Many people dream of living at the beach. Taking long walks along the shore whenever you want, soaking up the sunshine and peaceful atmosphere in the summer, the benefits to living along the coast are endless. However, building a home at the shore also requires some considerations that building inland does not. Here are some things you’ll need to know about before making any final decisions on your home-building project.
Each beach town has its own specific zoning regulations that you’ll need to take into consideration before starting your home-building project. If the property you wish to build on is an AEC zone (Areas of Environmental Concern) you likely have to apply for a CAMA permit. CAMA, the Coastal Area Management Act, is a government program designed to protect and regulate coastal development in protected areas. Mostly, this will determine how deep your home can be as well as how close to the water you’re allowed to build.
Being so close to the water, flooding is an obvious concern you’ll need to address before you begin building. In some cases, your home may have to be elevated to avoid flooding in the future. If you are building in a flood-prone area, you’ll definitely need to look into building your home on a platform. This means you will not have a basement, and homes generally need to be elevated to a certain level depending on the zone. For example, in an AE 16 flood zone, your home would have to be elevated 16 ft or more above sea level. You can find flood zone maps on the FEMA flood zone map website.
The conditions in areas near the ocean create concerns for home building that go beyond flooding, you also need to choose materials that are going to be able to withstand the area. Salt from the ocean gets into the air and creates corrosive conditions that can damage coastal properties. You’ll want to choose materials that are resistant to decay such as some kinds of wood or composite materials that won’t require a lot of maintenance.
Metal is a strong material, however, when it is exposed to salty air over time it can become compromised. Your best bet is to choose something like cedar or concrete, they are both water-resistant and will last longer in a salty environment.
Even if you are building a home in the North, it is still at risk for hurricanes and especially high winds, so you want to keep that in mind when making design decisions. Before starting any project you’ll want your design to be approved by a professional to ensure you’re making the right decisions. You may want to consider having a custom home builder company work with you on this project, especially if they have experience building home’s in the area.
Taking measures like installing shutters on windows and doors, or low slope and hip roofing systems will protect the interior of your home from strong winds, even during regular months. Some home insurance companies will even offer discounts when you build a home with some precautionary measures. If you take the time to build a home you love on the coast, you want to make sure it’s not going to be damaged easily so you can enjoy it for a long time.
Jenn Walker is a freelance writer, blogger, dog-enthusiast, and avid beach goer that writes for a custom home builder in Long Beach Island.