I'm a residential contractor in Harwich, Mass., a coastal area with salty air, strong winds, and cold winters. For the past five years, my company has been building custom homes using the ReddiForm ICF (insulating concrete form) system. While I routinely use ICF foundations, many of my waterfront clientele have also elected to build with ICFs above grade. A recent project included an ICF home and a 24x36-foot freestanding two-story garage with a drive-in basement. The garage had a large single bay entry at the basement level, three car bays on the main level, and a home office upstairs. The garage itself was conventionally framed, but the main level had to be capable of supporting three vehicles, a considerable live load. While precast, hollow-concrete deck planks are available for this kind of application, I decided to check out an ICF-related system for pouring a structural concrete floor. The system, called Insul-Deck (Florence, Ky.; 800/475-6720, www.insul-deck.org), has been in use since 1978 and is licensed to ReddiForm under the name Reddi-Deck (ReddiForm, Butler, N.J.; 800/334-4303, www.reddiform.com).

Pouring a heavy concrete slab over fluffy-looking EPS (expanded polystyrene) form panels may seem like taking the ICF concept a step too far. Actually, the Reddi-Deck system offers some advantages over precast concrete panels and conventional cast-in-place floor methods. The panels are lightweight — about 2 pounds per linear foot — and very easy...

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