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RE: beach front construction materials

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Treated conventional lumber will stay around a long time.  Wind-blown rain
has a way of finding its way in through any leaky joints.  No matter what
piling materials you use there will be damage over time.  I'm partial to
wood - salt water seems to be less damaging.  Use 316L stainless steel bolts
for the connections of elevated beams.  If your timbers piles only come up
to concrete grade beams, there won't be a problem with the timber because of
the lack of air/water interface.  You can place marine grade plywood on the
exterior.  With new piles make sure the cut ends are coated with
preservative. CMU is a good choice, but gets heavy.  It still needs a good
protective coating.

If you use prestressed concrete piles, you can protect them with various
"repair wraps".  There are all kinds of fiberglass, composites, and
cementitious repair coatings that are put on bridge and pier piles all over
the place in the Tidewater area.  They end up looking clean and neat  The
Navy has some publications on these, plus you can do some internet searches.
(It's been a little while since I spec'd some).  The repair wraps can also
be placed on timber.

Anytime the Navy use exterior steel, it gets coated with G90 galvanizing
followed with three coats of paint.  We've built fiberglass structures also.
Expensive, but there are all types of cross-sectional shapes and connectors.
We have used them build platforms around radar installations and in
acid-rich environments of sewage pump stations.  Strong, but somewhat

Anodized aluminum might be a good choice.  I spec'd it in the Azores once.
I not current on expense or exposure to salt-water, but it is strong and
lightweight.  You could probably used it in conjunction with conventional
lumber studs and plywood sheathing and stainless steel fasteners.  Just keep
the aluminum separated from concrete - a simple coating or neoprene pad.

Coatings, coatings, coatings!

Glenn C. Otto, P.E.
A Structural Engineer
Virginia Beach, VA

-----Original Message-----
From: Mark D. Baker [mailto:shake4bake(--nospam--at)]
Sent: Monday, March 14, 2005 4:57 PM
To: seaint
Subject: beach front construction materials

Any comments on type of materials used for beach front residential
construction that are resistant to the climate?

On a current 2 story project our client (a very succesful commercial
contractor) want to eliminate all wood by using cmu walls, metal stud
partitions, barjoist - metal pan - lt.wt. conc. floor, metal truss roof. As
we are getting into project, the entire structure will need a caisson
foundation system supporting structural slab and the materials described
above. We are now looking for alternative superstructure materials which
aren't so darn heavy due to the impact on foundation system.

We are now thinking of a structural steel vertical/lateral system with
infill for walls. The question is, metal studs, engineered lumber, or just
what for infill would be good to achieve owners desire of climate

If metal studs, every time you cut a stud or drill a screw you are
compromising the electroplating so..

If engineered lumber, just how well would Timberstrand studs stand up to a
beach climate compared to stick lumber..

At this point I'm fishing for ideas, past experiences, etc.


Mark D. Baker

Baker Engineering

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