This colorful project attracted hundreds of onlookers.
Some even stacked the sample blocks available for visitors, visible in the lower left of this photo

Insulated Concrete Forms (ICFs) are often compared to Legos, but an Arizona ICF installer recently took the comparison to a new level. 

Late last year, Castle Rock Homes built a custom ICF home that actually looked like it was built with toy building blocks. The project was built to benefit the Palo Alto chapter of the Arizona Special Olympics, on land that Castle Rock already owned on the northwest outskirts of Phoenix. Other homes in the neighborhood are selling in the half-million-dollar-plus range.

“This was a fun, engaging project,” says Rod Fetters, who with his brother Gary owns the company. “Everyone loves Lego, kids and adults, and most everyone loves seeing things being built.”

The exterior walls of the home are built with Fox Blocks’ six-inch core product, painted with four colors of acrylic paint: red, yellow, blue, and green. Vicki Connell, office manager at Castle Rock Homes, says it took 12 gallons of paint and “a party of three with rollers” to transform the ICFs.

Then began the real challenge: building the entire exterior shell of the 3,600-sq.-ft. in a single day. Randy Daniels, Western U.S. business development manager for Fox Blocks, was onsite to document the process, along with several time-lapse cameras and Castle Rock’s aerial drone.

The nine-person crew got started at sun-up, and were already several courses high by 9 a.m. As the height of the walls increased, so did the number of curious onlookers. The lot is visible from the nearby highway, and soon the street was lined with cars trying to get a look. 

Daniels states in his video that “gobs of people” were at the site by late morning. Children and adults alike posed for pictures in front of the construction site, and even stacked a few ICFs themselves, using forms that the brothers set out on the garage slab for that purpose. 

By 1:30 in the afternoon, the crew had the 3,400 sq. ft. of walls stacked and braced, with rebar and window and door bucks in place ready to pour —a mere six hours after starting. The actual concrete pour, totaling 64 yards, took place a few days later.

Because of the concrete and foam construction, ICF structures are extremely energy-efficient, and are resistant to hurricanes, earthquakes, wildfire, and termites.

This charity project in Arizona shows just how easy and affordable it can be to use ICF—and how a simple project can boost the visibility of the industry.

While the ICF portion of the build was complete, the media attention was not. The local newspaper and TV stations covered the project, and in November, the home was featured on Good Morning America. Castle Rock Homes and Fox Blocks also promoted the home on social media sites and on YouTube, where they racked up hundreds of views. 

Earlier this spring as the house neared completion, crews stuccoed the exterior, covering up the brightly colored blocks. It’s now indistinguishable from other homes in the neighborhood, but its rock-solid efficiency and strength will benefit the owners for decades to come. 

As part of the project, Castle Rock Homes made a cash donation to Special Olympics Arizona, and have committed to an additional donation for every time someone views the time-lapse video of the project on YouTube. 

Project Statistics 

Location: Waddell, Arizona
Type: Charity Fundraiser
Size: 3,600 sq. ft. (floor)
ICF Use: 3,400 sq. ft. (est.)
ICF Installation Time: 1 day

Construction Team 

Client: Special Olympics Arizona
ICF Installer: Castle Rock Homes
Form Distributor: ICF Specialist
ICF System: Fox Blocks


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