Lunch at the coast was very nice at the weekend.
We chose to go to a favorite seafood restaurant near Nazere on a very cold Saturday lunchtime in January.
As you can see from the photographs of the sea it was pretty wild. Although there were none of the enormous surfing waves that the area is famous for there were plenty of large, heavy, crashing waves that you could hear before you arrived at the sea front.
In fact the waves, rain and wind had already eroded several areas of land around the cliffs.
Which brings me nicely to “Decay at the coast”
Before lunch we were walking around the village having a bit of a constitutional and I was telling my friends about when I lived close to the sea in the UK.
I dreaded the winters and how they would degrade the finishes of the house requiring re painting every year. Steel railings where a nightmare to keep in good condition they almost rusted in front of your eyes.
Then we came across this satellite dish and I laughed out loud.
Normal metal meets seaside conditions and heat !!!!
A perfect example of Decay at the coast !
It is of course not just steel and paintwork which is effected and damaged it is almost anything like bricks, lime render and normal timber.
In fact you have to make certain that you are using the correct type of stainless steel and fixings or they will rust and look a mess and ultimately have to be replaced like the TV dish.
When you are sitting in the shade on your summer holiday it is almost impossible to comprehend that this beautiful location could be bad for your home. With high levels of humidity, constant sand and salt attack you may be in for a shock when you return to your holiday home.
So how do you make sure that you are not constantly refurbishing and replacing parts of your home?.
Think tough external finishes. Not hard wearing but suitable for a marine environment.
We are talking more oil rig than country cottage.
Although your aluminum or UPVC windows wont rust the fixings certainly will particularly if you have steel screws, fittings hinges and handles to your windows and doors in fact it is best to use fixings in the same metal as your hinges to stop electrolysis.
So far I have not found a UPVC manufacturer in Portugal who sells marine grade products.
Verandas and patios are going to move a lot with the summer time heat causing expansion and the winter causing contraction so ask your architect to specify in a drawing how your builder should construct outside stairs, verandas and terraces so that they will not let rain water into your home in the winter. You can bet your bottom dollar that if the builders are left to do “what they always do” you will sooner or later have a problem.
Do not used polished finishes such as stone or high gloss tiles outside because they will become dull and patchy in appearance very quickly. If you are going to use timber make sure that its fixed from behind or glued because the screws or nails will very quickly rust through staining the timber and failing as they rust out.
In conclusion it is harder to say what to do than what not to do.
This is what I would do – External finishes in natural stone even if it is only suspended cladding.
Windows and doors would be in powder coated aluminum and all fixings would be in aluminum.
Window glass would have UV protection and an easy clean coating.
All external metal trims and railings would be either glass or marine grade stainless steel.
Roof tiles would be fixed down and fired clay.
Oh yes, the food was fantastic. Traditional seafood rice with local wine.