THE TRUTH ABOUT WOODEN HOUSES - Coastal Florida Real Estate


“I’ll Huff and I’ll Puff and Blow Your House Down”

We all know this phrase from our childhood.  Sure, things looked bad for the 3 Little Pigs but what is the truth about homes made of wood?  Let’s talk about them for a minute.

Hurricane Matthew storm track

Insurance is a big, and profitable, business.  And there is nothing insurance companies hate worse than claims, especially if they have to pay them.  But since 2004 when Hurricane Frances came to town, insurance companies have fostered a fear that the next storm will be the mother of all storms. And every year people wait anxiously for the predictions from the University of Oklahoma on the upcoming hurricane season, yet they are always wrong.


Let’s just talk about Palm Beach County.  When hurricanes Frances and Jeanne came through this area within 3 weeks of each other in 2004  it was a freak of nature.

Before that we had not had a hurricane hit this area since 1928.  That’s 76 years.  You could have lived your entire life here without encountering a storm.

After 2004, everyone that moved to this area from the north was led to believe that several Katrina category storms come through each year when it simply isn’t true.  Anyway, most of the damage from Frances and Jeanne was done to roofs not interiors.  The storms simply blew the asphalt shingles off the homes.

Add Super Storm Sandy to the public opinion and you have the recipe for a distorted picture of the situation.

Building Codes

The fact is there is only one building code, not two.  People mistakenly think that wooden houses are not as structurally sound as concrete or CBS homes.  False.

THERE IS ONLY ONE BUILDING CODE!  But there is a problem with wooden homes.

The Problem

The problem with wooden houses, and anything made of wood, it rots.

This is sub-tropical, South Florida (also known as Zone 10 in horticulture) and it is hot and moist, two factors that spell trouble for wood.  Oh, did I mention termites?  They are tropical bugs and like it here too.

So I contend that a wooden house is structurally sound but wooden siding will, and does, rot and will have to be replaced.

There are houses made of wood sprinkled all over this area at all price points including one I know of on Pennock Point that has been priced to sell at $2.8 million. (Actually, it’s not priced to sell or it would have been sold by now but that’s another story).

The $12 Million Teardown

Ex-Mrs. Tiger Woods, Elin Nordegren, bought an oceanfront home in Seminole Landing for $12 million.  It was made of wood but her contractor said the house was so rotten and infested with termites that it should be demolished.

She donated $300,000 worth of interior furnishings to a charity then tore it down.

Wooden houses rot…period.

The Takeaway

Think carefully before purchasing a home made of wood.  You will end up repairing and replacing the siding and your homeowner’s insurance will cost more than if the house was made of CBS blocks.

For help with your real estate needs, contact me directly at 561.762.4073.  And be sure to subscribe above to this blog and check out my You Tube Channel with nearly 400 videos on real estate and the Coastal Florida Real Estate scene.

Richard Sites, Realtor