To have a seaside home to receive friends and family is the dream of many people. A place where you can hang up the hammock, to relax while others slave and toil over a hot BBQ or simply to get away from it all with a loved one.
Once you have achieved that goal, then you need to take special care of your retreat so that it will last for many years to come. Left to the ravages of the sea and to time, you will have nothing but a dream which will rapidly deteriorate due to the Maresia and the humidity. You will first notice this in the timber outside the home but by this time other hidden damage will have taken place.
You can start taking precautions by introducing simple measures such as keeping furniture several centimetres away from the wall to aid ventilation and avoid damp spots. Where possible consider fixing bathroom and kitchen cupboards off the floor and mounted on wall rails to allow ventilation behind the cupboards. Good cupboards will already have vents designed into them i.e. raised hinges (rather than flush) so the doors don’t fit tight to the frame.
If the wall is damp before the installation of the cupboard units, then the source of the dampness must be dealt with first. That resolved, you can then deal with the wall which may mean the re-rendering of the wall followed by the application of a proprietary mix of cement and acrylic resin paint to create an impermeable barrier before the installation of any units. Any timber used must be treated and dry. If painting, then consider using paint with a polyurethane base.
Any metal should also be considered for special attention. Hinges, locks etc must be of stainless steel or aluminium and be regularly lubricated. If nylon inserts are used with hinges then check they are indeed nylon and not just plastic. Read the packaging to ensure they are right for that installation.
If you are refurbishing any metal items, make sure you remove all traces of rust with a proprietary rust treatment. Note that products such as Hammerite are now available in Brasil and most specialist paint stores in João Pessoa stock it. Other paints that can be used are the synthetic based paints (Esmalte sintetico, electrostatic paints) and epoxy resins. Remember though, preparation is everything.
Internal walls can be filled and then painted with a water based acrylic to allow the walls to breathe. Always use a paint system which is specially designed for external use. There are systems which are especially good at coping with the maresia and you should look out for these in the specialist paint shops. However, don’t expect too much from your paint if the house is exposed to the sea.
The corrosive action of the maresia combined with the intense heat will be noticed, at worst, within a few months. The best you can expect is a repaint after two years. A good paint system will have bonded well, not broken up and held its colour. All paintwork should be washed down regularly to get rid of salt and dust deposits which could hold moisture and dull the paintwork.
Avoid varnish and any products which don’t form a bond or penetrate the timber. The harsh action of the sea and sun will have the system peeling in no time.
Several companies are promoting PVCu window systems but you should be as careful as if you were buying the system in the UK. There are many different grades of PVCu; consider also the hinges and ironmongery and window seals.
Electrical equipment will decay quickly especially air conditioning units and external wiring and fittings so you should be careful when choosing light fittings and fixtures. Some people advise covering electrical items in the house with plastic and some shops actually sell plastic covers for many items of furniture, white goods and domestic electrical items. However, the closing off of ventilation can actually shorten the life of these products and lead to severe deteriation.
If the opportunity arises take a look round at other houses in the area and if possible chat with the owners. See how they are coping with the effects of the sea and sun in the area.