Real Estate

Protecting your Oceanfront Home

Meads Bay Beach House. Photo by Rene Guinto
Meads Bay Beach House. Photo by Rene Guinto

A home by the shore brings rest; the sea is a place of relaxation and escape. Nowhere do oceanfront homes have the same allure as in Anguilla.

But the ocean is also a force of nature, and a home that would otherwise look new can be weathered by the salt and wind in just a few years. To keep your investment looking pristine, follow the common-sense steps our experts recommend.

1.Protect against storms.
Waterfront dwellers are exposed to the risks of natural disasters such as hurricanes and flooding. When these water-related disasters hit, they can be devastating. Prepare your home before you leave: board up doors and windows, secure or move all yard objects indoors, and turn off all utilities.
The temptation is always to use glass panels and facades to maximize light and view. Either ensure that you have storm shutters (of any type: roll-up, accordion, etc.) or that the glass can be boarded up. Also, consider impact-resistant doors and windows: they are expensive, but most can resist winds up to 150mph.

2.Inspect monthly.
Inspect the exterior for damage regularly. Salty air, ocean spray and relentless sunshine can damage most materials, and the signs are not obvious at first. If you catch problems early, you will prevent further deterioration and avoid needless expenses.

3.Build with the right materials.
Metals: Metal stressed by sea air can corrode far more quickly than an inland home. Stainless steel is suggested, but it is expensive. Galvanized steel works well, too. Beware of building with too much wood, as termites can be more prevalent around seaside houses.

Shinges: Wind can be powerful, even on clear days. Install wind-resistant shingles, and you won’t have to replace them later.

Tiles: Install wear-resistant tiles. Rustic limestone tiles will endure the scratching of sand and other small particles that invariably find themselves indoors.

4.Clean and wash often.
Airborne salt damage creates an unusually short maintenance cycle on the exterior of a beach house. Salt-laden mist blown in off the ocean creates a layer of salt on nearby surfaces: this process is known as ‘ocean breeze corrosion’. Salt crystals form, eventually leaving visible salt deposits. These deposits damage patio furniture, home exteriors, cars etc. Ocean breezes can also carry dirt particles that stain the home’s exterior if left over time. Washing the outside of your home weekly or at least monthly will reduce staining.

5. Protect your air conditioning system.
Salt air exposure corrodes outside condenser coils, turning them into powder. Since replacement ofcondensers can easily destroy a budget, homeowners and business owners need to understand corrosion and take action before it is too late.Apply a coating to protect the coils. It should last a year or more.

6.Open the windows.
Moisture content in the air can cause internal damage and create an environment in which mold is more likely to grow. Make sure to keep your home well ventilated – open the windows and let those breezes roll through! Keep your home clean, and do not leave standing water or leaks unattended.

7.Get insurance.
Even if you do everything you can to protect your home, a force majeure (act of God) can happen. In such cases, all you can do is ensure that you have enough coverage to pay for any damages you might sustain due to wind or water. Consider insuring any valuables kept inside as well.

Owning a seaside home can be expensive, but proper, routine maintenance cuts back those costs. An oceanfront home is a little more work, but when your feet are in the sand and your family is playing in the surf, the extra mile will feel well worth it!

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