Types of Home Construction & Insurance
One of the primary elements that insurance companies pay attention to is the type of construction you have. It impacts your homeowners insurance premiums. Some homes are easier to insure than others because they are less susceptible to environmental damage.
We will break down the various types of home construction and how they can affect your homeowners insurance policy. Here is everything you need to know.
Young Alfred Home Construction Terminology
Although there are millions of houses in the U.S., both contractors and developers typically use only one of three types of home construction when building a new home: frame, brick, and concrete blocks. When you get an online home insurance quote, you are often asked which construction type you have. Insurers want to know because some construction prevents wind and hail damage more than others.
Knowing what type of construction you have is confusing for some homeowners. So, we put this guide together. Here is an overview of each method and how each impacts your insurance premiums.
Wood Framed Homes
Most frame-built houses use wood for structural support. The frame acts as a skeleton, upon which the skin (drywall) and muscles (insulation) sit. Wood-framed homes are either called stick or timber frame construction, depending on the beams' thickness. As you can imagine, stick-frame units are much thinner and cheaper to build, but they are much less resilient to environmental damage, including high wind, pests like termites, and dry rot.
Steel Framed Homes
Although wood is used most for frame residential construction, some home builders may opt for light gauge steel studs instead. Steel framed units are costly, but they are durable and resistant to virtually everything, from wind to mold to pests. Rather than using nails to secure each piece, contractors use screws to hold the beams in place.
Brick vs. Brick Veneer
There was a time when solid brick homes were popular. However, in the United States, it is rare to see one of these buildings intact. Instead, most brick houses use a veneer, aka brick siding.
However, that is a bit misleading since the surface is real brick, not faux brick. Here is a breakdown of the difference between brick and brick veneer:
- Brick. Since the masonry is load-bearing, a general contractor must build two layers of bricks with headers to secure them together. Typically, builders place headers every six rows or so. These pieces are simply standard bricks turned sideways.
- Brick Veneer. Instead of the masonry holding up the house, the house holds up the masonry. Brick veneer homes typically have a wood frame and drywall with a single brick layer on the outside. These are real bricks, but since they are not load-bearing, they do not require headers. Usually, builders use brick veneers for aesthetic purposes, not functionality. In some instances, contractors may use thin brick to cut down on costs.
Concrete block homes are like solid brick buildings, except that builders use larger concrete block pieces to create the structure. Instead of standard 3 5/8" x 2 1/4" x 8" bricks, contractors use 8" x 8" x 16" concrete blocks, aka concrete masonry unit CMU. However, the construction methods are similar between brick and concrete, with mortar holding each piece in place.
In some cases, block-constructed homes may use poured concrete or steel pieces to reinforce the load-bearing walls since they typically have two or three holes. However, it is not often necessary to fill the blocks.
To make this construction type more visually appealing and energy-efficient, builders will typically cover the concrete with other materials, such as a brick veneer, drywall, or stucco.
How to Tell Which Type of Home Construction You Have
Just looking at your home will not necessarily indicate the type of construction used, so you will have to do a little digging (sometimes literally). Here is a guide of the most common home construction options and how they can affect your standard homeowners insurance.
Brick & Brick Veneer Home Construction
Frame with Less Than 10% Brick Veneer
Brick Veneer vs. Brick House
10-33% Brick Veneer
When it comes to homeowners insurance, brick veneer houses are more flame-resistant since bricks do not catch fire as quickly as wood. So, the more brick on the outside, the more resilient your home, and the lower your home insurance premiums.
Brick Stone Masonry
Regarding homeowners insurance, solid brick masonry can affect your premiums in a few ways. First, since solid brick is stronger than wood, the house is more resilient to environmental damage, including water and pests. Bricks also have better fire resistance. That said, brick buildings have higher replacement costs, so if something does destroy part of the structure, it will be more expensive to rebuild your home.
Wood Frame Home Construction with Aluminum Siding
When it comes to homeowners insurance, providers typically charge the same amount regardless of the material. However, aluminum is a bit more expensive than vinyl, so repair costs are higher when replacing damaged or missing panels, such as from heavy winds.
|Wood Frame Home Construction with Vinyl Siding
Most homes built after the 1970s use vinyl instead of aluminum. As we mentioned, vinyl can fade in the sun over time, and it is more flexible than aluminum.
When looking at the panels from the side, you will notice that vinyl pieces are thicker than aluminum. If all else fails, try the scratch test, and see if any paint comes off. If not, your home uses vinyl.
Stucco Home Construction Over Concrete Block
When it comes to homeowner insurance premiums, having a concrete structure should improve your rates. On average, wood-frame houses cost about $550 more annually in home insurance premiums than block homes since they are more susceptible to fire, pests, and other property damage.
Log Home Construction
Pre-Fabricated/Manufactured Home Construction
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Hope that helps!
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