Building in a Flood Zone – Surf Drive, Falmouth

Building in a Flood Zone – Surf Drive, Falmouth

  • New home pier and beam foundation n Falmouth, MA

Home Location – Surf Drive, Falmouth, MA
Currently under construction with a completion date late 2017

This project is a complete teardown/rebuild located directly across from Falmouth’s Surf Drive Beach facing Vineyard Sound. With its many balconies and large windows, each room provides unobstructed sightlines with breathtaking views of Martha’s Vineyard and nearby Nobska Light.

Surf Drive is within a designated FEMA Flood Hazard area which is at a high risk of damaging winds and flooding due to storm surge. To reduce flood insurance costs, this homeowner opted for a raised pier and beam foundation common for homes built in areas prone to earthquakes or hurricane strength winds.

A pier and beam foundation features concrete piers set deep into the ground. A pier and beam foundation does not rest directly on the ground. Instead, it is elevated about 18” above, with utility units for plumbing and electricity installed in this crawlspace.

New home pier and beam foundation n Falmouth, MA

New home pier and beam foundation in Falmouth, MA

Building a home with direct exposure to the open ocean requires the use of materials that tolerate or repel the corrosive effects of saltwater, salt air, gusts of wind, harsh UV rays and a persistent moist environment that quickly breaks down many typical building materials causing mold, corrosion, and decay.

For this home, we used double-coated, pre-stained shingles which offer U.V. protection, are water repellant and mildew resistant. Additional material choices for this home included vinyl windows and composite decking.

We also used a new structural “zip” wall panel system that provides a built-in energy-efficient barrier to keep moisture out by reducing air leakage that can cause moisture damage. These green-colored wall panels create a draft proof system with a perm rating similar to conventional sheathing covered with house wrap.

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