Houses may be built on stilts for a number of reasons, and these can be reasons related to location, soil conditions, views, unstable ground and so forth.
In order to establish the best type of floor for your house on stilts, it’s important to first understand the reason the house was built on stilts to begin with.
If your house on stilts was built long ago and the house’s structure is subject to instability and constant movement, then the flooring options are limited. If the house has been built using newer building technologies, then the possibility exists to use most types of flooring, dependent on location.
To establish the best type of floor for your house on stilts, you should first determine the reasoning for your house having been built on stilts in the first place. If the house is built on the coast, it will have different flooring requirements to a house built away from the coast.
The age of the structure also makes a difference to the type of flooring which will be suitable for your specific project.
Suitable Floors For Coastal Homes on Stilts
Because houses on stilts are extremely popular in coastal regions, we’re going to look at the best types of floors that are suitable for coastal regions. Because of modern building technologies allowing for extremely stable construction, they will be suitable for houses on stilts.
Because of the high incidence of sand and salt on the shore, choosing the right floor for your coastal home is critical. Because some floors are better suited to survive coastal conditions than others, it’s critical to choose the right flooring material.
Engineered hardwood floors are a popular choice among coastal homeowners. While these floors are incredibly popular and appealing, they do not compare to genuine hardwood floors, but they may perform better in high-moisture locations.
This is particularly true in bedrooms, baths, and, naturally, coastal locations with a lot of moisture.
Contemporary engineered hardwoods have a much closer similarity to real hardwood in terms of appearance. When you consider that this form of flooring is frequently less expensive and easier to install, it’s a huge plus.
Concrete floors, on the other hand, are undoubtedly the most long-lasting of the coast’s flooring options. Concrete floors are low maintenance, but they are generally more expensive than other flooring options. When compared to other flooring options, concrete flooring is also relatively cold, however, this is readily addressed through the use of rugs.
Another fantastic flooring option for the seashore is reclaimed hardwood. It is long-lasting, appealing to the eye, and exceedingly resilient. It’s commonly made of old-growth wood harvested from mature trees, which gives it natural strength and longevity.
Reclaimed hardwood, on the other hand, can be costly to install as well as to maintain. This sort of wood may not do well in moist environments, where warping is a possibility.
Because of their density, robustness, and ease of cleaning, tiled floors are ideal for seaside homes. Tiles are water-resistant, making them an easy-to-clean flooring option that also looks good in a coastal setting.
Reasons For Building on Stilts
There are numerous reasons why somebody would decide to build their house on stilts. Houses on stilts have been around for centuries, and have developed across the world in different ways for completely different purposes.
Most often we see houses on stilts being built in coastal regions as well as subtropical regions. In these circumstances, building on stilts helps to protect the structure from damage by floods, as well as to take full advantage of the views on offer.
On a sloping site in the suburbs, it might be preferable to build your house on stilts to allow you to create a single-level house on a sloping site.
On unstable ground, you will best be served by building on stilts, as the piles are driven deep into the ground in order to ensure stability for the structure.
On steep coastal sites, you might want to build on stilts to ensure that the house remains at the highest possible elevation in order to take advantage of the best views of the ocean.
In the instance where you have a site with sensitive flora, building on stilts allows you to construct a home that has the least possible negative impact on the site below it.
When building a house over water, stilts/columns allow you to build right over the water’s edge, creating the potential for remarkable architecture which interacts with the water in the best possible way.
Maximizing views is another major reason why you would build a house on stilts, as well as ensuring better ventilation below the house itself.
Some houses may be built on stilts in order to increase their levels of sustainability in terms of design, while another major reason for building on stilts would be to protect the house from flooding. This is often the primary reason for elevating the building on stilts.
Advantages of Building on Stilts
Besides protecting houses from flooding, houses on stilts also offer the added advantage of preventing entry of vermin and other animals into the home. Simultaneously, these houses provide ventilation due to the ability of air to move underneath the house.
There is the potential to enjoy the best views on offer if a house is elevated on stilts, especially in a coastal region where ocean views are possible.
What Type of Foundation is Best For a Beachfront Home
Pier and beam foundations or pile foundations are the finest options for beachfront houses. This is owing to the foundations’ ability to withstand harsh coastal conditions as well as create stability in unstable soil conditions such as sandy coastal sites.
Because of the sandy settings present around the coast, some foundation types are more suited to these conditions than others.
In addition to the structural advantages, pier or pile foundations might provide better vistas and breezes for the residence. Because of the elevated location provided by this type of foundation structure, this is often the case.
