Owning a beachfront property in South Florida is a dream for so many but it can quickly become a nightmare. If proper care is not given to maintenance, inspections, and upkeep salty sea air can wreak havoc and cause slow destruction long before a storm ever will. These necessary oceanfront property maintenance processes ensure the structural integrity and beauty of your home.
As professional engineers we would like to share our top tips for maintaining the integrity of your oceanfront property in South Florida.
Oceanfront Property Maintenance Tip #1: Waterproof Regularly
While it may take years for a property owner to see the physical signs of moisture infiltrations from improper (or no) waterproofing on an oceanfront property, rest assured, it will happen. The question is not “if” but when. Any building or structure, even if constructed with concrete, is not completely watertight with the raw materials alone. In masonry construction, particular areas of concern for moisture are any joints, sills, around windows and doors. These areas are often created with intentional “air gaps” to protect each individual material as many are incompatible. Often openings need filling materials such as high-quality silicone to seal the joint and to make it waterproof. Keep in mind, even silicone can break down over time and care should be taken to ensure that all waterproofing materials are intact and in place by checking at least once a year.
Oceanfront Property Maintenance Tip #2: Clean and Maintain Your Windows
Windows should be high on your priority list for maintenance in any South Florida oceanfront property. Choose windows created from durable materials like vinyl. When planning your build or remodel you should also consider placing or replacing windows that have higher thicknesses, are shatterproof and will withstand high winds.
You should even consider flood proof windows such as those offered by our affiliate company, floodproofwindows.com (a FenEx and DOP partnership). From flood glass barriers to beautifully constructed coastal design window walls, these architectural glass elements are built to withstand both normal wear and tear from oceanfront locations as well as storms surges and high wind situations.
Whatever windows you choose, be prepared to clean them, with fresh water, a few times a month. Salt builds up quickly and can destroy building materials at increased rates. Keeping your windows, frames, and hardware clean and freshly rinsed will increase the longevity of their usefulness.
Oceanfront Property Maintenance Tip #3: Inspect and Update Your Painted Surfaces
All painted surfaces have a shortened life span from the harsh conditions of seaside living. Wind, saltwater, rain, and even sand blowing can cause rapid deterioration. Start your oceanfront ownership experience right with a fresh paint job utilizing weatherproof paints and caulk materials.
Then, plant to inspect your painted surfaces at least quarterly. This will give you the best chance of finding damage or deterioration quickly and being able to correct and replace any degrading surfaces. Regular inspections also help you familiarize yourself with the overall landscape of your property from day one. Because you know where you started you will quickly notice if there are any structural issues developing. Do not hesitate to contact a local structural engineer for an on-site inspection.
We can help advise you on the best ways to maintain or restore your property for a lifetime of continued oceanfront enjoyment. Remember: “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”