So you’ve decided to make your dream a reality? There are a few things you need as a coastal homeowner to protect your investment for years to come. My family has owned a couple of homes near the beach over the years, and there are a few nuances I can see we’ve learned the hard way!
In this post, I’ll break down a few essential items to consider for your beach home based on experience.
1. Outdoor furniture resistant to salt, sand, and wind
The sun, humidity, and salty sea air will take a toll on your outdoor furniture at the beach…just give it time. Paint will peel, wood will rot, and furniture will get uncomfortable quickly if you don’t have a plan.
Select rot-resistant wood and furniture
Teak, cypress, wicker, and recycled plastics are all good materials for outdoor use at the coast because they won’t rot or fall apart when exposed to the elements.
I prefer woods like Teak and Cypress even though they cost a bit more, because you don’t have to apply a sealant or paint every year or so to preserve the wood.
Cypress Mission Chair here on Fifthroom.com
This post I wrote on luxury pool furniture explains what makes certain types of outdoor furniture more durable than others; I also cover several of the best furniture sets you can find online (that cost a bit more) but will stand up to the elements.
Your budget, needs, and where you live will ultimately decide which is the best choice for you. Plastic is a low-budget alternative, and prepping wood can help preserve wood from salt air…it’s simply a matter of preference.
2. Galvanized or stainless steel fixtures
Living near the ocean can cause many fixtures to rust and corrode over time, even indoor fixtures. For this reason, always select galvanized metal, stainless steel, or plastic.
Galvanized materials, which are metals coated with zinc, guard against rusting and increase the longevity of your fixtures. Copper or brass are other materials to look for when choosing fixtures for your beach home, as they won’t rust and will last an extremely long time.
You can sometimes find marine-grade fixtures tested to withstand the elements.
In my post 21 routine beach house maintenance checklist items, I cover how you can actually protect any hinges or fixtures from corrosion.
Tip: If you decide to go with brass or copper, choose a “living finish,” or un-lacquered. Lacquered finishes will chip over time, while the former will naturally patina over time, for a beautiful lived-in look.
3. Impact windows and hurricane shutters
Hurricane proofing is crucial for any beach house, including adding impact windows and/or hurricane shutters. You can find hurricane shutters that you can either leave up permanently or install last-minute if needed.
Having durable windows will come at a price as they typically cost about $55 per square foot of glass, including the frame but without installation.
Not only do impact windows protect your home from potential storms, they will also lower insurance rates, improve the energy efficiency of your home, block UV light, and can decrease noise.
4. Water purification system
Even though drinking water must be safe, many states like Florida routinely deal with pretty hard tap water. Even though tap water or well water is treated to make it safe to drink, it often won’t taste as good.
If you’re looking to soften your water to make it taste better, leave fewer hard water spots on your vehicle, and even make your laundry come out a bit better…consider a water purification system.
A whole house water purification system provides clean, filtered water from every water source in your home which has countless benefits and over time will save you money.
Reasons to install a water purification system for coastal homes
- Safer water for drinking and cooking if water treatment facilities go down; some systems can remove heavy metals, chemicals, and bacteria
- Reduced plastic consumption from buying bottled water
- Remove irritants in water that could potentially dry out the skin
- Increases the lifespan of plumbing, appliances, and fixtures by removing heavy metals, chemicals, and unwanted minerals which cause damage and buildup.
Tip: If you have a boat or vehicle, consider a portable water deionizer like this one if you deal with hard water; these units attach to your spigot and include filters you can change out as needed.
5. Coastal landscaping
Did you know if you plant the right type of trees at your coastal home, you can increase the value of your home? Research indicates the right tree types can boost home values by 7 percent or more.
For coastal homes, be sure to pick salt-tolerant coastal plants that can survive seaside terrain and vegetation native to the area. Since palms tolerate wind well palm varieties are typically a safe choice and desirable in many coastal communities. Avacado, orange, and other fruit trees can also be a good investment if your beach home is in the right climate
These palm tree varieties I recently wrote about are a great option for pools and coastal homes because they have a non-invasive root system. Planting trees help prevent erosion for coastal homes because they catch water, block wind, and are great to plant in areas prone to runoff.
6. Deck & dock sealants for wood
For your deck, boat dock, and wood furniture, stains are a great way to add natural color and a layer of protection for coastal wood. Most stains and sealants keep rot and fungal growth at bay by protecting your wood from water and sun damage.
The upkeep can seem tedious, but treating your deck or dock every year is a good idea if you don’t invest in expensive wood like teak that doesn’t tend to rot.
If you are looking to learn more about which types of sealants to use on your deck, check out my post here where I cover 4 products I recommend.
7. The right home insurance policy
You probably can guess that insuring a beach home typically costs a lot more than coverage on a primary home. This is because many coastal homes are prone to hurricanes, severe storms, flooding, mudslides, and mold damage.
The cost of insurance is one of the drawbacks of owning a beach home, but some policies are drastically different than others.
Why beach houses cost more to insure
Many beach house homeowners pay higher home insurance rates due to the risk of severe weather events, as well as for not staying in the home on a full-time basis.
Insurance companies understand that a lived-in house is more likely to be a maintained house, as opposed to a vacation home only used a few times per year. The risk of burglary is often higher in many beach communities since homes are left abandoned for a large part of the year, thus increasing insurance rates.
Location also plays a huge factor in home insurance rates, since an oceanfront home is obviously more susceptible to high wind and flood damage than homes further inland.
Tip: If a beach house is your second home, you can save often money by bundling your policies. Hurricane proofing your beach house is another way to save money on insurance rates.
Whether your beach house is a primary residence or a vacation home, you’ll want to protect your investment, ensuring you can enjoy it for years to come.
While there are tons of ideas I cover on Waterfront Central for creating your dream beach home, the most important thing you can do is focus on the essentials that will keep your home protected and safe for friends and family.
I hope these tips have been helpful in selecting a few essentials for your beach house! Leave a comment with any other essentials important to keep in mind when owning a home at the coast.
This post was updated on July 11, 2022.