How to run electric wires in ICF? - GreenBuildingTalk - GreenBuildingTalk - Green Building Forums on Insulating Concrete Forms (ICF), Structural Insulated Panels (SIP), Radiant Heating, Geothermal Heat Pumps, Solar Power, Green Construction Projects - Gre (2022)

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Boontucky-girlHow to run electric wires in ICF? - GreenBuildingTalk - GreenBuildingTalk - Green Building Forums on Insulating Concrete Forms (ICF), Structural Insulated Panels (SIP), Radiant Heating, Geothermal Heat Pumps, Solar Power, Green Construction Projects - Green Building Technologies (1)
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16 Apr 2009 03:27 PM

How do you run electric wires in ICF? Conduit? What type of boxes do you use? and How do you secure the boxes in the wall?
My foam is 2.5" and it'll have .5" of drywall.

Should I use conduit?

Has anyone ever used an electric charcoal starter to cut the grooves in the ICF foam? How do you deal with ties?

Any books out there on how to do it in ICF walls?

Thanks

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16 Apr 2009 03:35 PM
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16 Apr 2009 05:12 PM

Conduit should not be necessary.
If your charcoal starter gets hot enough to melt the foam, then it will work to route the wire chases. I, personnally, use an electric foam scoop that we use with SIPs.
Look for the plastic electric boxes that have the flange with screw holes formed on one side. (the kind used for metal stud framing) Then locate your boxes next to a web tie and screw the box to it. Generally, the web ties do not extend all the way to the top or bottom of your forms. You should be able to route your chases along the joint line of the forms and avoid the ties. A 2.5" deep form should be just about right for these plastic boxes to fit and give a flush mount to your drywall. If you absolutely have to, you can scoop out all the foam down to the concrete and mount your box to it by running a Tapcon through the back of the box into the concrete. But this is a lot more work than mounting to the web ties, and should be used only if necessary.

Wes Shelby
Design Systems Group
Murray KY
[emailprotected]
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16 Apr 2009 08:45 PM

1/2" router bit on a roto-zip(drywalll cutout tool)
get one with a long 1/4" shank ,run between webs at block joint
1 1/2" deep creates a grove with a thin opening on the surface, just push wire in and it "locks"in place
code requires a nail plate if wire is less than 1" deep
can be foamed before drywall if needed

mac

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15 May 2009 09:17 PM

We usually use a hot knife as that seems to work the best with a grooving head the makes a slot for the wire. We cut it next to the concrete as the inspector doesnt want it pierced with a drywall screw. We then place the foam strip that came out or just some foam back in the slot. We have tried a cheap electric chainsaw with a bolt through the nose to keep from hitting the concrete wall. Works pretty good but makes a good mess too with all of the foam beads everywhere.

AltonHow to run electric wires in ICF? - GreenBuildingTalk - GreenBuildingTalk - Green Building Forums on Insulating Concrete Forms (ICF), Structural Insulated Panels (SIP), Radiant Heating, Geothermal Heat Pumps, Solar Power, Green Construction Projects - Green Building Technologies (21)
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15 May 2009 10:13 PM

Would a light duty router cut the grooves in the foamand the plastic ties?.Should the ties be cut in order to facilitate the placing of electrical wire?

Residential Designer &Construction Technology Consultant -- E-mail: Alton at Auburn dot Edu Use email format with @ and period .334 826-3979
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16 May 2009 02:21 AM

I lay out all electrical and low voltage boxes first. I use cardboard cut out and paint where there are to be placed. Then I use a electric chain saw cut between stud ties and blocks no ties need to be cut.

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16 May 2009 07:14 AM

Alton,
It would be very unlikely that you would ever need to cut a tie when routing your wire.
There is enough space along the joints to avoid this in all but the most unusual circumstances. Routers or electric chainsaws work fine for grooving, but make a huge mess. The first time I routed the grooves, after 30 minutes, the floor was covered with foam bits and I looked like the abominable snowman. That's why I prefer to burn the grooves.

Wes Shelby
Design Systems Group
Murray KY
[emailprotected]
arkie6How to run electric wires in ICF? - GreenBuildingTalk - GreenBuildingTalk - Green Building Forums on Insulating Concrete Forms (ICF), Structural Insulated Panels (SIP), Radiant Heating, Geothermal Heat Pumps, Solar Power, Green Construction Projects - Green Building Technologies (33)
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16 May 2009 12:28 PM

After using my 14" chop saw with metal cutting abrasive wheel to cut some foam and found that it makes a very clean cut with minimal mess, I experimented with an angle grinder and 1/4" thick abrasive wheel on the foam. I found that this will cut/melt a groove in the foam. The only issue is that you need a 7" or 8" diam grinding wheel to cut a groove ~2" deep.

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17 May 2009 05:02 AM

Should I use conduit?
Has anyone ever used an electric charcoal starter to cut the grooves in the ICF foam? How do you deal with ties?
Any books out there on how to do it in ICF walls?

Check out here

http://www.hotwiredirect.com/products/hot-knife/

We use conduitsduring the errection of the ICF walls also for the reason that the home owner later can put extra wires in like for electronic devises.


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17 May 2009 11:30 AM

Posted By Alton on 05/15/2009 10:13 PM

Would a light duty router cut the grooves in the foamand the plastic ties?.

I haven't tried it, but have read posts here that using a router to cut the grooves for the electrical wiring can leave a substantial amount of loose foam beads in the grooves. To install the wiring to the back of the groove then requires that you scoop out this loose foam. This is where the electric chainsaws have an advantage.

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17 May 2009 11:36 AM

Posted By medelpadconst on 05/15/2009 9:17 PM
We usually use a hot knife as that seems to work the best with a grooving head the makes a slot for the wire.

Do you ever run into issues trying to use the hot knife to cut through a seam between blocks where the concrete may have seeped between them? Seems like I have read where this can sometimes be an issue. Plus the hot knife is slower than most mechanical means isn't it?

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17 May 2009 11:49 AM

I have got a Milwaukee 18 volt battery powered 6-1/2" circular saw. I was looking at it yesterday and determined with a just a slight modification of the blade mounting collars (replace inner collar with some 5/8" ID washers, that I could stack two 1/8" thick x 6-1/2" diameter abrasive blades on it. With this saw I could then cut a 1/4" wide x 2-1/4" deep groove in the foam. And no cords to drag around. And very little mess to clean up (the abrasive blades essentially melt the foam and spit out a fine white string like material similar to spider web).

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20 May 2009 08:54 PM

I had bought a special bit from TF System that works with my roto-zip. It is made that it cuts through the webs and poly in one shot. It works pretty slick and most important is it is really fast. It self cleans the hole as it cuts. I used a shop-vac to clean an misc debris. IMO it saved us time cutting in the electrical. The best part was it was cheap.

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07 Jun 2009 03:37 PM

I used Plastilock ICF electrical boxes and PVC electrical conduit for most of my exterior (ICF) walls. They're especially good when electrical wires need to pass through the concrete wall. I also installed a few boxes bycutting out the foam and cutting grooves to run Romex cable. I much prefer installing the Plastilock boxes and conduit at the same time I'm erecting the ICFs and installing rebar (see photo.) I really hate the messy task of cutting the foam afterward. The hot element foam cutters are ineffective when cutting horizontally in TF vertical forms with their continuous vertical PVC ties.


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