Better by the beach: Things to consider when building by the water / by Mark Schmidt

We can all agree that life is better on the water, especially if you're talking about building a custom home by the beach. But, as you might guess, building a sound home closer to the damp, salty elements can be a bit more of a challenge if you don't know what you're getting into. Below are just a few things to consider when building by the water.

Foundation. It's the part of a home that we tend to overlook when we're living in it, but the foundation is really a VIP (very important piece) of every home, especially when we're talking about a home close to the water. Since the chances of erosion, flooding and structural damage are far greater in flood zones by the ocean, FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) and CAM (Coastal Area Management) have quite a bit to say about what and how things go with the foundation. Basically, you'll want to be sure your home is elevated high enough to avoid flooding. This usually means you'll need to give your beach house a lift, and by that we mean put it on pilings. Interested in reading further? See what FEMA has to say here.

Roof. We all need a roof over our heads, but what is the best route to a sturdy roof? Shingles are the cheaper material if you're looking to save a penny, but you'll need to consider the slope of your roof. Shingles shouldn't be used if the slope is less than 3:12 (three inches of all for 12 inches of horizontal distance). Copper roofs, on the other hand, can be quite pricey-that's why we don't see them too much. While they're expensive, they are one of the most durable of all building materials, and copper adds a lot of character to a home once oxidization occurs and turns it a hue of seafoam green. One thing to think about with copper is that it is a soft metal, so it can dent easily during hail storms, which may incur added costs for repair throughout the life of the home. Aluminum is a great way to go green if you're looking to be energy efficient. Because aluminum emits heat and reflects light, it will save you a bit on your energy bill, and it should last between 20 and 40 years. Galvanized steel is another material to consider if you're looking for something that will last you longer than you expect to live there. Galvanized steel is fairly inexpensive, comes in a variety of colors, and can last up to 60 years, so long as a protective zinc coating is applied about every 20 years. If you're looking to keep a classic look, cedar shakes are an option. Quality shakes have a life expectancy between 20-40 years, but they are more likely to have issues like mold and mildew, which can result in rot. 

Windows. Everyone wants to see as much of the ocean as possible, which means lots and lots of windows! Your builder will direct you towards impact-rated windows which are designed to protect you from possible debris, air pressure, and water. 

Siding. Siding is like the skin of your home, so it's important to look at it as both a protector from the elements and something that everyone will see. There are so many options to choose from, so we suggest deciding on the look you're going for first, and then trusting your builder to provide you with the most durable, long-lasting siding options that also meet your aesthetic desires. 

Hoping to spend a warm spring day in your new coastal home with the windows open to take it all in? Click the button below to fill out our brief custom home form, and we'll be in touch soon!