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Brevard County Space Coast: Palm Bay, Melbourne, Titusville area
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Old 03-03-2016, 11:45 AM
 
Location: SoCal, but itching to relocate
284 posts, read 188,728 times
Reputation: 297

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Thanks to so many informative Q&A's on this forum, I think I have my house-hunting checklist pretty well in order. The one thing I'm not totally sure about -- and am therefore looking for some words of wisdom from those of you in the know -- is whether I should make concrete block construction a "must have" on my list.

For example, I have my eye on a home in Indialantic. It's a 2-story, not within a flood zone, and the info says it's wood frame construction (or possibly "combination"...of course, I'll verify). I don't want to waste my time looking further at such a home if the insurance (or other issues) would be a huge negative. Can anyone offer any insight?
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Old 03-03-2016, 01:27 PM
 
Location: Titusville, FL
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Block withstands hurricanes better, therefore insurance maybe lower. I would rather be inside a concrete block wall then lumber wall during a hurricane, that is why I bought a concrete block house.
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Old 03-03-2016, 02:42 PM
 
Location: Long Island
784 posts, read 771,476 times
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This has been a controversial issue for many years now. The main reason to go with block is simply to get a lower insurance quote, with all else being equal. Block homes have historically withstood storms better and therefore the insurance companies have adjusted their rating systems. This was not the case pre 2004/2005 when some really bad hurricanes hit Florida.
Interestingly, many wood frame homes have survived these storms, some dating back to the early 1900's still stand. But the damage from a really severe storm tends to favor block homes overall.
I personally believe some of the most interesting architecture and pleasing to the eye homes are wood frame or a combination. There is a lot you can do with custom window designs and elevation detailing that is more difficult to do with block. But as long as the insurance industry favors block, that will likely be my choice when buying.
Don't let termites scare you. Block homes can get them too, just more difficult as they usually come up to the roof or second floor, where they find the wood. One reason you want those close to the house trees cut or trimmed low. You can also get a termite bond and pay the yearly maintenance to keep it going for several hundred dollars a year. But you will pay a higher insurance rate, again with all other things being equal.
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Old 03-03-2016, 04:36 PM
 
10,576 posts, read 10,792,849 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mpafr012 View Post
Block withstands hurricanes better, therefore insurance maybe lower. I would rather be inside a concrete block wall then lumber wall during a hurricane, that is why I bought a concrete block house.
Plus termites risk is lower compared to frame. Some people do frame on the second floor to save money but no reason you can't do block on both.

Honestly it's just good sense to buy cbs in fl
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Old 03-03-2016, 08:01 PM
 
468 posts, read 357,997 times
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It depends on what you would feel the safest in. Personally, I feel safest in a concrete block home. I like to think that when a hurricane comes, I can hunker down in my house behind a block wall without worrying about a beam coming through the wall and skewering me. Of course, the block wall could fall on me and then I would get smashed. . Soooooo, its either a chose of being a pancake or a shish-ka-bob. It'll probably be a quicker death going the pancake route.
J/K....




On a side note, Indialantic is a good choice. The home has probably been there a while so its already been tested and since its still standing, you know it holds up well. Of course, an insurance company can tell you if there has been any claims on the home or not. Some of these new houses that have just been built haven't been tested by hurricanes so you wouldn't know if they can withstand them or not.
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Old 03-04-2016, 12:38 AM
 
Location: SoCal, but itching to relocate
284 posts, read 188,728 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beckerd2 View Post
Soooooo, its either a chose of being a pancake or a shish-ka-bob. It'll probably be a quicker death going the pancake route.
J/K....
HA! Seriously! Then again, there is always Plan C: Evacuation.

Quote:
Originally Posted by beckerd2 View Post
On a side note, Indialantic is a good choice. The home has probably been there a while so its already been tested and since its still standing, you know it holds up well. Of course, an insurance company can tell you if there has been any claims on the home or not. Some of these new houses that have just been built haven't been tested by hurricanes so you wouldn't know if they can withstand them or not.
Yeah, the house in my example has only been there since 2005 or 2008, so it definitely does not meet the "tried and true" criteria of those built in the 1960's that are still standing.
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Old 03-04-2016, 07:37 AM
 
Location: Suntree
23 posts, read 29,415 times
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Was it in 2006 that the improved building codes when into effect?
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Old 03-04-2016, 10:22 AM
 
Location: Rockledge, FL
120 posts, read 155,490 times
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We looked at this when we bought last year. We found a house we really liked in one neighborhood, but then found out it was wood-framed. It was built in the mid-90s I believe. We ended up passing on that one just because of the wood-frame with the insurance cost, and weren't completely in love with it. Obviously it withstood the rough storm season in 2004-2005, but no idea what damage was done to it if any...

The house we bought was built in 1988, and honestly, it's been one of the better constructed houses that we looked at and it is concrete block. Even the home inspector made a comment on how well built it is. Newer isn't always better...
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Old 03-04-2016, 10:23 AM
 
Location: Rockledge, FL
120 posts, read 155,490 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CyberConch View Post
Was it in 2006 that the improved building codes when into effect?
That was another year that they changes (post 2001), yes. The roofing codes also changed in 2008 (again) with regards to type of nails, amount of nails, tie-downs to the foundation, etc.
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Old 03-08-2016, 06:00 AM
 
Location: Merritt Island, FL
232 posts, read 299,777 times
Reputation: 160
Until we moved to FL, all we had ever known was wood frame. Our house here in FL is block, and I would never go back to wood. A good architect can design a block house that you'd not know was block when it's finished, so don't let that deter you.

An even bigger factor to consider, at least for us, was cost of heating/cooling. Block tends to cost significantly less to heat (which you'll seldom need) and especially to cool, which you will need to do 8-9 months out of year.

Just my 2. YMMV.
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