7 Things to Consider When Building a Beach Home
For many people, a house on a beautiful beach is the dream. Giving up the rat race to spend time breezing down to the beach whenever you want, enjoying the sun and the water, can be close to paradise. If you get to build your beach house, that’s even better. You not only get to live in paradise, but you also get to design what paradise looks like.
The dream is limited by a few real world concerns, however. Choosing a good location can avoid many problems down the road. Building some environmentally friendly options into your home can be expensive up front, but save you money down the road. Keep these things in mind to make sure you can enjoy your beach house stress-free and comfortable.
You’re building a house on the beach, which may seem like the most important aspect of the house’s location. There are many details involved with precisely where to build your home that can have a big impact on future safety and comfort.
Perhaps the biggest consideration is a secure foundation and erosion issues. The combination of loose earth that tends to be found under beach sand and water-driven erosion means that beachfront properties pretty commonly suffer from shifting or sinking foundations and other issues. A land engineer and surveyor should be consulted when choosing a building property.
The area in which you build is also something to think about, as it will determine who your neighbors are, as well as the ease of access to things like restaurants, stores, and other things.
You should also keep in mind things like view, water access, and privacy. These are all considerations that can have a big impact on your satisfaction with the property.
Obviously you want to build your house somewhere with a record of sunny, mild days. Weather can impact your beach house experience in a few ways beyond the number of good tanning days. Many places with good beaches are also in areas that are popular with hurricanes and tropical storms. Looking over the recent storm history can be a guide to weather in your area.
Some places may be more protected than others. Building on a sheltered bay is more likely to be protected from bad weather than building looking out over the ocean.
Bad storms can also lead to floods, and beach houses tend to be in low lying areas that are vulnerable to floods. This is another aspect where a surveyor can help you assess the dangers.
You don’t build on the beach so you can spend all your time indoors watching television. The beach is outdoors, and you probably intend to spend a lot of time out there, if not on the beach, then on your porch and patio.
You’ll want to keep that in mind when building your beach home, and plan some ways to make that more convenient and with things to keep you occupied. A patio is necessary, but you might consider upgrading that to a porch, or even a screened in porch. At some point, you’re going to want to get in out of the sun, and a porch lets you do that while still enjoying the outdoor breeze.
A grill can be a great addition, or even a whole outdoor kitchen, with a wet bar and fridge. This space allows you to cook outside in the evening when it’s nice and cool. It also means you don’t have to run inside to grab a cold beer or soda.
If you have kids, a few additions can be made to make life a lot easier. Outdoor showers keep beach sand outside rather than trailing it inside. A volleyball net or other games can make your house a popular place to hang out.
Materials and Construction
Building on the water can be hard on construction. Salt water, in particular, causes rust that can weaken a structure. It can also sneak inside the house, making the inside humid and hot. Flashing is the addition of metal or other impermeable materials that make joint seams waterproof. It’s inexpensive and can make a huge difference in terms of comfort.
Metal is, of course, a durable, strong material, but it can be vulnerable to coastal air. Red Cedar is a traditional building material because it’s tough, water resistant, and looks nice. Concrete is another nice choice, as it is durable, and can be fairly attractive. It is also increasingly popular with homebuilders.
In any case, while comfort and attractiveness are important considerations, durability is also important to keep in mind.
Planning for the future is important when building a house, as you may end up owning that property for decades to come. Maintenance is a major consideration when it comes to beach homes, and may end up being one of the biggest expenses over time.
Wood is durable and pretty. Using treated wood is required in most places, but should be used in any case to keep it from deteriorating. Metal is a strong material that can be made to do just about anything, but it has to be protected from water, and even a small gap can cause issues. Grills and outdoor equipment should also be maintained to extend their lives.
Indoors, sand is a big maintenance issue. It can be hard on upholstery and frames, as can salt. Keeping that stuff out as much as you can will keep your furnishings and furniture in good shape for as long as possible.
Environmentally friendly construction can be a great idea. It might be a little more expensive up front, but it will ultimately save you money. Solar panels are a great example of this. While they can cost thousands of dollars when you’re building, they can save you even more on energy costs. In areas that get lots of sun, such as beaches, you can even end up selling electricity back and making money.
Composting can be a better way of dealing with kitchen waste, and allows you to plant a garden that can provide fresh vegetables. Designing a place for compost can help keep the mess and smell down. Water management and reducing run-off will also help keep your beach beautiful and clean.
This could be your dream retirement home, and you’ve decided that you’re going to keep it forever. Many beachfront homes, though, are meant to be enjoyed for a while and then be sold, so build and maintain as an investment. Keep this in mind when you’re designing and building your home, as it can influence your decisions. Some things might appeal to everyone, and others are going to be just for you.
Being able to build your beach dream house is fantastic, and something few people get to do. However, you can’t quite escape practical considerations, each of which can impact how happy you are with the finished product. Making good decisions can ensure you can enjoy your dream.