Diamondhead man: "I feel like a pioneer building this house"

By Al Showers - bio | email

DIAMONDHEAD, MS (WLOX) - When Katrina desecrated Mario Espinosa's South Diamondhead neighborhood, there were no homes left standing.  But he said his new house can withstand a powerful storm like Katrina, and even stronger ones.

"I think concrete is the answer," Espinosa said.  "This product- you're not going to believe it, but it doesn't burn, it doesn't sag, doesn't rot.  Termites cannot eat it.  It's resistant to a category five hurricane, tornadoes and earthquakes.

The contractor, Tony Rogers, said it's the first of its kind in the entire state, made of all concrete from the bottom to the top.  Even the roof of the house will be constructed out of concrete covered panels.

"There are some other products out there that have concrete block walls, or foam concrete but they all have wood trusses," said Rogers.  "This house is totally concrete.  The roof, the floors, everything is made with the panels."

The panels are made of foam and metal wire at ICT, a company located in the Long Beach Industrial Park.  They are assembled and covered with concrete on site.

Rogers said the concrete panels can withstand 240 mile per-hour winds, and meets FEMA's F-5 Tornado Strong Room Shelter guidelines.  Building with this concrete technology cost about 10 to 12 percent more than traditional wood construction, but the builder said in the end, it pays for itself.

"You get 80 percent off your wind pool and 80 percent off your homeowners," Rogers said.  "If you have a storm, usually you have to tear out
sheet rock you've got to pull out insulation.  Man, you go in there and pressure wash it and move back in."

"I'm excited about it," Espinosa said.  "I feel like I'm a pioneer building this house."

Rogers said Espinosa should be able to move in in 4 or 5 months.

©2009 WLOX. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.