Building near the water

kaylorlittleOctober 10, 2008

Hi everyone. I must say this forum is wonderful. We are in the planning stages and in just 2 days we have seen so many ideas and beautiful homes.

Some background info:

We have a waterfront lot on a canal off the river. Last month we were hit hard by Hurricane Ike and this has made us rethink our original plan. Our neighborhood flooded!! The surge pushed water up into the lake and the river so our neighborhood was not protected by the levee. One house had 8ft of water...Our lot had 5 feet over it. We are now wanting to build a house with the living area on the second floor....first floor is garage/shop and one large entertainment room that has stair and an elevator that lead to the second floor. We are hoping to do all the walls on the main floor out of cinder blocks and masonry blocks. This will be our support structure for the second floor.

Has anyone used masonry rocks on their homes? These are the pretty cinder blocks. They look like stone when installed and do not need to be covered by siding or bricks. Anyone have a house with living on the second floor with any advice? The water behind us is brackish to salty...what materials have any of you used that has done well around the salt water?

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo


I'm on the GA coast and we build up. We frequently use concrete filled cinder block with rebar in it for the piers. The piers are tied into the footer with rebar. Our piers are commonly coated with tabby or a stucco finish. Living areas are on the second floor and above. If you are in the velocity zone you will also need breakaway panels built into your first floor walls depending on what your code calls for. The cinder blocks that you describe aren't seen down here but I know what you're talking about. I can't see an issue with them, but you may want to compare what it would cost to stucco the exterior of the block vs. the cost of the block with a stone finish.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2008 at 2:58PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

You will need to add flood vents to the first level walls - 1 square inch per square foot of wall, I think. Or it may be 1 sq in per sq ft of enclosure. You can find lots of stuff on FEMA's web page.

Here is a link that might be useful: FEMA

    Bookmark   October 10, 2008 at 9:08PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Build it high!

I was mad at our county since they required my finished floor to be 2' above the 100 year flood plain, and no electrical or equipment at all below that level. We used superior basement walls above ground to elevate the home. On our one month anniversary in our new house we owner built for the last year, we had the worst flood in 50 years........

We had a heck of a mess to clean up in the garage and basement, but many of our neighbors lost everything.

Read up on Fema's wet floodproofing guidelines and follow them during construction. Our flood insurance went from $3800 a year to $800 per year since we were so high, the basement slab was the same level as the ground in back, floodvents etc. If there are no guidelines in your area, it is worth it since your mortgage company will require flood insurance and the cost could be more than your house payment if not done right if you are in a high risk zone.

This is as we were evacuating....
YOu can see how close it actually came:

Our neighbors were not so fortunate:

    Bookmark   October 17, 2008 at 10:44AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thank you to all for your input.

What are superior basement walls? We live in Southeast Texas so my experience with basements is limited. Is it the kind of concrete or the way they are built? I am not sure about FEMA guidelines for our area but I am familiar with the Windstorm guidelines. We are not considered to be on a flood plain because the town is protected by levees and flood gates. Ike's surge was strong enough to push water up the river into the neighborhood. If it can happen once it can happen again...I would rather be safe than sorry. They might change guidelines now that this has happened.
I would post some pics of the neighborhood but I do not know how. Any suggestions on how to post pics?

What are some tips for living on the second floor?

    Bookmark   October 17, 2008 at 11:42AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Superior walls are precast poured walls that are already insulated and assymbled on site with a crane. It took them a little over 1/2 day to finish our foundation after it was prepped. We went this route since we needed to be at least 8' high, and was too high for block walls and the cost would have been comparable to poured walls, but I feel it is a better product.

It depends on exactly how high you need to go, but a high block crawlspace may be sufficient? See if you can find some history on how high it has gotten in the past?

    Bookmark   October 17, 2008 at 2:03PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

One reason we were thinking cinder block walls was because of the look. Our neighborhood restrictions are strict. The house has to look "normal" on the outside. If we do concrete walls we are going to have to cover them with brick or stone anyway. Masonry stones covers both steps at once. Having said this I would rather have better walls that can stand flood waters. The walls will be the support walls for the second floor (living area). I have been told masonry cinder block can handle this if they are reinforced we rebar and concrete. There are not many home like that done here so I am not sure.

    Bookmark   October 17, 2008 at 3:32PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Make Ready Checklist
Hi folks! Sorry I've been incredibly absent from the...
Downsides to exposed aggregate vs broom finish concrete?
Hi, We were surprised to find out yesterday that we...
Please review my plans - help needed with bedroom arrangement
Hi folks! This is the second time I have posted our...
Finally under way but concerned...
So our home is finally being started and moving along,...
Mitch Ginn Elberton Way photos and feedback?
We have chosen Southern Living's Elberton Way to build...
Sponsored Products
Leopard Skin Safari Outdoor Lumbar Pillow
$89.00 | FRONTGATE
DENY Designs Heather Dutton Arboretum Outdoor Throw Pillow - 13735-OTHRP18
$49.00 | Hayneedle
Pura Vida Blue Rectangular: 5 Ft. x 8 Ft. Rug
$322.00 | Bellacor
Eliot Daybed - Key Largo Grass Green
Joybird Furniture
Modernoutdoor | Etra Small Bench - 60 In.
Indoor Area Rug: Counterfeit Brown/Yellow 7' 9" x 10' 6"
Home Depot
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™