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Safeguard your beach house from adverse weather

Florida’s luscious beaches—one of the state’s greatest attractions—make its coastline a tempting setting to buy or build a property. Beach houses are a great investment, offering the perfect escape for a relaxing getaway, plus it gives the option to rent the property out at other times of the year. Some may even choose to live by the ocean full-time to take advantage of the wonderful location.

A survey conducted by Origin revealed that when designing a house, the surrounding area is the most important aspect for more than a third of people. There are many benefits to living by the sea including the beautiful views, calming atmosphere and the perfect setting for exercise. However, there are also certain drawbacks to take into account. 

The public seems unaware of how vital guarding a house against weather is, with less than 5% declaring it a top consideration in the survey. Beach houses in particular are highly susceptible to adverse weather.

Dan De Brett, international marketing executive at bi-fold door manufacturer Origin, says: “Although Florida is the Sunshine State, it’s also known for extreme winds, rain, floods and even hurricanes.

“Failing to follow the correct procedures when designing or modifying a beach house could leave it vulnerable to weather-related damage, resulting in large repair fees.”

Glass door and window considerations

Living by the beach provides you with incredible ocean views. Installing large glass doors allows you to take advantage of this benefit, and showcase the gorgeous scenery from inside the property. However, it’s important that the doors are safeguarded from the elements.
The Atlantic hurricane season takes place from June through November, but over half of Florida’s homeowners fail to take recommended measures to protect their property, according to further research from Origin.  

Dan explains: “Incorporating high-impact glass will increase the door’s innate strength, so there’s less likelihood of it being broken during hurricanes where there is a lot of wind propelled debris. As an extra precaution, adhesive window film can keep glass from breaking during high winds.

“The door threshold—the track which the carriage slides along to open and close the door—should be weathered. The seal of the door compresses against a small lip on one edge of the track to prevent bad weather from seeping inside the property.”

Glass doors, windows and hurricane shutters must meet Florida’s stringent High Velocity Hurricane Zone (HVHZ) testing standards.

What building materials are suitable?

The use of materials that are resistant to heat, strong rain, wind, and floods are key to safeguarding a beachfront home’s condition. Yet just 5% of people that took part in the Origin survey believed building materials were the most important aspect.

Concrete and pressure-treated wood are recommended for building the structure of the property, along with aluminum door frames.

“Aluminum is a popular material for coastal settings. It is extremely durable, as it is resilient to distortion from differing weather conditions,” Dan adds.

Regular maintenance

The work is never complete when maintaining the strength of a beach house. Despite using the correct materials, whether that be for door and window frames or for general construction, a degree of effort is required to maintain the quality.

“For doors and windows, high-performance powder coating can preserve the aesthetics that are exposed to high UV rays and the ocean air,” Dan advises. “Therefore, make sure to look for manufacturers, like Origin, that have had the powder coating process tested in extreme heat to ensure minimal fading.”

Metal surfaces need to be regularly washed down and cleaned to ensure excess salt and sand are removed. This includes the frames, hardware, hinges, tracks or anything that’s exposed.

Robyn Branch, lead designer and owner of Robyn Branch Design, says: “Corrosion near the ocean is a way of life. Salt is wicked. Wind, sun, and water add to the deterioration associated with beach houses. Mother Nature never rests, so you have to be diligent in protecting and cleaning your home to stave off wear. Keep maintenance up so you are not saddened when you see erosion in your home.”  

Hiring a handyman to carry out an annual inspection of the home during the offseason will help you identify any areas of the home that need extra care.

Keep your beach house safe

Security should be a priority for all homeowners, but less than 10% considered it the most important aspect in the Origin survey. Although large glass doors exhibit the gorgeous scenery, there are a few considerations to make when deciding on your choice of door and window.

To make the entrance to your beach home safe, be sure to install doors with high-security features such as:  

  • High-security door hinges
  • Extremely strong door frames
  • Impenetrable locks

Adding these protective measures to windows and doors could lower home insurance premiums, which can often be high for beachfront houses. Flood insurance may also be required in storm-prone areas.

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