Dakota Murphey has experience in property management with her portfolio of properties expanding in the South of England. Her passion for renovation and home improvement projects is shared through her writing to help educate and inspire others.
Oh, we do like to be beside the seaside! Whether you’ve chosen to permanently relocate to the South Coast or invest in a seaside holiday home in, say, Norfolk or Cornwall, you clearly have a natural affinity with the sea. This is all well and good but do you realise that coastal properties need additional maintenance compared to buildings further inland, simply on account of being so close to the sea?
Everything within striking distance of the coast is exposed to the good old British weather, meaning sun, rain, wind and salty air can all take their toll on buildings – both inside and out – and especially those areas that face into the elements.
Since your property is likely to be your most valuable asset, it’s important to keep it in a good state of repair, maximise your own enjoyment of it as well as the return on your investment. When you come to sell, we warned that buyers will quickly spot signs of damp, water and rust damage, expecting a reduction in the asking price… So, what can you do?
Here’s a list of the 5 main culprits you’ll find around seaside properties and the damage they can do unless you take action.
1. Metal and rust
It is an unfortunate fact that the combination of water – or even the constant exposure to moist sea air – and metal will inevitably lead to rust, unless protective measures have been taken. Stainless steel is the most resistant to corrosion and therefore the most suitable metal to use, although it will still be affected by salt water environments. Galvanised steel is another option; it’s been coated in zinc to make it corrosion resistant.
Check your metal building elements carefully to ensure they are fully protected. Wash down exposed metal elements such as gates and railings, balustrades and handrails regularly to remove environmental residues that are likely to cause rust. Make sure that non-resistant metals are painted for protection. If you spot signs of corrosion, clean it off and apply a new protective coat as a matter of urgency.
2. Glass in windows and doors
If you’re near the sea, you will want to make the most of the available views. Not surprisingly, most coastal properties have large-scale feature windows, floor-to-ceiling glass or concertina patio doors to help bring the outside in. While this is a wonderful amenity and the reason many people love the seaside, the downside is the extra maintenance windows and doors required.
With coastal properties, salt build-up on windows and doors is inevitable, regardless of the quality of the fixtures and fittings. The ocean breeze carries salt that deposits on the surfaces around the home. When the condensation hits the glass, the water will eventually evaporate but the salt in the water will stick.
As a result, the windows and other glass surfaces of seaside properties get dirty and grimy far more quickly than those further inland. Without frequent and meticulous cleaning – once a week would be ideal – the continued build-up of salt deposits can lead to premature deterioration of your doors and windows.
3. Other hard surfaces
Given enough time, moisture from the air and rain will find its way into cracks in paint, wood, plaster and masonry, which can cause major structural damage. For coastal properties, diligent exterior maintenance, painting and decorating is therefore absolutely essential.
Check the outside of your property for signs of water damage, damp and failed waterproofing and attend to any repairs urgently before the problem gets too big and costly. Wood is particularly sensitive to natural elements including water and salt erosion. Wooden doors, windows and other elements should be monitored regularly and treated to prevent deterioration and rot.
4. Mould and mildew
Mould and mildew are both types of fungi that thrive in damp, dark environments where there is insufficient air circulation. Basements and bathrooms are most commonly affected. Coastal properties can be particularly prone if damp and condensation is left undealt with, particularly if your holiday home is empty for any length of time.
Mould and mildew can grow in warm, airless environments as well as cold and draughty conditions, forming a thin covering on soft furnishings, shower curtains, household walls and ceilings. Unsightly to the eye and musty to the nose, they will discolour and literally ‘eat into’ any affected material until it falls apart.
To protect your interiors, property owners are strongly advised to approach a three-pronged approach: “Air out your coastal home as much as you can, ensure all hard surfaces are wiped down frequently and have your carpets, curtains and upholstery professionally cleaned at least twice a year.” (Apple Clean)
5. Sun damage
Thankfully, living on the coast is not only about coping with the effects of rain and moisture. There’s plenty of sunshine, even in the UK, and when the sun does come out, it’s glorious. Hopefully, your seaside home is in a nice sunny spot so that you can enjoy the property to the max. That said, too much sun exposure is never a good thing, not even for furniture and furnishings.
Fabrics tend to fade in direct sunlight, which is why curtains should be drawn during sunny days, even in wintertime, and especially if the property is unoccupied for longer periods of time. Make a point of repositioning any rugs every couple of months to limit sun damage.
Natural fabrics such as linen and silk will fade significantly quicker than those containing acrylic or polyester. Lighter fabrics will show less fading than darker fabrics – useful to know when selecting new curtains or upholstered furniture.
Prolonged sun exposure on leather furniture will cause substantial fading and drying and eventually, the material will go stiff and develop cracks. Keeping your leather sofas and chairs away from direct sunlight and applying a specialist leather conditioner twice a year will help to prolong their appearance and lifespan.