of 35% to 40%.

Here’s a short checklist of the tasks involved:

  • Get your design drawn and approved, if needed.
  • Apply for and receive a permit
  • Order your ICF forms per your design
  • Order rental equipment like an excavator and loader
  • Plan to work schedule for yourself and sub-contractors if you plan to use them, so that the work keeps moving
  • When you know the date you’ll need it, order a concrete delivery (after calculating how many cubic feet of material and what mix you need)
  • Mark the house footprint
  • Over-dig the foundation by 4-6 feet on all sides
  • Dig the footings trenches
  • Frame the ICF form walls
  • Have the concrete delivered, and fill the footing space and wall forms
  • Spread the appropriate depth of pea stone, sand or gravel inside the foundation
  • Pour and finish the basement floor slab
Free ICF Foundation Cost Quotes

Free ICF Foundation Cost Quotes

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Common Questions and Answers

What is an ICF foundation?

ICFs are insulated concrete form foundations. The foundation walls are built using EPS (expanded polystyrene foam) forms on the interior and exterior, and concrete is poured into the cavity. The EPS remains in place to insulate the foundation.

How much is an ICF foundation?

$18.25 - $31.75/square foot or an average of about $29,000.

How long do ICF foundations last?

75 years or longer. While a newer foundation type, they should last as long or longer than a standard poured wall foundation.

Is ICF cheaper than block foundation?

No. It's about 20% higher in cost, but the higher cost is recovered through lower energy costs.

Is ICF worth the cost?

Yes, in the long-term. Estimates of energy cost savings are around 50%. With rising energy costs, an ICF foundation is worth the cost in climates with extreme climates.

What are ICF problems?

Few. But if the concrete wall cracks and moisture invades the cavity, mold can be an issue. Repair costs are higher than with other concrete and cinder block foundation types.

Reviewed and Edited by Steve Hansen of Costimates

steve hansen of costimates-sm Steve Hansen is the Lead Editor of Costimates. (Learn more) An avid home improvement professional with more than 35 years experience in both DIY projects and working as a construction foreman in residential new home building, upfits, repairs and remodeling.

"Like most homeowners, I became frustrated with the lack of quality information available on specific home improvement repairs and renovations. In 2015, Costimates was formed to help homeowners learn as much as possible about various projects and their costs so they could make better financial decisions."