One of the most important considerations for coastal homes is the selection of building materials. The durability of a coastal home relies on the type of materials used to construct it. Along with the proper construction methods, using the correct materials will help increase the homes resistance to flood & wind damage, driving rain, moisture, corrosion and decay. Coastal Materials must be:
Flooding accounts for a large percentage of the damage caused by a coastal storm. Building materials exposed to flooding must be resilient enough to sustain a certain amount of water exposure in order to avoid the need for complete replacement after the flood. FEMA defines a flood-resistant material as any building material capable of withstanding direct and prolonged contact (i.e., at least 72 hours) with floodwaters without sustaining significant damage (i.e., requires more than cosmetic repair).
Homes in many coastal areas are exposed to winds in excess of 90 mph and require building materials (e.g., roof shingles, siding, windows, doors, fasteners, and framing members) that are designed for use in high- wind areas.
With a properly designed and installed moisture barrier system previously discussed, moisture resistant materials can greatly reduce maintenance and extend the life of a coastal home. Below are some of the things we do for our coastal homes:
- Preservative-treated wood (ACQ) for all exposed wood and any wood in direct contact with concrete.
- Proper detailing of wood joints and construction to eliminate standing water and reduce moisture absorption by the wood (e.g. avoiding exposure of end grain cuts, which absorb moisture up to 30 times faster than the sides).
- Use of PVC for all exterior trim, wind resistant siding and sill pans for all windows and doors.
- Field-treat with a protective coating all cuts and drill holes that offer paths for moisture to enter any structural lumber including piles.
- Use of high strength fiber reinforced concrete for structural uses and control cracks with welded wire fabric.
- Use of “peel-n-stick” flashing products around all penetrations and all door and windows as well as extensive use of “Ice-n-water” shield on the roof.
Corrosion & Decay Resistant
Coastal environments are conducive to metal corrosion and moisture- and termite-related decay of other building materials. Metal corrosion is most pronounced on coastal homes, but moisture and termite related decay are prevalent throughout coastal areas.
Most jurisdictions require metal building hardware to be hot- dipped galvanized or stainless steel. Some local codes require protective coatings that are thicker than “off-the-shelf” products typically have. For example, a G90 zinc coating (0.75 mil on each face) may be required, which is thicker than the common G60 (0.5 mil on each face) coating. We recommend using stainless steel fasteners and hardware to our coastal clients.
Contact us today to learn how we can make your next waterfront project a success.