Choosing a building material that is both cost-effective and durable can sometimes be a juggling act. Often you cannot find both features in one product. Determined to see if such a product existed, I went to the local construction company to check Is Concrete Good For Beach Houses?
Beach houses get exposed to the harsh elements of nature. Therefore, the building material used in the construction must offer durability, protection, and long-term savings. Concrete can offer all these features and more, making it the ideal choice.
Let’s explore both the advantages and disadvantages of using concrete in your beach house. The most popular type of concrete. The average lifespan and estimated cost of using concrete.
Advantages Of Using Concrete
1. Energy Efficiency
- Concrete offers excellent energy efficiency over the lifetime of a building. Concrete walls do not leak air in comparison with those made of wood frames.
- The storage and release of the energy needed for heating and cooling and the concrete’s thermal mass offer a considerable benefit by reducing the temperature motion inside and minimizing the overall cost.
- Insulation helps reduce the energy lost through the building envelope; thermal mass stores and releases this energy. Concrete uses insulation and thermal mass for energy efficiency.
2. Fire Safety
- More resistant to fire as concrete has a lower heat conductivity. It is so effective that it protects concrete steel frames. Being a non-combustible product, it provides a great safety feature.
3. Protection Against Natural Elements
- Due to its lateral stiffness, concrete also provides good resistance against natural disasters like hurricanes, tornadoes, and high winds.
- The durability of concrete is very high, offering the below resistance.
- Concrete is resistant to most natural elements and chemicals.
Vermin and Insects
- Vermin and Insects are not able to destroy the concrete due to it being inedible.
Resistance to Solar Radiation
- Concrete is resistant to solar radiation.
High Humidity and Rain
- With little to no organic content, concrete is resistant to deterioration due to rot or rusting in hot, humid climates. Moisture can only enter a building through joints between concrete elements. With proper maintenance, it is easy to manage the cracks.
- Since the casting of the concrete takes place on a working site, it is economical and more cost-effective.
- Since there is not much maintenance cost other than the generally repairing of cracks, it can provide a substantial financial saving in the long run.
6. Free From Natural Defects And Flaws
- Concrete is free from any natural defects and flaws.
- Concrete can be cast into any shape, making it a designer’s dream concerning style innovation.
- Is the lowest carbon footprint for a structure over its lifecycle, which makes it sustainable and versatile.
Disadvantages Of Using Concrete
1. Health Hazard
- The grinding of concrete can produce a cloud of hazardous dust. Exposure to cement dust can cause kidney disease, skin problems, and other health issues.
- The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health based in the U.S has recommended attaching local exhaust ventilation shrouds to electric concrete grinders to control the spread of this dust.
- The tensile strength of concrete is low compared to other binding materials.
3. Less Pliable
- Concrete is less pliable.
4. Weight Vs. Strength
- The weight of the product is much higher in comparison to its strength.
5. Soluble Salts
- It contains soluble salts, which is the leading cause of efflorescence.
The Most Popular Types Of Concrete
1. Cinder Concrete
- Cinder concrete is ideal soundproofing material. So if you are concerned about the noise factor of the waves crashing against the surface, cinder concrete will help minimize the noise.
2. Concrete Blocks
- Concrete Blocks are pretty self-explanatory. They are prevalent due to the low price. Many do not like the look of the big hollow blocks; however, if you want to change the aesthetics of the building, you can opt for a smaller block.
3. Precast Panels
- These are built at the construction plant and then transported to the site. They are aesthetically appealing to look at but can be a more expensive option.
4. Insulating Concrete Forms
- ICF’s are foam blocks that are hollow and filled with concrete. The retention of the foam after the pouring of the concrete makes it ideal for insulation. Visually it is not that “easy on the eye.”
5. Removal Forms
- These are very conventional concrete forms. They offer many options for insulation, making them a more suitable choice for basement walls.
Can Concrete Be Used On The Beach House Floor?
Using concrete on the floors of a beach house can tend to be cold and challenging, especially if you walk barefoot. The good news is that you can fix this by just putting a cute coastal rug over the floor.
Estimated Cost Of Building A Concrete Home
- A 1 722 square foot home built using concrete can cost in the region of one hundred and nine thousand dollars.
- According to statistics from Concrete Network, you can, however, save in the region of 20% to 25% on heating and cooling costs.
- Many insurance companies also offer a saving of 25% on homeowners insurance on houses built with concrete due to the high resistance of concrete to hurricanes, tornadoes, fires, and earthquakes.
- In the long run, building a home with concrete offers much more cost-saving factors for the foreseeable future.
Average Lifespan of A Concrete Beach House
The average lifespan of a building with concrete is 40 years for a house and 50-60 years for an apartment with minimum maintenance. However, regular upkeep and maintenance can extend the lifespan by 75- 100 years based on the proximity of the beach house from the water and the house’s exposure to direct sunlight and wind.
Using the path of the sun and the ocean winds can be a deciding factor to the natural exposures of the beach house when choosing the architectural design and the products to be used in the construction.
The use of concrete in beachfront homes has both its advantages and disadvantages, with the benefits most certainly outweighing the drawbacks.
However, suppose you are still conflicted in your decision, in all wisdom. In that case, you can take the disadvantages and turn them into advantages by pairing the use of concrete with other products to further enhance the aesthetics and long-term durability of the beach house.