How do I Maintain a Beach House?
Most beach house owners make preparations in the likely event of a severe storm such as a hurricane to protect the house from wind damage, debris, and heavy rain. These are certainly important preparations, but other considerations must be made for the upkeep of a beach house as well. Salty air will lead to corrosion of metal beach house furniture or other accessories and furnishings around the home, and if the house is rented to visitors regularly, the owner will also have to take normal wear and tear into consideration. Carpets may need to be cleaned, floors mopped, appliances maintained, and so on.
Storms and hurricanes can sweep into coastal areas quickly, so a beach house owner should be prepared to get the house ready for a storm easily and quickly. This may mean boarding up the windows and doors, protecting areas of the home that are likely to flood, taking in patio furniture or other external features of the home that may blow away in strong winds, and so on. It is a good idea to make these processes known to renters, and to make the processes simple enough that anyone can execute them in an emergency.
While some beach house owners simply hire a housekeeping and maintenance company to take care of the property, especially if it is a rental property, other beach house owners prefer to do the maintenance themselves. If this is the case, you will need to consider the salty air of coastal areas; this salt can work into fixtures within the home, corrode lawn furniture and other external features such as grills and even doors, and affect furniture indoors since people track the salt and sand indoors. Vacuuming carpets regularly will extend the life of the rugs, and washing bed sheets will ensure comfortable, long lasting bedding.
Try putting furniture covers on all the chairs and couches in the house. Sand and salt will get tracked into the house, and these can begin to eat away at upholstery and frames. Washing the covers regularly is much easier than replacing entire couch cushions or chair cushions, and it will cost less in the long run. Consider placing throw rugs in the most commonly traveled areas of the home; these rugs can be taken outside and shaken out, or even thrown into the washing machine. Outdoor furniture can be power-washed to remove sand and salt, thereby extending the life of the furniture.
Before purchasing our family beach house, I knew corrosion was a real concern. I made certain that all fixtures and exposed metals were protected as well as possible. The big oversight on my part was not considering my air conditioning unit. Namely, the outside condensing unit. After only four years I lost it to salt corrosion. I searched and found a rinse -- Air Conditioner Salt Remover -- that connects to a standard garden hose. Hose it down ever so often. My unit is now six years old, shows minimal signs of corrosion and the coils are still in really good shape. I fully believe there are five plus years left within the unit.
I'd put double paned glass in all the windows, along with hurricane shutters, and keep plywood on hand, just in case, if I lived in a hurricane-prone area. For some beach areas, hurricane shutters are enough, but for places that get slammed, like the Gulf of Mexico, I'd have plywood, too. You can even get plywood fasteners and brackets so you can get the sheets up faster.
A big Cat 5 might take the whole thing out, but well shielded windows will withstand a lot, and can make clean up much easier.
One thing most owners have to stay on top of with beach house maintenance is paint. Salt air eats paint off the siding, so frequent painting is a necessity.
Also, the locks need to be maintained. They can get stubborn if they get the least bit corroded, so keeping them well lubricated with graphite is also a good idea.
If the house has a deck, this also really has to be maintained carefully. Some people get teak decks, just because they stand up to the weather better. But keeping a urethane coating on wooden decking is just the smart thing to do.
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