Survival Guide for Hawaii’s Corrosive Environment
Since statehood Hawaii’s population has almost doubled. The tropical weather and aloha spirit make Hawaii a desirable and expensive place to own a home.
Hawaii homeowners have been spared the substantial loss of home values seen across the country, but many are losing the battle against the islands’ corrosive environment. The higher relative humidity, heavy rains, intense sunshine, wind and salt, help speed the deterioration of the home. No one is spared, and areas with heavier rainfall or proximity to the ocean suffer the most.
Greg Kemp Contractor, a reputable Hawaii builder with 30 years custom home building experience, has developed a “checklist” of five areas of consideration that are primary in dealing with Hawaii’s harsh elements.
ROOFS: Most important in protecting home and contents. Trees that touch or overhang a roof may increase debris and deterioration. Plumbing vents should be made of lead, and most roof types should have copper or stainless steel flashing. There is a wide range of roof types and styles as well as prices so let common sense, taste and budget prevail. Lighter colors usually last longer and are cooler. Do research on product warranty and check reviews. All fasteners should be stainless steel.
GUTTERS: Important in helping to keep excessive water away from the house and any footings. Copper will last long and is attractive but is more expensive than aluminum, which comes in a variety of colors. All fasteners should be stainless steel.
WINDOWS/ DOORS: Wood is great for windows and doors; it gives a nice look and feel and can portray qualities of framed art. Unfortunately, the elements are destructive to wood and unless homeowners are diligent with cleaning, protecting and periodic refinishing of all wood surfaces and joints, decay will begin. Exterior wood doors need extra protection at the unseen top and bottom edges that seldom get painted or repainted. There are some “wood clad” vinyl and composite windows and doors available which give exterior protection with interior wood finish look. Greg Kemp Contractor suggests that vinyl should be cleaned and protected periodically with an “Armor All” type product, not harsh detergents. Use only stainless steel hardware.
PAINT: Exterior oil-based primer is superior, but there are some good water-based primers as well. Latex can go over oil but not the reverse. Do research and check reviews. Check “Consumer Reports” for the best finish paints. Use a latex/elastomeric caulking or equivalent at all joints.
FASTENERS: Hurricane strong-ties are standard on all new construction and additions. Depending on exposure, function and aesthetics, select from good, better, best: E.G. (electro-galvanized), M.G. (mechanical hot-dipped galvanized) or stainless. Nails come in the same grades. Greg Kemp Contractor uses only M.G. for framing and stainless steel for exterior and all trim work.
Not all building products on the market today are engineered or constructed of materials suitable for longevity in Hawaii’s climate. Greg Kemp Contractor uses superior design methods and products for the survival of Hawaii’s homes. Visit them at YourHomeBuilder.com