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3 Materials Best Suited for Exterior Architectural Finishes in Cold Coastal Environments

The Cold Coastal  Environment

Coastal home durability relies heavily on the types of materials and details used in their construction; waterfront homes in cold weather zones (just as in hot, humid zones) have to factor in the effects of harsh weather and other elements.

A comprehensive understanding of coastal environments, their risks, and stresses on structures, both residential and commercial, is an absolute necessity. Saltwater is an aggressive contributor to the degradation of outdoor construction materials. Other hydrostatic forces such as currents, tides, salt spray, waves, wind, and ice all contribute to the erosion and decay of coastal structures.

Additionally,  industrial activities and other coastal operations introduce corrosive factors such as fuels, de-icing salts, pollution, hazardous materials, and stray currents that often add to the severity of degradation and decay. Insects, marine borers, and fungi are the most wood-destructive organisms, causing significant deterioration and damage to shoreline buildings.

All these elements and threats can strip away the exterior moldings and trims of your beautiful coastal homes and businesses. Choosing the best materials for coastal construction by Worthington Millworks for your outdoor (and indoor) projects not only provides structural integrity but also reduces maintenance significantly while extending the life of your structure.

The term corrosion-resistant is used extensively. The real concern is: how long will a given material serve its intended purpose?

The answer is  dependent on the following:

The quality of materials used
The type of materials used
Where the materials are used in the structure
Whether installation techniques such as cutting, drilling and bending compromise the materials' resistance to decay
The degree of exposure to the elements and threats—structures further inland do not necessarily have the same level of exposure
Whether maintenance is performed as required

Just because a product is labeled corrosion-resistant, you should evaluate the nature of the material to determine its suitability. Also, review such things as its performance in similar environments.

Worthington Millworks products used in coastal construction have a proven record for resisting the elements with less maintenance, providing you more enjoyment through extended product life.

Coastal Construction and the Elements

A few factors should be taken into consideration when deciding which materials you need for your coastal  home or business, for example:

Your budget
The desired appearance
Functionality requirements

Keep in mind that decay is most pronounced in beachfront homes and structures located within 3,000' of the coast. Parts of your building may be subject to intermittent wet and dry periods if located in the tide and splash zone.

Choosing the Best Types of Materials for Coastal Construction

Special consideration must be given to the choice of building materials for a coastal building. More durable building materials must be used due to combat the harsh environment to which they are exposed. Additionally, more care is needed when using these materials to ensure hazard resistance and reduced maintenance.

Construction materials in a cold coastal environment should be resistant to:

flood and wind damage
icing & de-icing
wind-driven rain
salt damage
moisture decay
decay from aging, chemicals, insects, sunlight, and temperature extremes

The ability to install the material properly, as well as the ease of installation, should be given significant considerations as well. Well-selected materials can fail if not properly installed; follow the manufacturer's recommended installation procedures, pay attention to detail, and proper maintenance.

Worthington's Urethane Balustrade System

Whether you're building in the Bay of Fundy or near Lake Michigan, Illinois, one of our best performers in ice and cold coastal construction are our urethane products, namely our balustrade and entry systems. These Systems surround a galvanized steel or PVC pipe to ensure structural reliability.

While providing you exquisite detail and architectural design, Worthington's Urethane Balustrade System products are not only our most popular, but they out-perform many other products on the market. From newel posts to newel caps and from balusters to top rails, our products carry impressive lifetime (and limited) warranties.

WorthingtonStone™ Polymer Stone Balustrade System

As Worthington's most economical stone balustrade system, WorthingtonStone™  is elegant and exceptionally durable to the harsh elements that coastal construction faces. Even up close, it looks and feels like real stone and does not require painting.

WorthingtonCast™ – Fiberglass (FRP) Balustrade System

As with our other balustrade systems, the WorthingtonCast™ – Fiberglass (FRP) Balustrade Systems are minimal maintenance and very durable. These systems come with a limited lifetime warranty. A fiberglass balustrade system will be as enduring as the day it was installed--20, 30, even 100 years from now!

Our systems are easy to install and come in hundreds of sizes, colors, and styles, providing you the flexibility to design the perfect system that best suits your needs and your budget.

Visit our online showroom for all your interior decorative construction needs for your coastal home or business as well:

Brackets
Corbels
Ceiling Medallions
Decorative Moldings
Window Arches
Rosettes
And much more…