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Living at the beach was always your dream. So now that you retired, you want to build that dream beach house. You decided to build a house rather than buying an existing property because not everyone is made for fitting into outdated, cookie-cutter properties. Building a house at or close to the beach may be so rewarding yet challenging because beachfront properties take a lot of beating from the elements as there is nothing to protect them from the onslaught of sun, wind, sea salt, and storms, so if you want to know what to expect and look out for before you start searching for the perfect place to build, read on.
Choose The Perfect Site
Look around for the perfect site to build your dream beach house. You may want to explore plots of land on different coastlines before you pick that perfect spot. To help your search, get in touch with the local real estate agent to help with your search of any available plots for sale. You may even scout some land investment companies as the prime shoreline properties are often bought as an investment. They may be holding some plots that they are willing to sell. Once you have a plot secured, you must consider the municipal building laws.
Each coastal town has its own zoning requirements. So each one will have a different site preparation that you will have to research. Most of the land at the coast is located in the Areas of Environmental Concern (AEC) zone. That means you will need to apply for Coastal Area Management Act (CAMA) permit that regulates development in AEC zones. The permit will dictate your building footprint, including how wide and deep your house can go and how far away from the water it needs to be built.
You will also need to determine the elevation requirements in the place you have chosen to build. Most coastal areas with flood elevations from 10′ to 15′ above sea level prescribe that your piling be between 8′ -9′ thick. However, some will require a 12′- 14′ piling height. It probably will not make much of the difference from a design point of view, but it can result in additional costs laying the foundation level to the required height.
In any case, depending on how close to the water’s edge you are building, you may want to put your house on stilts from the beginning to give you more height and protection in a case of flooding or severe storms. There is nothing worse than doing water damage cleanups after the first time your house weathered the storm.
Constructing Your Dream House
Before starting to build, you will need a plan. Choose an architect to draw up the building plans. Getting a professional architect who understands your vision and can translate it into a workable plan that local municipal officials will approve is one of the most important parts of making your beach house come to fruition. Find a local architect since they are familiar with the town’s architectural style and will design your unique home while fitting into the neighborhood. A good architect won’t agree with you building that A-frame cutie that looks more like a mountain chalet than a beach property.
Pick a reputable building contractor. Once you have a beautiful, approved plan in hand, it is time to pick the people who will do the actual building of the house. It is a good idea to pick someone from the area who has experience building houses at the coast. Local builders will know construction methods unique to the coastal environment as this is a ‘specialty’ within the building industry because the materials used and the way a house is constructed will play a big role in the quality of the finished product. You may even request builders to show you which homes in the neighborhood they have already built as an assurance of their skill.
Choosing the Perfect Finishes
Roofing. Whatever material you pick for your roof, you should consider how durable it is. Remember that a beach house is exposed to hurricane-force winds of up to 160mph, baking sun, and heavy storms, so you want to cover it with something that is durable and will last. One of the most durable roofing materials on the market is the metal roof. It may be more expensive than shingles, but it lasts far better in harsh coastal conditions. After all, it is better to spend extra when laying a roof than repairing one every time the winds and storm decide to hit your abode.
Siding. Siding is the first thing people see when they look at your house. It needs to have loads of curb appeal and last for many years. Also preferable is minimal need for maintenance. After all, you want to enjoy living in your beach house, not spend all your time doing DIY repairs. One type of siding that fits all these requirements is vinyl siding. It is durable, weather-resistant, and comes in various finishes and colors that mimic natural materials. You can choose a wood grain finish or perhaps a stone finish to make your home look good without the hassle of upkeep.
It is essential that vinyl siding is professionally installed. Choose a reputable siding service for your project and reap the benefits this type of siding will provide.
Asphalt Driveway Paving. Asphalt paving looks better, is durable, and can be installed fast. This durable surface with the gleaming blacktop will complement your beach house design. It ensures a smooth ride, is easy to maintain, and will give your new home the curb appeal you want.
