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Castleblock Package Home
Questions and Answers

Who is Castleblock? Castleblock is a building material distributor based in Hilo, Hawaii and serving the entire state of Hawaii. We consider ourselves and 'alternative' company offering alternative materials. This also means we generally do things somewhat differently than 'mainstream' business. We are devoted to bringing the best new building technology to everyone in Hawaii, including you.

Castleblock has a staff of 16 people including architects, engineers, construction foremen and administrative personnel. We have a 30 year background in residential construction and a history of working hard for our clients. We used to build with wood. Now, after seeing the effects of hurricanes, fire storms, earthquakes and termites we will never build with wood again. Besides, the forests are becoming depleted, the price of lumber goes up and the quality of lumber goes down. Do you really expect lumber to get cheaper and better in the future? I didn't think so. The good news is that there are now excellent alternatives.

It is time for Hawaii to benefit from the great new building materials available today. It is our goal to raise the standard of affordable housing in these islands. It's time.

Why is a Castleblock home better? Basically this will come down to your definition of value. This doesn't always mean what's cheapest, and the best 'value' isn't always the one that's most expensive. We define value as getting the maximum return for your dollar. Bang for the buck. And in that regard we believe Castleblock homes cannot be surpassed for a number of reasons.

  1. Building Codes. Building codes are, and always have been, the lowest standard of construction allowed by law. Castleblock homes, by virtue of their material and design, exceed the code in many important areas...and not just by a little, by a lot.
  2. Termite Resistance. Since the EPA banned most effective chemical weapons in the war against termite destruction homeowners have been fighting a costly and generally losing battle against termites. This has had a high and ongoing cost in termite treatments and repairs. Castleblock believes the best way to deter termites is to not offer them your home as food. We make zero structural use of wood in our homes. You should not face county or lender requirements for termite treatments and you will not have structural repair costs relating to termites.
  3. Long Term Equity. Your home will likely be your largest single investment. For that investment to maintain and gain over the years your home must be structurally sound throughout your lifetime. For many of us our secure retirement may depend on the value of our home in our later years...this is an asset you can borrow against, sell or leave to your children. Too many homeowners in Hawaii are left, after a lifetime of making payments, with a home which needs to be torn down and has no value left, often due to termite damage alone.
  4. Fire Resistance. Building codes do not, except for attached garages, require any fire resistance in the building at all. We have worked with clients rebuilding from fire storms in California and understand the impact of losing everything. Any home, even a Castleblock home, can have a fire. Furniture, carpets and curtains can burn. But our exterior walls, which are insulated panels with concrete facings, resist fire. Interior walls utilize light gage steel framing and drywall. We resist fire primarily by not providing firewood and feeding the fire...kind of like not feeding termites. The best resistance is to not use materials which lend themselves to problems.
  5. Hurricane Resistance. The aftermath of hurricanes often shows that the only thing left is the concrete...and piles of debris, wooden structures are blown apart. Building codes for wind loads are 80 mph. Gee, a hurricane isn't a hurricane until it hits 75 mph. So the code is designed to address a minimum scale hurricane.
  6. Insurance Costs. Home mortgages generally require Homeowners Insurance. Because of our materials and standards our clientele generally find they get an reduction in insurance costs of 10% to 40% versus wood frame construction. The reason? Fire and wind resistance.

What's the big deal about panel (SIP) construction? Environmental sciences, over the past 25 years, have brought us improved ways of building. Castleblock homes employ an SIP system called ProTEC. SIP stands for Structural Insulated Panel. In this system building panels are made up of a combination of foam insulation pre laminated with cement board on both sides. The panels contain slots on all sides for the insertion of the steel framing members. All steel framing and screws are included. The labor and material that goes into several building features is accomplished in one pass. That is efficient.

