Florida is known for its warm, wet climate and frequent hurricanes, meaning its housing styles, materials, and aesthetics reflect these conditions.
In this article, we will focus on the materials used in Florida houses and why concrete and wood are popular choices for building homes in the state.
What Florida Houses are Made Of:
Houses in Florida focus on hurricane resistance, aesthetics, and cooling. Most houses use concrete, stone, and stucco to keep the houses cool while utilizing wood and steel reinforced frames to protect against flying debris during hurricanes.
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Florida Housing Design Styles
Because Florida is such a warm and wet climate, their housing styles, materials, and aesthetics reflect that.
For example, many houses are painted with bright colors, such as white and pastel pinks and blues. This reflects the sun’s heat away from the house and helps regulate the internal temperature.
Florida houses are also built with hurricanes in mind, so many are made with durable concrete blocks, stones, and reinforced steel.
Furthermore, Florida houses often have tropical landscaping, stucco siding, and that Spanish / South American aesthetic that blends well in their palm-tree spotted landscape. Especially in areas like Orlando, where the curb appeal is crucial for the tourist industry.
It is a mix of all these designs and aesthetics that give Florida it’s distinct, colorful look!
Why are Houses in Florida Often Built with Concrete?
Florida is a region that experiences frequent hurricanes and other extreme weather conditions, so choosing the right building materials for houses is crucial.
Concrete, a popular choice for construction in Florida, offers a range of benefits, including hurricane resistance, energy efficiency, cost-effectiveness, and durability.
Concrete’s robust nature enables it to withstand high winds and flying debris during hurricanes.
They can also be reinforced with steel reinforcing bars, also known as rebar. These are placed inside the concrete forms before the concrete is poured.
The rebar provides additional strength and stiffness to the concrete, making it more resistant to damage from high winds, earthquakes, and other natural disasters.
Concrete houses also allow for installing hurricane-resistant features such as windows and doors that can withstand impact.
Furthermore, concrete is less likely to suffer from excess moisture or impacts like wood or aluminum siding, so it can last longer in stormy, wet climates.
Concrete is an excellent insulator, helping keep homes cooler in the hot Florida climate and reducing energy bills.
Thermal mass is the ability of a material to absorb and store heat, which can help to regulate temperature fluctuations inside the home.
Concrete has a high thermal mass, which means it can absorb heat during the day and release it slowly at night, helping to keep the home cool during hot weather.
Furthermore, concrete walls and floors can be designed with insulation, which helps reduce heat transfer into the home.
This insulation can also help keep the home warmer during cooler months by reducing the heat lost through the walls and floors.
While the initial cost of building a concrete home can be higher than other materials like wood, it can save money in the long run.
Not only is it better for insulation and keeping your house safe from damage, termites, rot, and fire, but it can also require fewer maintenance costs and repairs.
While concrete homes may have a higher upfront cost than other building materials, they can be more cost-effective over the long term due to their durability and energy efficiency.
For homeowners in Florida, where extreme weather conditions can cause significant damage to homes, investing in a concrete home can be a smart financial decision.
Concrete is a more robust building material than wood, stone, and stucco.
Concrete is considered a durable building material because it has a high compressive strength, which means it can withstand heavy loads without cracking or breaking. It is also resistant to fire, water damage, and pests.
In contrast, wood is susceptible to decay, insect damage, and fire. Stone and stucco are prone to cracking and weathering over time.
Even though the interior walls and some structures are still made of wood and drywall, using concrete on the exterior is still a popular choice.
Why are Houses in Florida Often Built with Wood?
Wood is more susceptible to pests and fire but is prettier, looks more natural, and gives your house a traditional, timeless look.
Many Florida houses still use wood on the exterior, though it is more common to use wood for interior framing and structure.
Here are a few reasons why houses are built with wood in Florida:
Wood is a naturally beautiful material that can enhance the aesthetic appeal of a home.
It’s versatile and can be used to create various architectural styles, from traditional to contemporary.
Many homeowners in Florida appreciate the warm and natural look of wood, which can give a house a cozy and inviting feel.
Availability & Cost
As a widely available material, wood is a convenient building material.
In addition, wood is generally less expensive than other construction materials, such as concrete or steel.
Moreover, wood is easy to work with and requires fewer specialized tools, so you don’t have to pay extra to work with concrete, steel, or stone.
One of the primary advantages of wood is that it is a renewable resource, which means it can be replenished.
Unlike other building materials that may deplete finite resources, wood can be used indefinitely without harming the environment – provided businesses use sustainable harvesting and foresting practices.
Additionally, wood is a versatile material that can be minimally processed in log home buildings or highly engineered in large production facilities, allowing for a wide range of applications.
Builders can reduce waste and promote sustainability by using efficient, durable, and useful wood products.
Other Materials used in Florida Houses
Aside from wood and concrete, Florida houses tend to use other materials to build with.
These materials are mostly used for keeping out the heat or for their aesthetic appeal.
Stone houses are still popular in Florida because they keep out the heat.
For example, many stone houses are made of limestone, granite, or slate. These stones can keep heat out just as effectively as concrete.
You would still need to use support beams and insulation in many scenarios on the home’s interior to support this, but houses in hot climates tend to use stone, brick, adobe, and concrete to keep the heat out.
The problem with natural stone is that it is more expensive than concrete and other building materials. Most natural stone is sold at a premium and is not as easy to prepare and transport as concrete.
Therefore, most builders choose to go with concrete or wood, which are the cheaper routes.
Probably the most popular style used in Florida houses, stucco is a great material to use on your home.
Stucco is a building material made from a cement mixture of lime, sand, and water. It is used as an outer coat plastered onto homes and commercial businesses.
There are two different types of stucco siding for your home: traditional and artificial.
Traditional is made from that real cement mixture, while synthetic stucco is made from acrylic resin and glue-like polymers.
Synthetic is obviously cheaper, but traditional is more likely to be fire-resistant. Traditional also looks better and is less likely to sustain water damage.
Apart from its fire resistance, stucco is also widely chosen for its aesthetic appeal. From soft blues and pinks to earthy greens and browns, stucco gives your house a natural, terracotta-style look.
It also gives it that Spanish and South American style, which is very popular in Miami and many parts of Florida.
Ultimately, the choice between concrete and wood comes down to balancing cost, durability, sustainability, and aesthetic preferences.
Designers and builders must carefully evaluate these factors to determine the most suitable material for their projects.
Thus, staying informed and considering all available options is important when making material selection decisions.
Overall, carefully considering material selection in Florida housing design is crucial for achieving sustainable, durable, and cost-effective housing solutions.