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Installing Plumbing and Electrical Services within Insulated Concrete Forms


Accommodating plumbing or electrical wires within the ICF wall can be complicated for some contractors, regardless of whether or not the building is constructed using ICFs. While some builders like to install waste lines with a drywall chase around them (essentially a “services” shaft”), Nexcem has accommodated many projects with services right in the interior surface of the block.
With styrofoam ICFs:
Hotknife Cut1

The lines are cut (or burned out with a hot knife) into the face of the foam in order to secure the plumbing within the system. In those instances, a builder can insert a 1.5-inch diameter line right inside cavity of the foam. However, when a deeper cavity is required, it must be accommodated by special attachments of foam inside the cavity before the concrete is poured. This is basically “blocking” out the cavity to allow for the thicker service.

Chainsaw Cut copy_01

Similarly, electrical wiring is usually hot knife cut into the foam as well. An electrical chainsaw with a guide wheel can also coarse out the foam where the romex wire can be inserted, allowing it to be friction fit into the wall. Electrical boxes are inset and can be screwed into the concrete with tapcons through the back of the box. The wires are simply run into the box the same way as standard electrical in a wood frame structure.

With Nexcem ICFs:

The lines are cut into the face of the Nexcem with a carbide router bit. The Nexcem is 2″ thick and can allow for standard plumbing, wiring and boxes.










Deeper cavities can be accommodated where the webs of our blocks are located as the webs go all the way through the wall.


You can even surface mount electrical work with Nexcem as it has superior surface burning properties and is permitted to be left exposed on the interior.


Read more about the advantages of ICFs here.



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