8 Ways to Protect Your House When You Live on the Water

8 Ways to Protect Your House When You Live on the Water

It’s most people’s dream to live on the water. You get the nice breeze, easy access to swimming, boating, or fishing, and of course, that picturesque view. What more could you want?

Unfortunately, living by water also comes with some risks. For one, there’s the risk of flooding. If you’re on a coast, hurricanes are also a big consideration, and there’s also the damage that humidity, moisture, and salty air can do to your home’s exterior.

Are you considering buying a home on or near the water? Already own one? Here’s how you can protect your investment for the long haul.

Taking care of your property when you live on the water

1. Commit to regular pressure washing.

Beachfront homes often see a buildup of sand, dirt, and other sediments over time — and these can wear down your property’s paint and exterior. The best way to remove these and prevent damage is with regular pressure washing — ideally at least once or twice a year. 

If you can afford it, opt for a professional cleaning. DIYing it can often lead to more damage (especially if you’re not sure what parts of your house can be pressure-washed and which can’t).

2. Steer clear of metal outside your home.

Metal materials will corrode in the wet, humid air, so whenever possible, steer completely clear of them. That means no metal furniture or decorations, no metal doors, and no metal porches or decking either.

If you do have metal somewhere on your home’s exterior, use a corrosion or rust inhibitor to keep problems at bay. You might have to apply it regularly, but it will help keep your home in prime, rust-free condition for the long haul. 

3. Consider casement windows.

Properties on the water are usually subject to quite a bit of wind. This wind can get in your home, make it drafty, or, even worse, cause mold, mildew, and other issues around the property. Your best defense against this are casement windows, which close downward (meaning the wind only closes them tighter when it blows). You might also look into impact-resistant panes if you’re in an area prone to hurricanes.

4. Opt for fiberglass doors.

Forget wood or metal doors if you live on or near the water. Those are just primed for rot and corrosion. Instead, choose a fiberglass entry instead; these stand up to moisture and salty air well and will likely last much longer than other options on the market. Fiberglass window frames can also be a good choice. 

5. Use only high-quality paint.

Unless you want to repaint your home’s exterior every season, you’ll need to invest in high-quality paint upfront. There are some brands that are more resilient than others — ones that are mildew-resistant, moisture-resistant, and even come with warranties. Talk to a local painter about the best options for your climate, and make the investment upfront to protect your property. 

6. Raise your home on piers (or stilts).

If you’re really close to the water, it might be a good idea to put your home on piers to stave off potential flooding. Floods can wreak havoc on your home’s structure — not to mention cost a pretty penny to remediate and repair, so you’ll want to do all you can to prevent them.

Another smart idea is to raise your outlets and switches, which could get damaged if water enters your home. Your best bet is to get them at least a few feet off the ground so they’re not as vulnerable should a flood occur.

7. Have a plan for outdoor decor.

Storms are pretty common on the beach, so if you know your home is often subject to strong winds or even hurricanes, make sure there’s a plan for your outdoor decor and furniture. These items can be flying weapons when the wind picks up, causing damage to your home and injury to anyone on the property. 

Is there a garage or shed you can store your items in as a storm approaches? Could you tie them up to your piers with a chain or rope? Have an ironclad plan in place just in case.

8. Inspect your home often.

No matter how many precautions you might take, there’s still a chance your home falls victim to the elements, so make sure you inspect the property often. Check the exterior, the roof and attic, your doors and windows, and other areas that might be exposed to the outdoors, and on the inside, use a moisture meter to make sure your home is staying cool and dry. If you spot anything suspicious, call in a pro right away — before the problem can worsen (or get more expensive). 

Live on the water and need to safeguard your home?

If you’re buying a waterfront property or just want to better safeguard the one you have, making some of the above changes can help. Need funds to cover those updates? A cash-out refinance may be a good option. Get in touch with an Embrace Home Loans office in your area to discuss your options.

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By Aly Yale / July 23rd, 2021 / Categories: / Tags:

Aly Yale

Aly J. Yale is a freelance writer focusing on real estate, mortgage, and the housing market. Her work has been featured in Forbes, Bankrate, The Motley Fool, Business Insider, The Balance, and more. Prior to freelancing, she served as an editor and reporter for The Dallas Morning News. She graduated from Texas Christian University's Bob Schieffer College of Communication with a major in radio-TV-film and news-editorial journalism. Connect with her at AlyJYale.com or on Twitter at @AlyJwriter.