Building on the Bay

HOW DO HOMEBUYERS ENSURE THEY ARE PURCHASING A HOUSE THAT’S BUILT TO WITHSTAND A WATERFRONT CLIMATE?
When purchasing a waterfront home in the Chesapeake region, buyers should ask about past issues. Waterfront houses experience more extremes than those that are land-locked; window, door, roof flashing and chimney leaks tend to be the main areas of concern—and while home inspections may reveal some of these issues, my experience is that nuisance leaks usually present themselves in hard, wind-driven rains.

Bayfront homes are typically sited with large, unobstructed views, which allows lateral rains to batter their vertical surfaces. The hardiest homes will have stout windows installed using modern techniques; any watermarks or warping will definitely be a red flag. Ask about the age of the roof and the window-and-door package, and look for tell-tale watermarks under windows or by the chimney. When was the home last painted? Painting and caulking are essential to maintaining the watertight integrity of the exterior. Does the house have gutter guards? Overflowing gutters can cause leaking due to water sheeting down the face of the home.

Waterfront homes provide much enjoyment, but vigilant maintenance is required to keep them dry and worry-free. —Matt Long, Gate One Builders LLC, Annapolis, Maryland

A historic Murray Hill home on Spa Creek was renovated in 2007, with a contemporary addition by Gate One Builders. Renovation Architecture: Fourth Street Design Studio, Annapolis, Maryland.
Photography: The Annapolis Photographer.