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All three foundation types are usually constructed out of concrete, but can also use concrete masonry units or insulated concrete forms.
Concrete Masonry Units (CMUs) are hollow, concrete blocks. To create foundation wall, mortar is used between blocks to hold them together, forming wall.
Insulated Concrete Forms (ICFs) are made of rigid foam insulation forms (a system of support assemblies, including mold, hardware, and necessary bracing to hold concrete) into which concrete is poured. Once concrete has gained its full strength, outside forms, inside forms, or both are left in place to insulate wall. ICFs are common in regions in which local building code requires foundation to be insulated. Another benefit is that homeowner or builder is able to finish basement immediately, without adding studs.
============================================= Be sure to read Part II of this article at: http://www.houseplancentral.com/articles.php?id=10 =============================================
Mark Mathis is a building designer and publisher of several stock house plan websites and informational resources including http://www.HousePlanCentral.com and http://www.HousePlanGallery.com. Be sure to subscribe to both site's eNewsletters to receive special offers, promotions, and subscriber-only features.