Faswall is an eco-friendly, easy-to-use building system that creates sturdy, breathable walls and foundations. These trademarked blocks have been produced since 1987, and have been manufactured and distributed exclusively by ShelterWorks Ltd. in Philomath, Oregon, since 2008. This month, Faswall is proud to announce the manufacture of its millionth building block!
What is Faswall?
The only ingredients in Faswall Insulated Composite Concrete Form (ICCF) blocks are 85% recycled wood and 15% lime/Portland cement. The wood is sourced from pallets, which are broken down into chips and mineralized, then formed into blocks with a cement binder.
The blocks are made with no glues, plastics, or other harmful additives. This means there’s no off-gassing–the release of smelly chemicals into the air from the material.
The material is waterproof, and won’t degrade over time in contact with moisture. The blocks are highly alkaline, and so inhospitable to mold that local code officials everywhere have approved the design without the vapor retarders that are usually required.
Why Faswall Works
Wood fiber cement is vapor permeable and provides an air quality that is fresh, a temperature that is moderated, and a relative humidity that is constant.
When finished with plaster or stucco, Faswall creates a breathable wall system. The blocks are hydroscopic, meaning they absorb and release water vapor in a sink effect, balancing indoor humidity and eliminating moisture buildup in the wall. Even when water infiltration occurs, the system allows moisture to escape.
Using Faswall to create breathable walls is a great way to build with clean air in mind. Because the blocks are vapor permeable and waterproof, they can release trapped moisture in the form of water vapor, limiting mold growth, preventing the buildup of indoor pollutants, and protecting the structure from long term damage.
How Faswall Works
Faswall works like wood with standard woodworking tools–no special equipment required! The blocks can be cut with a wood saw, and stack like legos. A standard block weighs about 30lbs and measures 24’’(L) x12’’(W) x8’’(H) with insulation inserts already attached to the inside.
To build with Faswall, first design your building with block sizes in mind, and order an appropriate number of blocks. Further information is available on Faswall’s get started page. The exact number and type of blocks you need for your build can be ordered directly from the manufacturer, eliminating the additional cost of retail markup.
Faswall can be built on slab grade or a foundation. The blocks stack without mortar, and will stay in place because of their tongue-and-groove end design. Special end blocks and half blocks are designed to build doors and windows, with smooth ends to which windows can be fastened with screws.
Next, set rebar horizontally and vertically inside the blocks prior to filling their cores with concrete. This rebar “post and beam” grid will make the wall sturdy. Plumbing and electrical are easy to integrate into the wall forms.
Concrete poured inside the set blocks will cure into a strong, breathable wall. For finishing, stucco and plaster can be applied directly to the untreated block surface, and nails can be driven into it as well.
Faswall creates a mold-resistant building envelope that is energy efficient–in addition to regulating humidity, the system is great at retaining heat during colder months, and keeping interiors cool during hotter periods, with more moderate temperature swings than comparable ICF blocks.
Check out Faswall’s FAQ page for more information on this eco-friendly, affordable, durable building system!