It is a construction technique that relies on expanded polystyrene (EPS) forms, fabricated as interlocking blocks, to provide the framework for steel reinforced concrete. The blocks are manufactured by EPS suppliers.

Many EPS manufacturers are in the USA. But EPS is not strictly an American product. It is manufactured and utilized globally. Whether a builder purchases domestically or internationally, the key is to work with an EPS supplier the builder can trust.

With that in mind, here are some important things to know about EPS suppliers:

1. Not All Are ICF-Specific

Ideally, a builder would probably like to collaborate with a supplier that deals exclusively in ICF materials. If a supplier’s expertise is in ICF construction, the builder is likely to get additional help and support. But finding such a supplier is difficult as not all are ICF-specific.

In the absence of an ICF-specific supplier, a builder would do well to search out a supplier that knows all of the details of ICF construction. The more knowledge the supplier has, the more likely a builder is to get a quality product backed by strong service and technical know-how.

2. Experience Goes a Long Way

ICF construction is comparatively new. It has not been around nearly as long as more traditional construction techniques. As such, just because an EPS supplier carries ICF blocks doesn’t mean the company has a lot of experience with them. From our perspective, experience goes a long way in this particular arena.

A wealth of ICF experience indicates that a supplier has a good understanding of product requirements and quality. If a builder can combine documented experience with reviews from customers who have already used a particular supplier, settling on a supplier the builder can trust gets a lot easier.

3. Some Carry More Than Just the Blocks

While ICF blocks account for the bulk of ICF construction, there are other components involved. ICF tie rods, corner blocks, and vertical braces are all part of the equation. Builders may choose to source all their blocks and components from the same supplier. If not, they can be sourced from different suppliers as needed.

The only caveat here is that components purchased separately need to be fully compatible. One company’s blocks need to integrate seamlessly with another’s corner pieces and braces. Otherwise, construction becomes a nightmare.

4. Availability Can Be an Issue

Despite the fact that EPS is one of the most common plastics in the world, ICF blocks can be hard to come by at times. Availability can be an issue when builders are on tight schedules. In addition, availability can impact delivery times and transportation costs.

All of this suggests working with a local supplier when possible. Not only does a local supplier spend less on transportation, but the company may also have some knowledge of local and state building codes. That helps.

The downside of sourcing locally is that a supplier may have a limited inventory to work with. On the other hand, a national EPS supplier is likely to have a much broader product line that includes everything from blocks to additional components. Larger suppliers are also more likely to offer lower prices due to volume sales.

ICF block construction is leading the way among modern construction techniques. Builders and engineers appreciate the energy efficiency, strength, and construction efficiency ICF blocks bring to the process. Tying everything together is the EPS supplier. A trusted supplier can make all the difference in the world.