Weatherproof materials protect a home by Spire Architecture in Annapolis. © D.J. Glisson, Firefly Images 

Ask the Pros: Builder

Advice on designing the perfect home by the bay

How should homeowners select exterior materials to withstand the elements on a waterfront home?

First and foremost, look into swing-out casement windows and out-swing doors on the water side of the home. As you get driving rains and high winds, they will simply be blown shut, keeping the elements out of the home, as opposed to in-swing windows and doors that will be blown in and will let water into the house.

In terms of siding, it really boils down to personal choice and style. Most cement-board materials such as James Hardie products are very durable and don’t have rot issues like traditional woods. But in a waterfront setting, the preparation under the siding is most important. We utilize a “zip” system that installs a water barrier under the sheathing to block out moisture. —Aaron Drummond, TailorCraft Builders, Severna Park, Maryland