Building and remodeling on the shore requires storm-savvy design and time-tested techniques. Fortunately, when homeowners opt for traditional building methods instead of up-and-coming pre-fab systems, techniques exist for coping with this wide weather spectrum. The chief tactic is prudence. "Never fool with Mother Nature," says architect Louis DesRosiers, who designs homes on the Great Lakes. "You'll lose every time."
A growing body of knowledge about the natural cycles of the shore factors into development along the nation's coastline. Over the years, people encroached on fragile beaches, ignoring risks to reserve front-row seats at the water's edge. But responsible developers have helped push growth safely away from the shore.
Recent hurricane seasons have demonstrated the severe economic and emotional impact that storms can wreak on coastal regions. To mitigate potential damage, it's imperative to secure reliable insurance coverage at the start of the upcoming hurricane season.
When homeowners build on the coast, they "want to be in a position to observe all that marvelous nature without disrupting it," says Illinois architect Howard Holtzman. But being there also means being involved with a sometimes-volatile environment, one with driving rain, high winds, and storm surges. "What do you do if you want what you build to last?"
Decks can be a bargain, since they expand your living space at a fraction of the cost of adding rooms. But plan and build them right. You know our mantra: Coastal weather, with its wind-driven rain and withering sun, will make you pay dearly for sloppy construction.
Connectors are designed to hold the frame of a house together in high winds. This is something a lot of us in regions outside of hurricane territory were slow to embrace. But ask folks in Florida or the coastal Carolinas. They'll tell you about grand beach houses blown apart in big storms because roof systems, walls, and foundations weren't tied together properly.