Is Remodeling And Building Different On Waterfront Properties Than Inland Properties?


The answer is yes and no. Yes, as to the regulations, permits and actual construction practices and materials. But not in the way we think and plan design.

In regard to the regulations, permits and construction, there are many restrictions when it comes to waterfront properties and how they will affect our Chesapeake Bay. Items to be aware of are established wetlands, land disturbance, containing soil runoff, and first-floor elevations due to flooding and rising sea levels.

When building on the waterfront, it is important to select the correct materials that can withstand the harsh weather elements, especially during a major storm such as a hurricane or nor’easter. Due to the salt content, stainless steel screws and nails are used. Many people opt for insulation higher than regulations require, especially facing the water, as well as higher wind-rated roofing shingles. It’s subtle, but the weather can be relentless on the waterfront even on beautiful days.

Each county can be different, but all have property line setbacks from the water for new structures. Hire a professional who specializes in building on the water and who knows all the regulations before starting to design.

When designing, the same general process is used whether on the water or inland. An inland home may not have sea exposure concerns, and the views will differ. Every home is unique, as are every homeowner’s needs and wishes.

The important part is to carefully review not only what you want to design, but why. Why do you want the kitchen off the family room? Why do you want a place for the kids to hang their book bags? Reviewing why something is important will help you prioritize the desired improvement. I suggest a must-have list and a nice-to-have list. Then, as you start the process of designing your new home or renovation, you have a clear direction of what you want, why you want it, and how it will improve your lifestyle and family living.

Reach John “August” Johnson at or 410-867-0407.


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