Hurricane-Proof Home Building in the Florida Keys

Monroe County Florida Emblem

Topsider Homes have been built throughout the Florida Keys, from Key Largo to Key West, since the late-1960s. Individual Topsider houses and resort projects featuring pedestal homes and piling (stilt) homes are scattered throughout the Upper and Lower Keys. Our quality hurricane prefab panelized homes have withstood many major storms in the Keys and elsewhere along the Gulf Coast, including direct hits from Hurricanes Irnma, Irene and Andrew.

Obtaining building permits in the Florida Keys can be an arduous and lengthy process, particularly for new construction on vacant lots. On such lots, Monroe County has a Rate of Growth Ordinance commonly referred to as ROGO which is a point allocation system leading to permission to build once enough points have accumulated. Points are awarded based on a variety of criteria, ranging from age of the submission to the environmental impact of the proposed new house plan. Click HERE for more information about ROGO.

Florida Keys pedestal beach home Topsider

Topsider's unique pedestal houses are perfect for beach home building in the Florida Keys. Pedestal houses offer an attractive alternative to piling and stilt house construction.

Florida Keys hurricane proof houses Topsider

This Florida Keys resort project features multiple piling (or stilt) houses. These hurricane-proof prefabricated two-story beach houses have sustained many major hurricanes and tropical storms.

The current trend in the Keys is to buy and tear down old houses and replace them with new ones. In most cases, such rebuilds are ROGO-exempt, so the permitting process takes months rather than years. Nonetheless, acquiring necessary approvals still requires meticulous technical work relating to the building site and the house plan design itself. Topsider’s in-house design and technical staffs, together with our consulting engineer relationships in Florida, work with Monroe County building authorities regularly and are very familiar with the various steps necessary for approvals – as are the local Keys builders we refer clients to for building their new Topsider Homes.

Florida Keys two-story stilt home Topsider

This high-quality prefab hurricane-proof Topsider piling (or stilt) home addition built in the Florida Keys provides panoramic seascape views on two levels.

Most new homes built in the Florida Keys must be elevated due to potential tidal or storm surge. Elevated houses are built on stilts, pilings, or on Topsider’s unique pedestal house foundation.  Florida Keys houses must be engineered to withstand hurricane-force winds up to 180 mph. Windows are required to be high design-pressure and have high-impact glass to protect against wind and wind-born debris. Click HERE to view a map of the current windloading requirements in Florida. Additionally, Topsider Homes specifies its Florida Keys’ homes with 2×6 treated lumber framing, galvanized and stainless steel fasteners and steel couplings, low-maintenance HardieBoard™ or LP SmartSide® siding, composite decking and stainless-steel cable railings. These specifications help make Topsider’s prefab homes resistant to the salt air and tropical beach environment.

Home Building in the Virgin Islands

Topsider Homes has been building houses in the US Virgin Islands and the British Virgin Islands since the early 1970s. Our custom designed homes range from small cottages built slab-on-grade to large luxury two-story floor plans. And our unique homes can be found throughout the BVI and USVI on Tortola, St. John, St. Thomas, St. Croix and elsewhere in the Virgin Islands.
Many Topsider homes there took direct hits from category 5 hurricane Irma and have weathered the storm.

Two-Story Topsider Home Built On St.John Virgin Islands

This two-story luxurious hurricane-resistant Topsider Home was built into the hillside on St. John, US Virgin Islands, overlooking the ocean. The house was built on top of a large cistern for water-catchment.

Topsider Homes Panoramic Virgin Islands Ocean View

An extraordinary panoramic view of the bay below can be seen from this Topsider Home’s floor-to-ceiling folding glass walls and outside decks and patios. Topsider’s multi-sided designs allow expansive views from every room.

With several hundred house plan designs online, it is easy to view the many building options available with Topsider Homes. We even offer No-Obligation Free Cost Estimates for our online house plans so that prospective clients have a good starting point from which to work for design and budgetary considerations.

Topsider Homes Pre-Packaged Building Components

Prepackaged treated lumber walls and structural components with galvanized steel couplings staged and ready for shipment. Topsider's high-quality building components are made to the highest quality standards and are easily and quickly assembled on site.

All Topsider Homes built in the Virgin Islands are engineered to be earthquake– and hurricane-resistant, and are specified to be low-maintenance and energy-efficient. These specifications include high impact glass windows, high windloading structural characteristics, treated lumber, galvanized and stainless steel fasteners and exposed steel couplings, composite decking, wind-rated roofing materials, exteriors of HardieBoard, LP SmartSide, stucco and many other options.


Each Topsider Home is designed and prefabricated to the highest quality standards, and then shipped in precision component (or kit house) form for local home builders (who we recruit and pre-screen for clients) to assemble and finish. Because of the simplicity of Topsider’s unique prefab Post & Beam timber frame building system, house construction is simpler and faster than “stick built” construction methods — whether built on stilts (or pilings), pedestals or slabs.

Topsider Double Pedestal House Virgin Islands

This secluded double pedestal house is shown while under construction on St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands. It is elevated so that the living level will have a magnificent ocean view. Pedestal houses are ideal for severely sloping terrain and do not require extensive excavation and site work.

Topsider Three-Story House Water Island VI

The prefab timber frame Post & Beam structural system of this home built in the Virgin Islands was designed with half of the lower level used as a concrete cistern for water-catchment. Elevated above a hill top on Water Island, this multi-story home will have 360 degree seascape views.

Because so much of the Virgin Islands’ terrain is severely sloping land with magnificent ocean views, Topsider’s pedestal homes, stilt (or piling) homes, or two-story daylight basement house plan ideas can be perfect. We specialize in difficult building site planning and execution, and are experts in working with, not against, the natural landscape for positioning and designing homes with breath-taking panoramic views. We also speak with experience on cistern design issues, acquiring building permits and technical assistance from site planning to house construction completion.

Topsider Homes’ Luxury Timber Frame Lake House Plan Ideas

Luxury is not defined by size. Topsider has many luxurious small house plans as well as large luxury home design ideas perfect for lake houses or any coastal location. Topsider’s Post & Beam timber frame homes are only limited in design and luxury by our clients’ imaginations. Each house we build is created around clients’ needs and carefully engineered to meet the demands of their building sites and local building codes.

Spectacular luxury timber frame lake house in Michigan

This luxury timber frame lake house was built on a small island in Michigan overlooking the Canadian border. It’s an excellent example of Topsiders Homes’ custom house plan design flexibility.

Luxurious open-style floor plan lake house with panoramic views

The main living space has an open-style floor plan and breath-taking panoramic views. Topsider Homes’ unique Post & Beam timber frame building system makes spectacular lake houses like this possible.

Pedestal lake house built in North Carolina

Built on a very steep lot in North Carolina, this unique Topsider Homes’ pedestal lake house design features abundant decking for outdoor living and great views of the lake and surrounding area.

Once designed each Topsider timber frame house is carefully prefabricated to the highest quality standards in our modern facilities in Clemmons, North Carolina, for shipments to building sites worldwide where local builders easily and efficiently assemble and finish them.

With beautiful exposed beam and vaulted ceilings throughout and floor-to-ceiling panoramic window views, Topsider’s unique Post & Beam building system allows its timber frame homes great versatility to exploit the beauty of the natural environment whether a lakeside or coastal location.

Topsider offers hundreds of online house plan ideas, including lake house plans, hurricane house plans and small and large luxury home plans ideal for any setting, environment or budget.

Since 1968 Topsider lake houses and coastal homes have been built extensively throughout the U.S., from Michigan and Minnesota to California and Florida.