Welcome to Mikey Block
Website Update
We've updated the home page of MikeyBlock.com to present news and information as it becomes available. After several years of trying to look professional we've figured out that just isn't who we are, so we've decided to go back to just being ourselves. What a relief for us. Just use the menubar above to access everything you never wanted to know about Mikey Block and on this page we'll provide content from real humans that we hope you'll find useful. Thanks for visiting!
Keep Is Simple: Make It Mikey Block
We just received the following testemonial from another satisfied Mikey Block homeowner, Bryce Reichardt. In fact, Bryce was also the home builder and he conveys some words of wisdom about building a comfortable, quiet and energy efficient home:

After living in an adobe home for 20 years, I knew I didn’t want another high-thermal-mass house. I investigated ICF’s and found Mikey Block. It was the best choice because of a higher foam/lower concrete content, which meant better insulating value and lower cost. And it was the only ICF product that one individual could build by himself —no special bracing or tools required and the blocks were a lightweight, manageable size. So I built my house with Mikey Block and designed it with just a few key features to make it energy efficient:
  1. Mikey Block for the exterior walls
  2. A Mikey Block stem wall, which gives me an insulated slab. My concrete floor never gets cold in the winter, and heat doesn’t escape through the sides of the slab.
  3. Quality tight fitting windows and doors.
  4. An unvented attic, which is the most energy efficient method in our southwest climate. The insulation is sprayed foam on the underside of the roof deck, rather than fiberglass sitting on top of the ceiling. This makes the attic semi-conditioned space, which keeps ductwork and plumbing from temperature extremes.
My house is always comfortable: no hot or cold rooms, no walls that you have to stay away from because they’re too hot or too cold. We live south of Tucson at 5100’ elevation. Temperatures here have ranged from 4 degrees to 98 degrees. Our heat pump almost never runs during the day in winter. Our heating and cooling costs are so low that we were at first shocked. In our last house, in a warmer climate, the furnace came on and off, on and off, on and off. In this house it’s off from around 9am and doesn’t come back on until maybe 9pm on a typical winter day.

During the winter of 2012-2013 we had at least 12 snow storms of 1-4". During the month of November, our electric bill was $68. In December it was $122, followed by $93 in January and $90 in February. The house is 2800 sq. ft, with 11' ceilings, so there's lots of space to heat. We do use our wood stove when we have the time, but the majority of the heating is from a heat pump. This is an all electric home that includes a well. The 3.5 hp pump must pump the water from a 360' depth to the surface, then another 500' to the house with 75' of elevation lift.

Add to this a house that is very quiet and very solid, and Mikey Block was the obvious choice for me.

-Bryce Reichardt
A Tale of Two Cities
This came in from Dave awhile ago. It's really kind of charming the way he writes, so we left it as is, but added notations you can mouse over for translation or clarification.

Comfort revolves around heating and cooling degree days. Safe to assume, Phoenix is dramatically different than Duluth. Phx. June, July, Aug avg. temp = 92 d fdegrees Farenheit. Duluth Dec, Jan, Feb avg temp = 22 d f. Comfort zone, anywhere, is between 65 d to 75 d. We'll use 70 d.
Phx is hotter than comfort for 3 months by 22 d. Duluth is colder than comfort by 48 d for 3 months. @ 92 d, with water and shade, you can survive. @ 22 d, without appropriate clothing, you are history. My point? Thermal mass is significant. 90 days of extremes, and that magic thermal mass the rep from brand x any flat panel ICF brand tried to explain, goes the way of break dancingsomething they did in the '80s.. Brand x flat panel wears for external armor a 2.5 in x 1.5 d eps jacket1.5 pounds/cubic foot density encapsulated polystyrene (EPS) @ 2.5" thickness. R value of 2.5 x 4.1 = 10.25 2.5in. x 4.1 R-value/in. for 1.5 pounds/cubic foot EPS +- Sooner or later, that concrete interior will be affected by the outside avg. temp. Now, the next barrier is the int interior panel of the same. Total collective R = 10.25 x 2 = 20.5 Rsum of the R-value for the exterior and interior 2.5" panels. Never forget the high dollar ice chest your family takes to the lakereference to the fact that after several day all the ice will melt, no matter how expensive the ice chest. Mikey Block has a static R value of 28not a simple R/in x thickness because of the complex shape. In some areas, same as brand xhollow portions of the block, in others, 10.5 in x 4.1 = R43portions of the block that are 10.5" eps. Perhaps 27% 28 is 27% more than 20.5 better. In cold climates, 30% R-value is inversely proportional to temperature? better. My next e mail will involve value, vs a vs vis-a-vis cost in place and cost per R value.
A Tale of Two Cities Continued
Assumptions. Re bar structural steel, aka rebar same for both. Grout @ $135.00/yd3$135 per cubic yard. Wall is 100 ft x 10 ft = 1,000 sq ft. All fobfree on board, meaning not including shipping costs.

