Some of the most sublime views to be seen anywhere in the country are those in coastal areas, alongside the vast expanse of an endless ocean, rhythmically moving in response to the primal forces of the earth and its moon. There is something serene and beautiful about the tides lapping against the shoreline just as it has almost since the beginning of time. Many people have found this kind of location ideal for building their dream home, living in close proximity with one of the great forces in nature. Yet there can be drawbacks to this idyllic setting—the ocean can have serious negative effects on your coastal home.
Depending on which coastline you are considering, there are a few natural forces to keep in mind that can and will affect your home. The most obvious, of course, is whether or not the area is subject to seasonal hurricanes. Everyone has seen film on the nightly news of what can happen to ocean-side homes caught in the direct path of a hurricane; sometimes it isn’t a question of damage, but more like obliteration that calls for complete reconstruction.
Hurricanes and tropical storms aren’t the only thing that can affect your coastal home though. Even strong winds can do considerable damage to a home, such as loosening siding and roofing materials, or tearing them off entirely. Homeowners without insurance for such eventualities are likely to face significant repair costs out-of-pocket.
Storm surges are another force of nature that can put a coastal home in specific areas at risk. When tides are driven by powerful winds and whipped up to heights far above normal they can overwhelm any property in the immediate vicinity of the coast. This actually represents a two-fold disaster—first the damage done by the power of the surging tide, and then damage done by the subsequent flooding. Eventually a storm surge will subside, and its floodwaters will return to the ocean, but it may ruin valuable property on lower floors of your home.
Other Potential Effects
The kinds of damage described above may be the most spectacular drawbacks to establishing a coastal home, but they aren’t the only ones. For instance, areas where the coastline is receding, perhaps due to rising water levels, can be expected to lose precious beach area over a period of time, and you’ll then find that the ocean is creeping closer to the living room. This is not only an aesthetic loss, but can eventually present a hazard in the form of proximity to the water.
Saltwater itself can also pose a threat to your home: saltwater is highly corrosive, which can damage the structural integrity of your home. Because salt suspended in water is highly reactive, that means it is capable of carrying an electrical charge—any time there is saltwater flooding, there is also a risk of electrical shock.
Clearly, there are pros and cons to the coastal life in paradise depicted on television and in movies, but with some earnest investigation of the area you are considering, you may find coastal living to be just what you’re looking for. If you can properly manage any drawbacks presented by the climate and local environment, life on the coast can be soothing and exquisitely lovely.