5 key considerations when designing a coastal home
The alluring pull of sun, sand and surf means that around 80% of Australians are now living on the coast. But living in a beautiful coastal location can mean that your home has to deal with some extreme conditions. Here’s 5 things you need to consider when designing your home.
With the many benefits that living by the sea brings – incredible views, clean air, and indoor/outdoor living, to name a few – there are a number of challenges that come with beachside dwellings. So, if you’re designing a coastal home, or updating a current one, follow our tips to ensure it can endure the salty environs.
Take wind load into account
All external surfaces including walls, windows, doors, and roofing can take a real hammering by the wind, and the force that the wind applies to the surface of the building is also known as wind load. Therefore, it’s important when planning your home to closely consider your site location, the surrounding landscape, and how to best utilise them effectively.
Naturally formed wind breaks such as other buildings or large trees could offer protection, as can the angling of the home to deflect the brunt of the wind. Installing durable cladding for the aspect most affected is also a good idea. When choosing a material, you should consider both its aesthetic character and ability to withstand the corrosive environment of the salt air. Concrete, timber and Colorbond are all good options depending on your budget and style.
Minimise potential water damage
It may be tempting to build a home as close to the ocean as possible, but it could also pose great hazards to your building structure. To minimise this, you should consider longer overhangs on your roof and fewer windows facing strong sea winds.
Many coastal properties also fall into flood zones, especially if you’re particularly close to the shoreline, with the main dangers coming from tides, waves, and storm surges.
When building in a flood or storm tide-prone area, you should build habitable floor levels as high as possible from the ground, situate air conditioning and hot water systems up high to prevent damage in case of flooding, and choose tiles over carpet – tiles are water-resistant, durable, and much easier to clean in the event of a flood.
Salt is one of the most destructive natural elements when building by the sea. Since the salt in the drops does not dissolve, it starts to build on the nearest surface, which could very well be the surfaces on your home including roofs, window frames, balustrades, and even internal structures.
The higher levels of salt and moisture will impact any metal components of your home, so consider how you might use stainless steel in your internal fixtures and fittings and make sure to consider the grade and quality used. The most common grade of stainless steel, 304, is generally used on normal house fixtures. However, the seawater and salt in the air could get under the coating and cause corrosion, dramatically impacting both the lifespan and the functional properties of the steel.
At Phoenix our Vivid Slimline SS collection is particularly suited to coastal kitchens, laundries, and bathrooms. The range went through a rigorous testing and manufacturing process, with the research and design team conducting rust testing on various grades of stainless steel, before deciding to proceed with the higher marine grade 316 and providing a lifetime warranty on the finish. Products in this collection are suitable for both indoor and outdoor use.
Our drains are also manufactured using premium marine grade stainless steel and are designed to stand the test of time.
Even if you take all possible precautions to protect your coastal home, regular maintenance is still needed. Make sure to wipe down all metal surfaces regularly to prevent them from building up sand and salt, wash exterior walls, doors, and windows every six months or so to avoid more costly repairs in the future.