Living by the ocean offers a picturesque lifestyle that many aspire to. The soothing sounds of the waves, the refreshing breezes, and the stunning views right from your balcony can make every day feel like a vacation. However, building a home on the coast comes with its own set of challenges, primarily due to the unique environment and climate conditions.

McCarthy Home Builders on the Gold Coast explores the key considerations to ensure your coastal house is both a beautiful and resilient haven.

1. Understanding the Terrain
Coastal terrain differs significantly from the more urban or suburban landscapes. The soil types can vary, often being more sandy and less stable, which can affect the foundation of your home.

Working with a home builder experienced in coastal construction can mitigate risks associated with such terrain. They bring invaluable expertise in ensuring that your home’s foundation is suitable for the soil and will stand the test of time.

2. Combatting Airborne Sea Salt
One of the unique challenges of living close to the ocean is the high concentration of sea salt in the air. This salt can accelerate the corrosion and deterioration of building materials. When selecting materials, especially for the exterior of your home, it is crucial to choose those that comply with industry and national standards for corrosion resistance.

Some examples of materials commonly used in coastal home construction are:

● Stainless and Galvanised Steel: Ideal for hardware, fasteners, and structural supports due to its excellent corrosion resistance. Galvanized steel has a protective zinc coating to prevent rust, making it suitable for homes in salty air environments.
● Aluminium: Used for windows, doors, and roof materials. Aluminium is lightweight, strong, and does not rust, which makes it ideal for coastal environments.
● Fiber Cement Cladding: A popular choice for exterior cladding because it is resistant to corrosion, fire, and termites, and it withstands salty air better than traditional timber cladding.
● Concrete: Often used for foundations and walls due to its strength and durability. It can also be treated with sealants to enhance its resistance to moisture and salt penetration.
● Glass with Salt Resistant Coating: For windows and glass doors facing the ocean, using glass treated with a salt-resistant coating can help reduce the need for frequent cleaning and prolong the clarity and quality of the glass.
● Tile or Stone Flooring: Inside the home, materials like ceramic tile, porcelain, or stone are preferred as they are durable and resistant to moisture and sand brought in from the beach.

Choosing the right materials for a coastal home not only contributes to the longevity and safety of the structure but also helps in reducing maintenance costs and efforts over time.

3. Prioritising Regular Maintenance
Coastal homes require more rigorous maintenance to combat the harsh marine conditions. Regular tasks such as pressure washing the exterior walls, windows, and roofs are necessary to prevent salt accumulation, which can lead to damage over time. Additionally, it’s important to routinely check seals around windows and doors for any signs of wear or damage to ensure they remain weather-tight.

4. Maximising the Land and Views
In the design phase, take full advantage of the natural assets your land offers. A knowledgeable builder will consider factors like the sun’s path, prevalent wind directions, and even local noise factors such as nearby aeroplane routes.

Strategic placement of windows, balconies, and terraces can increase breathtaking ocean views and enhance natural lighting, making your home not just a place to live, but a place to thrive.

5. Blending with the Neighbourhood
While personalising your home to reflect your style, it’s also important to consider the overall aesthetic of the neighbourhood. Your coastal home should harmonise with the surrounding architecture to maintain a cohesive look throughout the community.

This doesn’t mean sacrificing individuality but integrating personal preferences in a way that complements the local architectural vibe.

6. Planning for Outdoor Living
Embracing the coastal lifestyle means making the most of the outdoors. Whether you’re a retiree with hobbies that mesh well with the beach or a young family needing ample outdoor space, consider incorporating features like extra storage for recreational equipment.

Thoughtful additions such as double garages, sheds, and other outdoor storage solutions can keep your home organised and clutter-free while supporting an active, outdoor-centric lifestyle.

Additional Considerations

● Climate Resilience: Beyond the immediate concerns of salt and terrain, consider broader climate impacts such as potential flooding or storms. Homes should be designed with elevated structures or flood defences where necessary.

● Energy Efficiency: Coastal homes can benefit significantly from renewable energy sources like solar panels or wind turbines, thanks to the open, sun-exposed settings and higher wind speeds.

● Local Regulations: Always check local building codes and regulations, which may have specific requirements for coastal buildings to prevent environmental impact and ensure safety.

Building a home by the sea is a dream for many, but it requires careful planning and consideration. By meticulously selecting the right materials, engaging with experienced builders, and designing with both aesthetics and functionality in mind, you can ensure that your coastal home is a lasting sanctuary that enhances your quality of life and withstands the environmental challenges posed by its location.