6 in 6" = thickness of concrete between the eps panels brand x panel @ $3.30/ft2 1,000 x 3.30 = $3,300.00
grout = 1,000/ 55 each square foot requires .5 cubic feet of grout. 27 cu ft/cu yard divided by .5 = 55 = 18.5 yd3 x $135.00 = $2,500.00
total $5,800.00

MB panels Mikey Blocks (it's 17 d f below zero and he's spending too much time panelizing Mikey Block). @ $3.75/sq ft = $3,750.00
grout = 1,000/ 91 one cubic yard of grout will fill 91 suare feet of Mikey Block = 11 yd3 x $135.00 = $1,500.00
total $5,250.00

Cost per R value/ in place
Brand x 1 R = 27.6 cents$5250/1000/20.5
MB x 1 R = 18.75 cents$3750/1000/28

Pretend 7th grade was good.Because you learned math?.
Finally, Dave Morse
Dave Morse is an excellent builder who is highly respected by those that know his work. He's also a Mikey Block proponent and has been for many years. We just got this testemonial from him:

To: Mr. Dave Taggett
Mikey Block

I am sending you this note regarding your product. I have built 3 large custom homes in the past using your product. Not only is it an easy method of construction, its thermal qualities are incredible. I built my own 4100+ sq. ft. home, with an additional 1000 sq. ft. wood shop. I am all electric. My last year's electric bills averaged out to $276 per month. I used to own a 2000 sq. ft. house built of masonry. The power bills were about the same as my 4100 sq. ft. Mikey Block house. I will always recommend your product to my clients. If I ever sell my home, I will build another Mikey Block house.

David Morse
Blast! We Have a Complaint
Very rare --we thought we'd share. This is from Rosecrants Construction in Tennesee.

Dear Mikey Block, We had to write you a letter after we had our first complaint about your product. Yes, that's right we actually have a huge complaint! Our house was too warm for our guests this Christmas Holiday! When it was below 27°F outside, inside was a balmy 80°F with the heat off, we had a few friends over for our annual holiday celebration and we actually had to open some windows and the sliding glass door because your product is fantastic! Now how about that for a complaint? We are over the top impressed with Mikey Block and couldn't recommend a better product. We also happen to be custom home builders in Tennessee and have some pretty picky clients. Our customers are extremely pleased with Mikey Block and how energy efficient it is, keeping them warm and saving them money. Not only is your product great, your staff is friendly, helpful and always available if you have a question. Thank you again for giving us something to complain about, being too warm in our Mikey Block house this Winter!

Warmest Regards,

Tom and Kristin Rosecrants
Owners of Rosecrants Construction

Enlightenment
Here are links to two very informative articles that may surprise you. The first takes you to a study conducted by the ICFA that measured the point of failure by several different methods of walls constructed of each of the three types of ICFs as well as one constructed of wood frame. As expected, all of the ICFs blow away the frame construction. What we really found satisfying is the similairity in performance between the screen grid (Mikey Block) and the solid panel ICFs.

ICFA Strength & Durability Study

The second link takes you to a study conducted to compare the moisture absorbtion of EPS and XPS foam. It is commonly thought that the more expenisive XPS has superior insulating properties to EPS. Quoted R-Values for one pound density foam are typically 3.6 for EPS and 5.0 for XPS, giving it an apparent 39% advantage. This study, however, measured a 15-year real world side-by-side application of the two. What the researchers found was for long term exposure, XPS is prone to much higher moisture absorbtion rates. Moisture absorbtion is the kiss of death for insulation and the study found that after 15 years in the ground, the XPS had lost 48% of its R-value (2.6), while the EPS lost just 6% (3.3). Thus, when used below grade or other environments exposed to moisture, it looks like good old EPS is the better choice. And an even better choice is Mikey Block, which is made from 1.5 pound density foam, having an R-value of 4.1 per inch.

EPS/XPS Foam Face-off

Another Recent Mikey Block House
Docis House
"We recently finished our Mikey Block house and we LOVE it."
--Matt Docis, Owner
--Architect, Richard Jost

FLORIDA APPROVAL!
Mikey Block is now approved for use in the state of Florida. If you are looking to build a strong, energy-efficient house that will still be standing after the severe weather that can happen in Florida, take a look at Mikey Block.
CHOOSING AN ICF: MAKE THE RIGHT DECISION
When it comes to choosing an ICF, you have dozens to select from. How do you know if you are making the right choice? There are a number of factors you'll want to look for:

1. Insulating Value: If your ICF home doesn't insulate the way you had hoped, you'll be disappointed in the whole process. Remember, R-value is achieved through the use of EPS Foam. Concrete adds thermal mass and has an effect on R-value, but excess concrete can actually make your home perform less well. More foam means more insulation and Mikey Block has more foam than any other ICF

2. Labor Cost:Most ICF systems require specialized equipment, trained crews, and extensive bracing equipment. Not so with Mikey Block. We've had customers install all of their Mikey Block walls themselves, with help only at grouting time!

3.Being Really Green: If you want to have as little effect on the environment as possible, choose an ICF that uses less concrete. The manufacture of portland cement and the production of concrete are extremely energy-intensive processes. Mikey Block uses half the concrete of most flat panel systems.

4. Factory Support: When you call us with a question, you'll talk to Mikey Block people---the ones who've designed the system and have built with it. We know the product and have the answers. We're available 5 days a week, and you can even email us on weekends. Questions don't go unanswered at Mikey Block.