Quality control and labor costs offer big benefits. Our structural panels are manufactured under strict quality control so every panel is factory perfect and free from defect. Corners are precut in the factory for perfect angle and alignment. When panels are installed you are accomplishing several labor functions in one motion: framing, insulation and sheathing inside and out. Also, unlike wood frame where most nails are hidden and hard to inspect, our panels are attached with high grade screws (supplied) which are placed in the surfaces assuring simple inspection. This is an honest system of construction that is designed to defeat bad workmanship in the field.

Who can build my home? If you can build a good house by any other method you can surely build a good SIP home. If you can't... then you can't. Building any type home involves a lot of work and material. It is complicated and demanding. It can be dangerous. General Contractors work hard to make a living and have to master a variety of skills to be successful. A Castleblock home is no more complicated to build than any other, probably less so. Hard work, skill and attention to detail are always required for a nicely finished home. We have worked successfully with a number of owner/builders. We have had clients up to 75 years old build their own homes....but we've also seen that this can take longer and it not as easy as some people might think. For best results a professional general contractor is recommended.

It is important to our company that your project be successful. If you don't succeed how can we? To support your project we can refer licensed contractors and our experienced staff can provide onsite training for contractors or owner/builders.

I need something different. Are other plans available? Our current home designs will not meet the needs of everyone. We know that. You may have your own ideas about what you want to build. Our staff can work with you to develop a custom plan for your site. This would cost extra but we try to keep these expenses as low as possible. One of the ways we contain costs on our home packages is by spreading the design, estimating and engineering costs over a number of homes. But we are willing and able to work with you to develop your personal plan.

What's included or not included in Castleblock packages? With this link is an page describing what is or is not included in the various packages. In all our packages we leave the supply of electrical and plumbing materials to the licensed electricians and plumbers. It's a simpler supply issue to let these skilled trades do their work in their normal manner. We do not supply any materials for site preparation - sand, stone or gravel. We do not supply labor except as training. We are not contractors.

'Environmentally friendly', what does it mean for me? When you build a home with these materials you are reducing the demand for trees. A single wood frame home can consume 3 acres of forest. By building a house which can last over 3 times longer than wood frame you can actually preserve 3 times that amount of forest acreage. That's nine acres. We need forests to maintain the health of our atmosphere. You can make a positive contribution to your planet and benefit from a superior home. Reducing demands on the forest and providing your family with a superior home for generations. Win. Win. Win.

Also, in Hawaii the county's generally require chemical treatment of the building site for termites. Because a Castleblock home uses no structural wood this requirement is waived. That saves money and puts less poison in the ground.

What will it cost to build my house? More? Less? Beyond the Castleblock House Package there will be costs of site preparation, septic system, water and utility connections, driveway, carport or outbuildings and construction labor. The cost to build a home needs to be determined early on. An owner/builder will have different costs than a general contractor. Not always lower. Time costs money and getting the home built in a timely manner will keep costs down. A contractor knows this and will want to get the home completed as quickly as possible. It is always advisable to get more than one bid on construction. Three bids are recommended. Contractors who have not used our materials before should call us to schedule training and estimating instruction. If you know a reputable contractor who needs to understand our house construction methods better, then have him contact our office. We will be scheduling training sessions in each area. There are contractors interested in building your home. We also have skilled trainers on staff to make sure that everything goes well.

Over the past several years our best cost comparisons had us at about 3% higher than conventional wood frame. Since then the price of lumber has continued to rise. It is our position that our homes are now generally the same cost, on a per square foot basis, as good quality wood frame construction. But with a longer list of very positive attributes. Can a cheaper house be built? Yes, of course. There is always something cheaper available. Not hard to find cheaper. But is it a better value? Today? 25+ years from now?


Click on a House Package below, for more information:

Makawao - 1024 sf
1024 sf
Hokulea - 1398 sf
1398 sf
Kanahau - 1246 sf
1246 sf
Kukui - 676 sf
676 sf


Phone, fax or e-mail for pricing information.

[ Home | Company Information | Products | Services | FAQ | Contact Castleblock ]

Castleblock can be reached at 1-800-672-7872