Light frame construction using standardized dimensional lumber has been a ubiquitous feature of the American landscape for nearly two centuries, primarily for its economy. “Stick” construction, as it is called in the trade, is fast to construct and relatively inexpensive. However, increasingly demanding owner requirements and building codes are causing significant changes to the way we build structures using wood framing, with particular attention focused on energy efficiency, long-term durability, windstorm protection and fire safety concerns.
The good news here in Central Texas is that a new option is available that can meet these new owner requirements without breaking the bank. Bautex Systems, LLC is manufacturing composite insulating concrete forms (ICF) at a new facility down the road in San Marcos. The Bautex Wall System is an insulated concrete wall that provides a durable structure, exterior envelope, continuous insulation, fire resistance, sound reduction, and storm protection all in one assembly. The system is also resistant to pests and rodents, and does not sustain the growth of mold or mildew.
Bautex Blocks, made from 90% foam plastic insulation encapsulated in a cement matrix, are stacked together to form a wall, and then the hollow sections inside the block are filled with steel rebar and concrete to create the structural system for the building. The blocks act as a formwork to create a grid of six-inch tubular concrete columns and beams every 16 inches throughout the wall. This grid system uses roughly 50% of the concrete of a standard concrete wall but maintains more than 70% of the strength, making this wall system very efficient and cost effective. Simplicity and speed of construction of the Bautex Wall System also helps to drive down construction costs.
The Bautex Wall System exceeds the 2012 International Residential Code (IRC) insulation requirements for mass walls in Climate Zones 1 and 2 by over three times. The system also has the following benefits, which homeowners will certainly appreciate:
- Four-hour structural fire endurance rating
- Federal Emergency Management Agency’s rating for use as a personal or community storm shelter per FEMA 320 and FEMA 361 standards
- High degree of noise reduction (STC 51)
- Bautex Block utilizes recycled materials