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Maui Homes vs Mainland Homes

For the most part, the recent custom and tract homes built on Maui are similar in construction methods to the homes you would find anywhere on the U.S. mainland, although there are some slight differences. 

A few examples:

You will have a difficult time finding a home with a heating system on most parts of the island since the temperatures rarely drop low enough to even think about putting on a sweater. 

Up until the late 1960's and early 1970's single wall construction was the method of choice for homes in Hawaii.  Single wall construction consists of exterior walls that are built of redwood 2 x 6 and 8 tongue and groove planks that are butted up edge to edge vertically to construct the walls.  These planks serve as both the exterior and interior surfaces of the home.  The walls have no insulation and the electrical wiring is run on the surface of the walls behind wood trim.  The biggest draw back with this style of home is the lack of wind resistive construction techniques that make it vulnerable to damage during extreme high wind events (hurricanes).  There are varying degrees of upgrades that can be performed to this type of structure that significantly increase the ability to withstand extreme high winds.  This web site details the various upgrades that can be performed.  


Double wall construction is the most common method used today.  It consists of 2x4 treated wood or metal studs with drywall on the inside and siding or stucco on the outside.  Most of the homes built today have insulation in the walls and ceilings and the walls are strapped or anchor bolted to the foundations.  Due to upgrades in the building codes after Hurricanes Iwa (1982) and Iniki (1992), homes built in the 1990's to present incorporate better wind resistive construction techniques. 

Another construction technique that is common on island, is the hollow tile home (cinder block).  These homes have the advantage of staying cooler during the day and the exteriors can have a stucco exterior for a more finished look.  These are typically very solid homes, although depending on the age of the home some wind resistive construction upgrades may be needed. 

Termites are common here in Hawai'i and homeowners are always recommended to keep an eye out for any termite activity around their homes.  Due to the high probability of termite activity in homes in Hawaii most of the wood currently used to build homes is treated with borate that inhibits termite activity.  This wood is called Hi-Bor and offers protection against termites, fungus and wood boring bugs. A home inspection is not a termite inspection and it is always recommended that you obtain a termite inspection before you purchase a home.  The College of Tropical Agriculture & Human Resources, University of Hawaii at Manoa, has an informative, free publication that can be downloaded from their website: