The majority of the houses in Florida are wood-frame structures. New home buyers in Florida are worried about a hurricane when they consider buying a wood frame house. For most other people, a wood frame house sounds more prone to termites. Wood frame houses have their fair share of pros as well as cons.
In this post, we look at all the details that go into constructing a wood frame house. We dissect the advantages as well as the downside to help you decide whether a wood frame house is worth the hype.
What Is A Wood-Frame House?
Before we get into the details, let’s first understand what a wood frame house is and how it’s made. Wood frame structures are built with light wood joists and studs. Joists are the support beams in the ceiling and floor, while studs are found on the wall and are used as a base when you want to hang frames or mirrors.
The walls are mostly constructed from studs measuring 2 x 4 or 2 x 6, which are between 16- 24 inches apart. These walls sit on top of the foundation, and they support the roof or upper floors. Wallboards made of plaster or gypsum are then attached to the studs to form the interior finishing. The exterior can either be stucco plaster. Metal siding, wood, or brick depending on the desired outlook. New wood frame houses are now being constructed with sheets of plywood nailed to the studs behind the exterior finish to resist earthquakes.
For the roof, rafters of the same size as studs are used, then sheathings are nailed onto the rafters. The sheathing in new houses is plywood, while older houses used boards. Roofing material such as tiles, shakes, built-up roofing, or shingles is then applied on top of the sheathing. For the floor, 2 x 10 joist spaced16 inches apart are used. The floor sheathing is nailed on top of the joist.
The exterior finishing of a wood frame house can be used to disguise the wood. Some homes may look like they are made of concrete, mostly if the finishing is made of stucco. Stucco contributes to the durability of the exterior and also conceals the wood frame. To know if a house is made of wood frame, knock the sides. It will feel hollow if it is made of a wood frame.
Pros And Cons Of A Wood Frame House
In a hurry? Check out the summary table for both pros and cons of wood-frame houses.
|Quick and easy construction,||Not entirely fireproof|
|Versatile designs and outlook||High maintenance and rehabilitation costs|
|Easy to remodel||Risk of termite infestation|
|Better thermal insulation compared to concrete blocks||Higher insurance premiums compared to concrete block|
Let’s have a more in-depth look at the advantages of buying or building a wood frame house in Florida and southeast America in general.
1. Quick And Easy Construction
Wood frame houses are quick to build, and they save you lots of money. You can get your wooden home constructed in a week. Since people love inexpensive and fast results, and that’s what wood offers, they tend to go for it.
Compared to concrete, stone, or brick. Wood frame houses save on the time it takes to constructs, which impacts labor costs. A 1000 square feet house would take months and up to a year to construct using other materials. According to some wooden home constructors, the same size house would take weeks. Especially in harsh weather, such as snow and heavy rain, wood construction can go on without hindrance.
2. Versatile Designs And Outlook
Our favorite part about wood-frame structures is the versatility they offer. Wood can easily be made into different designs giving the house a unique appearance. It is inexpensive to modify a wooden frame house during and after the building process.
Wood can also be used in distinct ways to beautify the outlook of the house. There is over 1000 type of wood designs to choose from. Some types of wood are also naturally appealing due to their grain and aesthetics. The most breathtaking architectural designs have wood in them. If you are looking to build an aesthetically appealing home, then wood frame construction is the way to go.
3. Easy To Remodel
Even with great strides in engineering excellence, wood is still used due to its ease of remodeling. Unlike other structures that may crack or fall apart in a change in structure or foundation shift, wood tends to bend and remain healthy.
Remodeling a wooden house is easy and can be done without much effort.
4. Better Thermal Insulation Compared To Concrete Blocks
Wood is an exceptional energy saver due to its insulating abilities. Wood is a poor conductor of heat and therefore prevents energy leakage from home. If you want your house to remain calm or warm without overspending on heating or cooling, then wood is the best material for your construction project. Wood provides economic insulation, and it is safe to say that wood-frame structures save on air conditioning costs
5. Environment Friendly
Did you know that wood is the only carbon-neutral construction material? Wood is carbon neutral, and wooden structures absorb and store atmospheric CO2. Wooden houses are renewable, sustainable, and environmentally friendly.
Because of deforestation, ensure your wood source isn’t questionable since there’s a policy for replacing every cut tree with three others. Building wooden structures could impact the environment positively since more trees will be planted. Since younger trees absorb CO2 better than older ones, planting new trees could positively impact climate change.
Everything that has advantages will most certainly have downsides; in this section, we look at the cons of wood-frame structures. This will help us weigh the option and determine whether these structures are worth the hype.
1. Not Entirely Fireproof
Wood frame structures have a lower degree of fire resistance compared to other materials. Fire safety is not determined by the combustibility of a building’s framing materials, but it may sometimes be a factor. Although, statistics show that the risk of fire is not any more significant for wood-frame structures.
For wooden frame structures, fires can be prevented by ensuring there are functioning smoke detectors, occupants are aware of fire safety measures, and the interior furnishings are not highly combustible.
2. High Maintenance And Rehabilitation Costs
Wood is high maintenance since it is more susceptible to moisture damage. In areas like Florida, where there‘s high humidity, wood might not sound like a great option. Wood rot issues would have your maintenance costs increased.
You can keep these costs down by ensuring you choose high-quality wood from the onset. You can also ensure you waterproof the house to avoid wood rot issues.
3. Risk Of Termite Infestation
Wood-boring beetles and termites are more attracted to wood-frame houses. They are more interested in wood that has a higher moisture concentration. If you keep up with regular home maintenance and pest control measures, you won’t have to worry about termites.
Older houses are more prone to termite infestation. Also, ensuring your house is painted and sealed to keep these pests away.
4. Higher Insurance Premiums Compared To Concrete Block
Wood frame homes have higher insurance costs because of the high maintenance they require. When wood-frame structures are not maintained properly, they can be damaged by water or termites. Since most homeowners do not maintain their houses, insurance companies increase the premiums for wood-frame structures to cater to these eventualities.
You can keep your insurance premiums low by ensuring you have impact-resistant windows, have hurricane shutters, and your roof is strapped. Since the initial cost of buying or building a wood frame house is relatively lower than other structures, paying slightly higher insurance premiums shouldn’t be such a big deal.
Wood frame houses are beautiful and cost-effective, making them popular in southeast America and especially Florida. Florida being the most humid state, new homeowners are a bit skeptical about buying a wood frame house. These houses have high maintenance costs, but their initial price of buying or building is relatively lower.
Some constructors also say that wood-frame structures are better in Florida since there are cheaper to repair and rebuild in the unlikely event of destruction by a hurricane. Since the pros are more than the cons, we would vouch for a wood frame house any day. A wood frame should not discourage you from getting your dream house. If you spot a wood frame house that you like and is well maintained, go for it. You will save on the initial cost and ensure proper maintenance for you to enjoy the house for the longest. We hope this post helps you make that bold decision and be ready for all experiences that come with owning a wood frame structure.s