What Cladding is Best for Coastal Homes

Posted by Penelope Barker and Jody Calvert on Dec 03, 2018

What Cladding is Best for Coastal Homes?


You've bought your dream section by the sea. The views are to die for and the golden sands of an  idyllic beach are just a short stroll away. Now you are eagerly approaching the design and build of your beach house and stocking up on new beach towels, sun hats and sunscreen. Congratulations!


There is one big consideration when choosing materials for your beautiful new house by the ocean however – salt. Salt suspended in water is highly reactive because it carries an electrical charge. It can quickly penetrate a variety of materials and stay put. That’s bad news for building materials, because salt can be extremely corrosive, and corrosion is something you don’t want happening to the structural components of your fabulous new home.


Salt water has infamously corrosive effects on concrete, including foundations, pilings, pavements and structural walls. In addition to eating into the metal reinforcements used inside concrete architecture, it can penetrate concrete and slowly break it down, leading to weakness and instability that may emerge years later. Likewise with bricks, mortar, and plaster.  


Having said that, almost any building material can be used for coastal homes as long as it's correctly treated and maintained. The design of your home can also help to minimise salt damage. For example,  using horizontal profiles for weatherboards and powder-coated steel cladding allows salt to build-up in the little 'shelves'. Placing these materials vertically will allow salt to be washed off readily.


And speaking of washing, you will need to wash down the external walls and windows of your new coastal home on a regular basis to prevent salt build-up. Installing an outdoor tap plumbed to hot water will do this most effectively. Even if you are quite aways back from the ocean you will find that your windows will frost up with salt, especially after a storm, so make sure all windows are readily accessible for cleaning. Placing your home cantilevered over a cliff facing the ocean will ensure that your amazing views will be quickly obscured by salt encrustation unless you can safely and easily access them when they need a  clean.


Even inside, you need to choose materials with care. The wrong metal cupboard handles in the bathroom or kitchen, for example, will soon become spotted with rust. Check that any metal fittings and fixtures for your new home are fully rust-resistant before ordering them.


At Location Homes, our in-house designers and building experts can advise you on all best materials to use, the best finishes to prevent salt damage and design details to employ to ensure that your dream affordable luxury home by the sea stays looking beautiful for years to come with minimal maintenance required to prevent salt damage.  


Topics: Coastal Cladding


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