For a chronological listing of our building projects with ICF (or insulated concrete forms), be sure to look through the ICF Building Index. One thing we do not see much of here in west Texas is rain. In fact just a few tenths of an inch are exciting! We do after all, live in a semi-dessert climate. It has definitely been hot with temperatures in the 100 - 108F range. And, since the first of the year, we had had a whopping 3 inches of rain. This week, though, we have had rain - 2 1/2 inches! That brings the total for the year up to 5 1/2 inches! We had water puddles! We had beautiful storm clouds! When I saw the scene in the photo below, I felt as though I was in an episode of Star Trek - the Enterprise was hovering in the clouds above and Captain Kirk was just beyond the barn saying, "Beam me up, Scottie"! If you remember, we completed phasice 1 of our house that overlooks the vineyard - we are living in what will eventually be the basement. Built out of ICF (insulated concrete forms) like the barn, filter house and greenhouse, it is very comfortable - except for one thing. When it rains, water leaks in under some of the walls which are exterior for the time. Not wanting to waste time or money, we have waited to put an exterior finish on the house until the rest is completed. This week we definitively proved that water was coming in through the cracks in the paint on the ICF blocks, passing through the block joints, down the concrete center and then under the wall to the inside. This sounds complicated and my husband refused to believe it until this week. We had leftover EIFS materials (exterior insulation finishing system) from building the barn and applied the finish coat to the back wall of the basement to spruce it up a bit. The following week, we received two tenths of an inch of rain (not much, I know) but no water leaked under the finished wall. So, when this week of rains was forecast, we finished a bit more on another side as a test. To our amazement, the original spot and the second test were water free. So what did we do differently this time? We had found it difficult putting the trim up around the windows and doors as the last step. Touching up the trim color once it was up was tedious not to mention getting the long, styrofoam trim boards up without breaking them! So, for the house, we put the trim on with only its initial layer of cement and fiberglass mesh, and then applied the trim's finish coat (brown). As the final step, we coated the wall with the pale yellow color. For some reason, it was easier to keep the base color (yellow) off the trim (brown) than the trim color (brown) off the base (yellow)! So again, when the rain began, the water did not come under that wall like it had before. The EIFS sealed the wall! Applying EIFS is not difficult as you can see by the step-by-step progression in the ICF Filter House/Pavilion Progress. Now the dilemma - do we finish the current exterior (to completely stop the water) or just suffer with it until we complete the next phase?Considering the fact that we get so little rain here, it would probably wouldn't hurt to wait. It probably would be safe to wait. But, then again .... Yesterday, we went to the store and bought supplies to finish all the walls ASAP - or at least before the next rain!