How Do I Build a Beach House to Protect Against Salt Water?


Material used on a beach house should be resistant to flooding, wind, corrosion, moisture and decay cause by salt water. All buildings require maintenance and repairs but buildings exposed to salt water require more because of the corrosive nature of the salt water. Salt-water damage as result of flooding from coastal storms is a concern for homeowners. Material in a coastal house should be able to sustain immersion without major damage to the structure.

Things You'll Need

  • Pilings
  • Galvanized steel
  • Stainless steel
  • Treated wood
  • House insulation
  • Roofing material
  • Check local building codes for requirements. You can build a house to code, or you can build a house to exceed it. Some building codes in coastal areas dictate how high above sea level you have to build the house. If the code says, a house has to be 21 feet above sea level and the property is 10 feet above sea level, than the house has to be build on pilings that are 11 feet high.

  • Build the house on the correct pilings. Select salt-water resistant, treated pilings for in the ground contact or wood that has a natural resistance to moisture such as cedar, redwood, or bald cypress. Seal cement and block to keep the moisture out.

  • Use only hot-dipped galvanized or stainless steel in the house. Protect reinforcing steel from corrosion with masonry, mortar, grout, or concrete.

  • Control wood deterioration by using water resistant wood and applying preservative treatment to any wood exposed to moisture. Use treated wood on the house frame.

  • Insulate home with material approved by the local building code to resist the moisture caused by salt water.

  • Install a roof that offers a resistance to the salt water in the air. Aluminum roofing offer rust and corrosion resistance. However, if you prefer the traditional shingle roof, it also offers moisture resistance as long as it is properly installed.

  • Slope the landscape and construction away from house so water does not stand under the house.

Tips & Warnings

  • The municipality where you reside may have lists available of recommended or required materials for construction of new houses.

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  • Photo Credit beach house image by Earl Robbins from
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