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Salty Air Atmospheres and the Impact on Your Property

Having a beach home and enjoying life at the beach is a dream come true for many homeowners. Beautiful sunny days, sitting by the ocean and enjoying beach life…it all sounds so great! Little do most people know, that the beautiful ocean mist in the air can wreak havoc on your property.

Did you know that salty air is a major corrosive! Living by the sea creates a unique situation in caring for your home and belongings. The closer you live to the beach, the more maintenance issues you may encounter.

Saltwater in the air is especially corrosive on metal. Rusting is a common form of corrosion, which occurs when metal atoms react with their environment. Salt water does not make metal rust, but living in a salty atmosphere accelerates the rusting process because electrons move more easily in salt water than they do in pure water. The best defense to rusting is to have a regular maintenance plan in place.

Windows can be especially vulnerable in a salty atmosphere. If your windows have any metal components, you may want to consider having them replaced with fiberglass components. If fiberglass is not available, perhaps look for components made from stainless steel or hot-dipped galvanized steel.

Keep an eye out for rust build up on outdoor items such as HVAC units, decking materials, furniture, belongings (e.g., bicycles), etc. Regular maintenance is key. Don't let rusted out metal become a bigger issue, as excessive deterioration can cause more problems down the road.

If you have the means to do so, your home should be pressure washed at least each season when living on the beach. Moisture build-up and saltwater exposure will leave your home susceptible to sea-spray which could impact your siding, paint, etc. For example, the small salt crystals will settle under the paint’s surface and the build-up with eventually cause the paint to chip away.

As we inspect homes, we are paying close attention to details such as rust. Systems that have been neglected and not properly cared for may be a costly maintenance issue. For example, something that was not maintained properly could become a major defect and in need of repair or replacement.

Here is a good article written about this topic.

As always, we hope you find this information helpful. Your calls are always welcomed at (302) 500-0130.


Joe Cusumano, Owner

Bayside Home Inspections, LLC

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