Would you swap your residence for a luxury home by the beach? You and your family will be nestled away from the traffic and crowds. Work and school are only a few miles away. Sunsets never looked as mesmerizing until now. The ocean keeps you robust - sounds of the waves sloshing against the shore...induce a peaceful feeling inside of you. Living in an oceanfront home soothes your soul... but the ocean is doing much more than creating balance in your life.

The ocean is suspending millions of particles called “aerosols” into the atmosphere. These sea-salt aerosols are formed by the wind blowing across the ocean’s delicate surface. Wind force generates waves which break into foamy crests. Air bubbles form within the surface, bursting and ejecting vast amounts of water droplets containing salt. Some of these particles descend to the surface...moving inland with the wind and settling on our precious homes (and everything else).

Ocean Lifestyle

Homeowners experience a tremendous impact adapting to life near the ocean. With the serenity of living in an oceanfront home, comes dealing with issues arising from salt air. The closer your home is to the beach the effects are more prevalent. In addition, the ocean air combined with Hawaii’s high humidity means more salt crystals. As they form, sea-salt aerosols are known to increase in size when humidity rises.

Paint on a home near the beach takes a wallop. Over time, the appearance and texture of the paint begin to change. An accumulation of salt particles on the surface causes paint to deteriorate faster. During summer months of increased humidity, the moisture can add more trouble to the salt crystals left on the paint. Paint damage intensifies if left untreated. Also, when salt deposits are not adequately removed prior to painting, efflorescence (water in salt aerosols evaporate) recurs or paint fails to adhere. Salt crystals can also form on and erode concrete, brick, and stucco surfaces.

Windows of your house are also affected by ocean air. A white residue can build up on the window glass. If overlooked for a long period, the glass weakens and the metal or aluminum frames will show signs of corrosion. When it rains, water can seep through gaps around the casings. Moisture issues can arise and increase the time (and cost) spent on maintaining your home. Screen and sliding doors are also vulnerable to damage caused by sea-salt aerosols, especially if the materials are made of metal.

Metal components are particularly susceptible to the harmful effects of salt air. In fact, sea-salt aerosols combined with Hawaii’s humidity, accelerates corrosion of metal objects and structures. Metal items, such as barbecue grills, bikes, tools, and air conditioners are just some examples of what crystalline salt eat away at. An ocean breeze can also render damage to automobiles. Extra precaution must be taken to preserve the life of your car. Aluminum, a source of metal, is also prone to deteriorate in ocean environments. Interestingly, as stainless steel is noted for its corrosion resistance, this metal succumbs to corrosion in certain atmospheric conditions. Its protective layer (chromium oxide) can break up in salt air. Stainless steel just does a better job of tolerating salt.

Liven Up Windows and Doors

There are products known to effectively remove salt from all surfaces around the home. It’s best to check with a clerk at a home improvement store about what’s available. There is a wide variety of products to suit your situation.

As for home remedies, most mixtures consist of the same ingredient - white vinegar. The acidity in vinegar works well as a cleaning agent. Below is the basic solution for using vinegar to clean window glass.

  1. Combine 4 tbsp. ammonia, 2 tbsp. vinegar, and 1 quart of water into a spray bottle.
  2. Spray mixture on the salt-covered windows.
  3. Use a squeegee to distribute the solution to all parts of the window.
  4. Scrub trouble spots with a soft cloth.
  5. Wipe windows dry with a chamois, paper towel, or crumpled newspaper.
  6. Spray more solution if needed and repeat the procedures.

Below are steps to repair and repaint metal doors damaged by corrosion. A short-nap roller can be used on the smooth surfaces. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for drying times. Protect surrounding areas from paint-spill by using a drop cloth.

  1. Remove the door from its frame and hinges or (keep it open using a chair).
  2. Use a wire brush to remove rust from the corroded area. Wipe off debris.
  3. Fill dents or holes with an automotive body filler.
  4. Smooth the surface evenly with a putty knife. Allow the area to dry completely.
  5. Sand down the filler with a 100-grit sandpaper working down to 150-grit.
  6. Wipe the entire door using an all-purpose degreaser on a clean rag.
  7. Cover the doorknob (and other hardware) with painter’s tape.
  8. Apply a coat of rust-resistant primer. Allow to completely dry. Repeat if necessary.
  9. Paint with an exterior paint formulated for metal doors.
  10. Remove the painter’s tape after the paint has completely dried.

Preventive Routine

Living on an oceanside property requires additional work. Maintaining your home regularly is the key to preventing and minimizing salt-air damage. Even if you don’t leave near the beach, these preventive measures can help preserve the quality of your home.

  1. Coat the window glass with a water-repellent product.
  2. Use a hydrophobic glass cleaner and protectant.
  3. Apply a coat of car wax to metal window frames.
  4. Protect all metal types with anti-corrosion coatings.
  5. Pressure wash the exterior of your home or use a power brush.
  6. Avoid fasteners made of metal if possible.
  7. Use specialty products that will both remove and prevent rust.
  8. Use anti-rust primers before painting.

Back Home

Now that we’re back home...I have second thoughts about living near the beach (even if wifi was free). Writing this blog made me want to stay put and not deal with sea-salt aerosols. I can achieve balance right where I’m at. What about you?