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Ocean Wear and Tear in California

Living in coastal California has countless perks. From stunning views of crashing waves to easy access to water activities, it is little wonder that oceanfront living is a popular choice amongst California residents.

While living by the ocean is an easy lifestyle choice, the salty ocean air can lead to some unique considerations for keeping your property in pristine condition. The good news is that with the right knowledge and tactics, you can still enjoy oceanfront living without sacrificing your home and cars to the ocean elements.

How the Ocean Affects Your Property

Every homeowner will experience normal wear and tear to their property over time. However, homeowners living along the California coast will experience a few more caveats to normal property deterioration.

Living by the ocean includes three main items of concern: sun, sea and sand. While all three of these are the precise reason why living by the ocean is a wonderful experience, they are also the culprits that can cause damage to your property.

When thinking of how your property will be affected, you can break it down into three main categories: house, landscaping and vehicles.

With the bright sunny days that coastal California is loved for, long periods of intense sunlight can cause the exterior of your home to age prematurely. Additionally, any time the wind kicks up and blows sand across your property, your home will feel the effects of the abrasive sand. This abrasion can cause the external finishes of your home to be weakened. Additionally, your home’s exterior will be more prone to rusting as the salty sea air takes its toll on metalwork.

For coastal homes right along the beach, erosion and rising water levels can lead to damage to landscaping. If you have a green thumb and are considering a garden, you will also have to carefully choose plants that are designed specifically for seaside living. Many plants cannot handle the high salt content of the air along the beach.

It is not only the outside of your home that can be damaged by the oceanfront elements. The interior of your home can also experience wear and tear from any sand and saltwater that enters the home. This can lead to scratches on the flooring, faster wear to carpet fibers and quicker deterioration of any furniture.

Finally, any vehicles you own will be exposed to the strong sunlight, humid, salty air and abrasive sand. This can lead to an array of issues for your vehicles ranging from fading paint to early rust and wear and tear to the car’s interior. It’s important to maintain regular maintenance on your vehicles to avoid any potential problems.

The Truth about Corrosion

While the sun, sand and saltwater are a damaging combination, perhaps one of the most concerning issues when living by the sea is corrosion. The reality is that ocean air translates to faster corrosion. The high salt and moisture levels in seaside air will combine into a dual impact. The moisture and humidity will cause any paint on cars and home exteriors to deteriorate at a quicker rate than normal. Then, once the paint has been weakened, the influence of salt can take hold, which ultimately leads to corrosion and rust.

It is important to note that while you will easily notice corrosion on your car and home’s exterior, there are other items less visible to keep in mind. For example, the nuts, bolts and brake components on your car might be slowly rusting out of sight.

Building Work, Regulations and the Importance of Maintenance

While it is easy to see valid concerns about living in a coastal area, there is no reason to give up on your dream of living along the oceanfront simply due to wear and tear. In fact, when you choose a home that has met local building guidelines and regulations — which are often different for coastal properties — you can mitigate a lot of this risk. For example, many waterfront homes are required to be built with specific measures in place to prevent erosion of the property. Often, builders will also utilize different materials for the home’s exterior that are rated for use against ocean wind and salty air.

Additionally, there are many easy tactics you can take to protect your property against the sun, sand and surf.

Protect Exterior Items

Keeping your home’s exterior protected from the elements looks a little different for oceanside homeowners. Invest in weatherproof paints and finishes for your home’s exterior. Treat all fixtures and fittings made of metal with rust-proof finishes. Cover up outdoor items when not in use, such as grills, patio furniture and any vehicle stored outside of a garage.

Invest in Regular Maintenance

A well-maintained property will suffer from far less damage than one that is left to the hands of nature. Make it part of your weekly routine to inspect your property. If you address small issues early on, such as a bit of chipped paint on a metal railing or a portion of your wood decking where the sealant has been worn off, you can prevent major problems down the road. Often a project that only takes minutes can save you years of life to your home or vehicles.

When Purchasing a Property Consider This…

If the ocean air is calling you, be sure that you keep the wear and tear of potential seaside living in mind as you shop for a home. During the early stages of purchasing a property, take your time to perform extensive research. Find out more about the specific area. Have there been any known issues with erosion? Talk to your realtor about the upkeep on any properties you are interested in purchasing. Did the homeowner treat the exterior with the right protectants? Ask about local building regulations and invest in a full inspection prior to purchasing any oceanfront home.

At the end of the day, while seaside living does come with its own unique set of challenges, these challenges are undoubtedly overshadowed by the beauty of crashing waves and the healing ocean air. Throughout history, people have still found a way to enjoy ocean living while mitigating the risks to their property.