Pier & Beam Foundations
For a coastal home, pier and beam foundations are considered the best solution. Beachfront sites are known for their unstable, sandy soil conditions, and pier and beam foundations are ideally suited for these environments.
Pier foundations are a strong and safe structures that may be easily altered to a range of challenging ground conditions.
This construction, also known as post and pier foundations, is made up of square or circular concrete pads set at appropriate locations around the building’s framework. The footing pads are dug deep into the earth and usually placed on bedrock or another sturdy subterranean feature.
Timber columns are joined to the footings once the concrete footing pads have been installed. Using girders, these columns are joined to one another. Girders refer to the horizontal timber (or steel) beams that support the structure of the building above.
Due to its capacity to withstand shifting earth and loose soil, which are common in sandy coastal locations, this type of foundation is suitable for a beachside environment.
Another fantastic alternative for a seaside home foundation is pile foundations. Individual supports are pushed deep into the ground until they reach a bedrock support layer that is stable.
This helps the house to survive flooding and storms, as well as provides a sturdy support structure in less-than-ideal soil conditions like sandy coastal locations.
Pile foundations enable homes to be built in such a way that floodwaters are unable to reach the dwelling and cause harm to the structure.
Water is injected into the ground to set the pilings, which are then held in place by the pressure of the surrounding sand.
8″ by 8″ pilings are buried a minimum of 8 feet underground, or 16 feet underground for structures closer to the sea.
Homes built on piles also have the advantage of being movable in the event of settling or erosion. This relocation is extremely simple, and these residences can be raised or reset as needed. If necessary, the residence can even be loaded into a truck and transported to a new place.
Types of Pilings
For many years, timber pilings have been used in coastal construction projects. They’re perfect for damp areas and soils with a lot of loose particles. Buildings in flood zones, such as coastal locations, are typically required to be elevated above the floor level by the majority of building regulations.
The pilings become the most structurally significant part of the construction project due to the exposure to harsh circumstances and the reliance on a secure foundation to keep the building intact.
Despite its many advantages, pile foundations are more expensive and take much longer to construct than ordinary foundations.
There are many different types of pilings used in coastal construction projects, and each has advantages and disadvantages depending on whether they are built of concrete or wood.
When it comes to strength vs cost, square and circular timber pilings (Southern yellow pine) offer good quality options. This type of wood can also take a variety of treatments, giving it a lot of versatility.
Timber pilings that have been covered in a protective polymer membrane that adheres to the wood are known as polymer-coated pilings. This polymer barrier protects against wood borers, dry rot, and termites, which would otherwise cause damage. The polymer layer also protects against harmful UV radiation and the effects of freezing.
Pilings for gun barrels are typically solid pilings with a consistent diameter throughout their length. This style of piling has the advantage of combining the strength of normal round pilings with the uniformity of square pilings.
When it comes to water, gun barrel pilings are great because water may pass more rapidly and smoothly around the pilings, causing the structure to become less damaged.
Another benefit of gun barrel piling is that it protects against marine borers and termites when compared to square pilings. This is owing to the lack of exposed heartwood.
Why Does a Beach House Need a Stronger Foundation?
Typical foundation systems are usually sufficient for most buildings in a typical residential neighborhood. However, there are other concerns with waterfront property, including strong winds, poor soil conditions, and floodwaters.
The aforementioned extreme conditions can make it difficult to build long-lasting foundation systems.
Erosion is a common occurrence on sandy land. It’s possible that the land beneath the foundations will be gradually removed, causing the structure to collapse.
As a result, the majority of building rules restrict typical slab construction in coastal areas. This is due to the larger surface area of this sort of foundation, which would be exposed to sea swells slamming upon the home.
The more of the foundation’s surface area that comes into contact with water, the greater the risk of the structure collapsing. As a result, residences on the coast typically require an open foundation system that allows water to move freely between the structure’s elements.
There is normally a minimum height requirement for the main deck of the home to ensure that floodwaters do not reach the main part of the house, while these floodwaters can safely flow beneath the house.
As can be seen from the above, the best type of flooring for a house on stilts depends on a multitude of factors. The location of the house is extremely important, as this will affect the type of flooring which is best suited for the location.
Stilt houses on the coast, for example, will have different flooring requirements than houses built on stilts further inland.
The other major consideration is the type of stilt or piling foundation. While older houses built on stilts may sway in the wind or have issues with moving foundations in certain soil conditions, newer houses on stilts are exceptionally stable. This means that the floors in these cases no longer must accommodate movement issues.