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  • Writer's pictureLifetime Quality Roofing

How Bodies of Water Impact Your Home's Exterior

A waterfront home sits in the background framed by greenery with a view of water and a little sailboat in the foreground

Did you know that the ocean affects your roof? It does! And if you live in a coastal home, you should schedule regular roof inspections. The ocean has been known to cause damage to roofs, especially in coastal areas where salt water gets into cracks and crevices. This can result in leaks and other problems. Read on to find out how living near different bodies of water can impact your home.

Rainwater Buildup

The added moisture from bodies of water causes more precipitation and storms. If you live near the coast and notice water dripping down your roof, there might be a problem. Residential roofs are designed for water to roll right off, but sometimes it can puddle and cause serious roof water damage. You should call a professional immediately to inspect the situation.

Continual wet and dry cycles can also cause water damage to roofing through expansion and contraction. This allows for cracking and warping of roof shingles. If you live somewhere with high humidity, like Tampa, FL or Dallas, TX, then mold is also more likely to grow under your shingles.


Flooding is another big disadvantage to living near water. Rivers, such as the Scioto River in Columbus, the Ohio River in Cincinnati, or the Allegheny River and Monongahela River in Pittsburgh, PA, can all cause flooding during heavy rain. Make sure to check your basement after a storm to check for flooding.

A bright pile of salt sits on a black surface while little granules of salt are sprinkled on top

Salt Damage

Salt damage happens when salt water gets into your home through cracks in your roof. This can cause serious issues with your roof, such as leaks, mold growth, and even structural damage. The salt can be carried to your home via flooding or wind, and it is very abrasive on your shingles, meaning you will have to replace them more often. Risk Logic claims salt can be carried up to 100 miles inland by wind.

Saltwater corrosion can happen in any type of roofing, including cement, metals, alloys, wood, and brick. These all make up critical structural components of buildings. Severe salt corrosion can result in a building collapse. Salt corrosion in roofing tiles appears as holes in the tile, which leads to leaks and water damage.

Wood Delignification

Wooden parts of your waterfront home can become heavily damaged through wood delignification. This is the process of salt water penetrating wood and forming salt crystals. These crystals slowly eat into the wood, causing the wood to deteriorate faster than it typically would. Networx recommends using a freshwater flush to clean your home’s exterior after a flood to prevent wood delignification.

Lake Effect

If you live near the Great Lakes, like in Columbus, OH, Cincinnati, OH, or Pittsburgh, PA, then lake effect is something to keep in mind. While salt water will not be an issue, lake effect snow will be. Lake effect snow is created by the air moving over open water and gaining moisture while snow clouds get bigger and bigger. This means more snow for areas around the great lakes than in other parts of the country.

This lake effect snow will cause strain to your roof as it will be heavier than typical snow. It can also clog your gutters and create ice dams more easily, so it is important to keep an eye on your roof during the winter months.

A cozy home sits with a light colors metal roof installed by Lifetime Quality Roofing with a bright blue sky above and greenery in the background

Best Type of Roofing

The best type of roofing to keep salt corrosion at bay is a metal roof. Aluminum, stainless steel, and copper are specifically recommended for coastal homes, according to Metal Construction News. Certain coatings can be added to these types of roofs to further protect from corrosion.

Clay tiles are a popular choice for coastal homes. They are resistant to salt corrosion and they help reflect heat off of the home. However, they unfortunately absorb a lot of water. This adds to the weight of your roof which causes stress on the structural integrity of a building.

Wooden shakes also used to be a popular option for coastal homes. They add an aesthetic that is pleasing and they are also resistant to salt corrosion. This type of roofing does not last long, though, and will need to be replaced more often.


Waterfront properties are high value even with all of these downsides. They offer unique opportunities and great views. So how do you achieve a beautiful exterior while living near a body of water? There are ways to maintain your roof to keep mold, salt corrosion, and general damage at bay.

Special coatings and treated materials can be used to build your waterfront home to help prevent water damage. Make sure to seal any wood properly. Using vinyl can be a great substitute for wood when it comes to trimming around windows and doors. Look into materials specifically made for coastal buildings.

Regular cleaning will also help your home’s exterior drastically. Mold and algae can be removed with a power washer, and salt can easily be washed away. According to Anderson Painting, this will prevent salt corrosion, mold, and rust from accumulating on your waterfront home.

Schedule regular maintenance to keep your roof in shape. You should have a roof inspection after every storm to check for dents and leaks. By catching roof damage early, you can prolong the life of your roof. It can be difficult to spot roof damage from the ground, so hire a professional to get on your roof for a closer look.


While homes built by bodies of water are at more danger for damage, they are still beautiful and loved properties. By taking proper care of your property, you can stay ahead of damage.

A professional roofing company can help determine what type of roofing is best for your waterfront home. If you live near Columbus or Cincinnati, OH, Pittsburgh, PA, Tampa, FL, or Dallas, TX, then schedule a 100% free roof inspection for your waterfront home. Give Lifetime Quality Roofing a call at 614-407-7663 today!

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