Windows. A beach house is all about the view and the smell of fresh breeze wafting through the house. Let the sunshine in through large picture windows. You may also want to install sliding glass doorways that open onto the deck or patio. Installing as much glass into your home structure as possible will help give you ‘bring the outside, inside.’ Of course, to make sure your lovely large windows can withstand hurricane winds and everything else the elements throw at them, installing impact-resistant windows and doors is a good idea. The glass in those is laminated to prevent shattering and is the most attractive way of keeping the elements outside.
Floors. A beach house is no place for hardwood floors. The sand, moisture, and humidity will damage them in no time. The same goes for wall-to-wall carpets. However, any hard, warp-resistant flooring will be a great option for you. The laminated floors are available in a wide range of styles that look similar to a hardwood floor. At the same time, a ceramic tile is extremely durable, resists staining and fading, and feels nice and cool underfoot on hot days. If you don’t want to forego that carpet feel under your feet, a nice natural fiber rug placed in strategic places will give you that comfort of carpet while still being practical enough to survive all sorts of sandy feet and spills.
To get the best floor surface laid in your new beach house, contact local flooring services to select your options.
Consider adding a sunroom to your new beach house. A sunroom can form a connection between the outdoors and your interior. Adding a sunroom adds future potential value to your home and improves the quality of life by providing that relaxing space where you can spend time alone with your book or with family. Contact the specialist sunroom builders for ideas on how to design your sunroom space perfectly.
Add a pool in the back garden. Just because there is an ocean across the road, it does not mean that your new beach house shouldn’t have a pool in the back garden. A pool will add luxury and more resale value to your property. Having a pool also gives you an option where to spend your time. Perhaps you can start your day with a morning walk on the beach and lounge around the pool in the afternoon. Bliss!
A nice to know fact is that once your pool is complete and ready to be filled with water, you have a choice of using your water by sinking a water hose into a pool and leaving the tap open until the pool fills up. It probably would be good to phone the water company beforehand and let them know that you are about to fill in a pool. The other option is to order already chlorinated water from your area’s pool water delivery service. The water from a service like that is pre-chlorinated and ready to swim.
Pros of Building a Beach House After Retirement
Simply living so close to the beach may feel like you are on permanent vacation. Your family will want to come to visit you so that they can spend some quality beach time, and you will no longer have to beg them to visit.
There is always something to do, and nobody gets bored on the beach. You can go for a relaxing stroll on the beach, pick up seashells with grandchildren, enjoy water sports like surfing or kayaking. Spend an afternoon relaxing on your deck with a good book and an umbrella drink. The ideas are endless.
The value of your home will continue to increase. Since oceanfront land and properties come at a premium, your investment will never lose its value. Investing in building your own beach house is a definite estate builder for your children to inherit one day.
Since you are building the house yourself, you may want to include a space for a carer to live in one day. You are still pretty fit, even though you retired, but a couple of years down the line, your health may deteriorate. If you need to consider assisted living help, your house will already be equipped to handle such eventuality.
Cons of Building a Beach House After Retirement
There is no escaping the sand. It gets into your house no matter how carefully you try to keep it out. Your floor will need a sweep/vacuum at least once a day, and you may have to learn to live with a certain amount of sand inside.
Anything from ensuring the exterior of your house is maintained right to the car maintenance can become a burden. Salty air, humidity, and wind will make things deteriorate faster. Consult your mechanic on the best ways to protect your car from the elements.
One thing you may not have considered is to have to put up with the tourists. Many irritating people will descend on your coastal town every holiday season. You may have to put up with them blocking your driveway or parking at the edge of your lawn. Not to mention people who try to cut through your property to get to the beach. Unfortunately, you may have to take the bad with the good.
As you live on the coast, your property is prone to be on the receiving end of hurricanes, rising sea levels, and soil erosion. That is why your property is riskier for the insurance company to insure, and that is why the monthly insurance premiums are higher than insurance on property inland. However, the beach lifestyle living may be worth the extra monthly premiums to ensure you have peace of mind and daily access to paradise.
Although building and owning a beach house has some challenges, it also has many pluses. If living near the beach is a dream of yours, you need to decide whether the cons outweigh the pros for you. At least after reading this article, you have more of an idea as to what building a beach house entails.