Blog photo of hurricane
Scary warning only days before Hurricane Sandy hit

Part II of the 2nd Element to consider if building near the coast: wind 

If you lived on or near the coastline of New Jersey or New York in 2012, you most probably have a story to tell about the day of and the days after Hurricane Sandy hit. Relatives, friends and neighbors either lost their home or had to resurrect their water-drenched house and yard.

We were fortunate to  have minor damage from fallen tree limbs. The woods between our home and the Barnegat Bay sheltered us, but not homes close to the water. However, it was interesting to see that some coastal homes withstood the force of the hurricane and survived major damage.

One of my client’s home was built 50 feet from the ocean. But on either side of them, the older homes, built in the 50’s, suffered irreparable damage. Clearly, the newer homes were built to withstand hurricane seasons.

So, after Sandy hit building a house in coastal areas became a daunting process. New homes are now built on pilings, older homes are raised onto new pilings. Tough governmental regulations became the “de rigueur” when building along the coast. Builders were faced with new processes for building and a host of problems never encountered in the northeast coastal corridor before Hurricane Sandy.

Building a Coastal Home Punchlist

So, what’s one builder’s answer to ensure a coastal home could conquer any storm?

According to Deltec Homes they follow these basics for their clients coastal new homes:

  1. Design a structure with a ‘shape that doesn’t allow pressure/wind to build up and cause a structure to fall
  2. Use an ideal “roof pitch of 6/12” for wind deflection – to deflect wind and reduce lift”
  3. Include a “circular structure” that “transfers environmental loads most efficiently”
  4. Consider using “radial floor & roof trusses” that “work like spokes
    on a wheel”
  5. Use Five-ply 5/8” plywood sheathing instead of OSB on exterior walls, roof and floor, “to strengthen the home”
  6. Include “machine rated 2400 psi framing lumber” for use in “trusses and walls”
  7. Install reinforced windows with “impact glass” to “prevent wind and water from entering the home”

Since Hurricane Sandy, we have endured as a community, yet we have also learned a tough lesson from Mother Nature. You can build your dream coastal home. But it must be built with the utmost care to avoid damage down the road.

The next Element to consider when building or renovating a coastal home continues with a discussion on salt air. We all love the smell of the salt air, but it can be too much of a good thing if you live near the coast.