Yacht club house construction – what building materials to use.

Here are our top tips for building a Yacht club house that can be both aesthetically sympathetic to coastal Australia and hold its own against the untamed elements that will be thrown it.

More than 80% of people live within the coastal zones of Australia, according to Geoscience Australia. So building with coastal conditions in mind is a common issue for Yacht club house renovators.

The longevity and maintenance requirements of materials in a coastal environment are the most crucial considerations when planning your Yacht club house.

Here are five things you need to know:

1. Salt corrosion on buildings

Salt is highly reactive and can quickly penetrate materials and corrode metals. This affects everything from roofs to window frames and balustrades, but also steel in a building’s structure.

Architect Shane Blue from Bourne Blue says strap bracing hidden in walls is a case in point:
“You want to make sure that’s stainless steel. So even though you won’t see it, corrosion won’t compromise the integrity of the coastal building.”

Picking the right type of stainless steel will give your Yacht club house the best protection from corrosion. Make sure you know your austenitic from your ferritic – how much nickel or chromium is added to the metal – and your different grades of stainless steel.

Staining or discolouring of stainless steel – known as Tea-staining – is a result of a combination of factors, like temperature, humidity and salt. It doesn’t compromise the strength of stainless steel and it can be cleaned to keep it looking brand new.

But to avoid it in the first place, make sure you choose the most appropriate grade of stainless steel for your location. Grade 316 or equivalent corrosion resistance should be selected as a minimum if your Yacht club house is within 5kms of the surf. It may cost a bit more, but lower grade steels (such as 304 or 430) will suffer more in a coastal environment. For more on Tea-staining, click here.

Don’t forget the nuts and bolts of your coastal build need to be good quality stainless steel too. It is not possible to prevent salt deterioration to terracotta roof tiles. Click here to find out more on the effects of salt deterioration on buildings.

Wash your Yacht club house down from time to time to get rid of the salt build up.

2. How wind affects your build

A postcode by the coast means your Yacht club house is more likely to be buffeted by extreme wind conditions.

“Windows, doors, walls and roofs take the full-force of windy locations. In a location with a higher terrain category the windows and doors are stronger and the bones of the building are stronger,” says architect, Shane Blue from Bourne Blue.=

Three things to consider with regards to wind:

Where your site is located (is it in a cyclone or high wind zone)
The surrounding landscape (flat, hilly, forest)
Whether you have natural windbreaks like large trees or buildings to protect you

The last two points contribute to which ‘terrain category’ your site is in and will determine steps you need to take when building.
Which ‘terrain category’ is your house in.

Cyclones affect roughly half of Australia’s coast – from Bundaberg in QLD up around the NT and down the WA coast to roughly Carnarvon, as you can see on the map (below).

In those areas, all cladding, windows, doors (include garage doors) and soffits must be built to resist high winds. The same goes for all structural elements of the build, including footings. Don’t forget ancillary structures, like fences, sheds, gutters and water tanks.

You can find more about building in a cyclone zone in this document, published by the QLD Reconstruction Authority in the wake of Cyclone Yassi, in 2011.

Many other parts of Australia are also subject to high winds, so it’s worth checking out the Building Code of Australia’s requirements for you area.(p 418).

3. Cladding a coastal Yacht club house

Travel along any part of the coastline and you will see scores of weatherboard and fibre cement-clad buildings. Fibre cement cladding is well suited to coastal environments because it is purpose-built to stand up to extreme weather conditions. It is resistant to permanent water and termite damage, it won’t burn and is also resistant to rotting and warping.

Check out this site for more information on how fibre cement is made.

Here’s another place to find out more on fibre cement.

“There are so many buildings that are built with those materials, they just stand the test of time. They’re quite durable,” says Nathan Judd of Nathan Gibson Judd Architect

Getting the beach house look on the coast with lightweight materials is easy with

Matrix cladding will give a modern geometric look. Linea weatherboards will give your building a traditional beach house feel. Stria cladding that will add a classic rendered look.

4. Roof matters

Make sure you research the terrain category and the recommendations for fixing roofs in your area.

“If you look at any kind of sheet materials, the fixing methods for those in high wind areas are usually more intense,” explains Julie Lawrence of Base Architecture.

So don’t get caught out in an area with a higher terrain category by not researching the recommendations for fixing roofs on to buildings.

A coastal roof is also punished by wind and salt so make sure you choose location-appropriate materials.


5. Painting for the elements

DIY house painting Melbourne of the exterior of a house is messy and costly work, so you want to make sure you choose the materials that will last longest.

“Standard paints will deteriorate in coastal environments, but there are many products now that can combat these effects, providing effective coatings that can protect building materials,” says Avril  of Women at Work Painters.

Timber weatherboards on the coast may need painting as often as every 3-7 years, so it’s worth considering the lightweight fiber cement alternative. Because of the way it’s made, fiber cement cladding doesn’t warp or crack, so paint will last longer on it.