Marie, Home Buyer in 34114

What problems may one expect with a wood frame house on a canal in florida?

Asked by Marie, 34114 Mon Oct 15, 2007

Do they tend to rot or attract wood eating bugs being in a humid environment. Also, will homeowners ins. be higher with this type of house.

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Answers

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This will depend first on the age of the wood frame home. As a general rule termites do not like treated wood but enjoy softer woods. If you own a wood home on a canal the upkeep will be much more costly and will take more time. These days with the advances of vinyl siding and masonry composites ( specially after Andrew in 1992 and the following stiffer Building codes), the mix of steel partition walls and roofs, the hurricane strapping along rafters, the differences are less important.Mold will develop under overhangs, along ac units along cbs or stucco homes as well as frame homes, the big differences is how much trim and wood there is outside.If you see a wood frame homes on wood pilings for example you are going to run into problems specially if the home is older. My home was build in 1937 and I changed all the pilings to the modern concrete blocks and r-bars and strappings.The wood is some yellow Floridian hard pine which does well against termites but you still have to keep up with it and have your home checked for these pesky creatures.This hard yellow pine was aged much longer then today and you will have a hard time cutting it or drilling it.I know from experience.
Tiled Roofs may look gorgeous but they may also be a pain in your wallet. Repairing tiled roof can cost an arm and a leg so look carefully at what you have and the age of your roof.. Historically frame vs cbs during a hurricane will not matter.They both will be knocked down. Overall the CBS home is a better value and most often a better re-sale. Termites do not eat concrete contrary to common belief. Termites do not feed on concrete, stucco, fiberglass, insulation, or other non-organic materials, because these materials do not contain cellulose. However, termites can tunnel through cracks or weakened areas in concrete to get to underlying wood. Another note:some older concrete homes are not build high enough and compare to pilling frame homes are more susceptible to 1st floor flooding. You have to make sure of the elevation.The ideal would be a concrete home on pilings, with stucco applied directly on the blocks or the concrete foundation or with an elevated building site.Some homes may sound like cbs homes but all they are is some mesh wire hammered to the studs with concrete stucco mix over it.They may be brittle and crack. Another attractive alternative if you like the Florida Look or Key West home of newer frame homes would be the part concrete/or pilling foundation, no wood siding and there your insurance would be similar to cbs homes.The whole trick about insurance is if you are in a flood zone ( low elevation under 10 feet for example or barriers islands or low spots along rivers and canals ). You need to take all this into consideration as you ask for a quote from your insurance.No home new or old is safe from termites, they create mud tubes which can go through slabs , bricks, pre-treated wood and more I was told my numerous home inspectors. Certainly frame homes are more work to keep up with. Its a question of elevation, age, architecture and location.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Oct 16, 2007
Yes, you will tend to have more rot and wood eating bugs (compared to brick or stone) but the wood should be treated and inspected. The important aspect is to not have the wood in contact with the dirt.

I don't think you will see any difference with insurance.

A funny story . . . In the 1980s at Mich. State. Univ as bunch of us were looking through photo albums and a girl from Detroit gasped at a picture of another girl's home.

Detroit girl said, "You have a wood house?!!!"
Country girl, "Yeah, why?"
Detroit girl, "Aren't you afraid of someone burning it down?"

I haven't bought a wood house since, even though the reality of that happening is extremely rare (unless it is Halloween in the 80s in Detroit).

Ruth
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon Oct 15, 2007
Ruthless, Other/Just Looking in 60558
MVP'08
The anwsers below are 100% correct with mold, wood eating insects, etc. Also insurance is more expensive and harder to get on wood frame homes.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jan 2, 2008
Rot (and mold) and wood eating bugs (e.g. termites and carpenter ants) are a problem regardless, because even in concrete block and stucco homes, there’s still wood (e.g. roof trusses and interior walls). That said, however, more wood equals more potential for problems. Since wood frame has wood on exterior walls and is nearer to the ground than roof trusses, I’d think it would be easier access by insects and more water intrusion (unless it you’ve got roof problems in which case everything’s wet). Also think about flooding… if it happens (hopefully not), CBS homes you can gut the interior and re-drywall. I’m not sure wood frame would stand up as well. When we were buying on a Florida canal a few years back we specifically avoided wood frame homes. The realtor thought it was strange, but we just didn’t have a good feeling about it…
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Oct 16, 2007
Marie - it really depends on where in Florida you are talking about, what kind of canal and also when the house was built. (1920's and 30's wood frame homes were usually built with Florida Pine which is much stronger than current woods).

Problems with wood frame homes come in different types and colors. One would be the price of insurance, as you mentioned. The other with the longevity of the home. If the house has stucco, then you should be concerned with rotting of the metal mesh that holds the stucco to the actual wood frame. If it has siding, how the members behind the siding are holding up.

It's a good idea to ask for insurance information from the previous owner and to talk to your insurance representative. It's also important for you to do the right inspections.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Oct 16, 2007
It can be difficult to get insurance, if not impossible, other than through the state, for wood framing. It depends upon where; and I would be very surprised if you found a carrier who did not charge more for wood framing. Although I am not in insurance, I own property and am a real estate broker in FL. And, yes, rot and wood eating bugs are both a problem w/ wood framed houses.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Oct 16, 2007
Deborah Madey, Real Estate Pro in Brick, NJ
MVP'08
Contact
Brian is right about the long term investment.....you have to understand that people would rather have a CBS home..(Concrete Block)..Buyers usually rule out Wood from the first day I meet them. Another person answered that insurance may not be different.....It IS more for a wood frame...Some will not even be insured by private insurers....if you are on a canal also you may have only one option and that is through the state insurer of last resort....Citizens.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Oct 16, 2007
More and more buyers are coming to the realization that real estate is a long term investment,especially on the cape. That being said, wood frame houses are not a good of an investment vehicle. Also on the Cape there are so many newer houses that wood becomes even less attractive, unless its in an outstanding location.
I recommend looking into newer Cat 5 hurricane resistant houses that are also "green". Remember, think about selling 5 or 10 years from now. Who knows where utility prices will be and who knows what kind of storms we can expect. The major advantage of Cat 5 Green houses over wood is that they are better at Resale time.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Oct 16, 2007
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