Building a Beach Home in San Clemente? Use These Expert Tips

Building a Beach Home in San Clemente? Use These Expert Tips

  • Eddie Hodges
  • 08/11/22

San Clemente, CA, sits between Los Angeles and San Diego along the Pacific coast. It's home to approximately 65,000 residents and is coveted for its temperate year-round weather, rolling hills, mountain and ocean views, and its architectural style – Spanish Colonial. This architecture amongst San Clemente, CA homes for sale features red clay roof tiles and thick, white stucco walls, which, along with the few small windows, keep the house cool during warm weather.

To offset this relatively enclosed housing space, the style often features an open-air courtyard where you can feast al fresco, sit by the fire pit on cool evenings, or simply revel in the warm weather. As white stucco walls are minimalist, houses built in this style are traditionally crafted with heavy, exposed wooden beams for both strength and aesthetics. As such, San Clemente’s city slogan is "Spanish Village by the Sea.” It was home to former United States President Richard M. Nixon, whose San Clemente, CA real estate property was nicknamed “The Western White House” and overlooked Trestles – one of the West Coast’s prime surfing spots.

The San Clemente Pier is 94 years young and stretches 1,200 feet in length. Its iconic Fisherman’s Restaurant and Bar allows diners to enjoy excellent fresh seafood along with stunning views of the Pacific Ocean. Below it lies the San Clemente Beach Trail, about 2 ½ miles of beachfront for those aiming to take a romantic stroll at sunset.

If you’re looking to construct your own beach home in San Clemente to have your own slice of Southern California paradise, let’s take a closer look at what you should know beforehand.

Hire a knowledgeable and experienced contractor


Just because you might have a sizable budget to build a majestic beachfront home amidst San Clemente, CA real estate doesn’t mean you have limitless clearance or control. Interview your potential builders to discover if they are well-versed with the California Coastal Commission and the California Coastal Act, and know what they’re all about. The Commission’s goal is to preserve the state’s shoreline and ecosystem by partnering with cities and counties to plan and regulate water and land use all along the coastline.

It oversees all the development of beachfront homes and parcel division, structures, and zoning. In other words, you must abide by the Commission's rules and regulations regarding building properties and obtain all the permits required. If you don't, you could face fines or, worse, the possibility of having to tear down your construction.

‍By choosing a builder with extensive beachfront home construction experience, you’ll be better assured your contractor will comply with the relevant commissions and have a network of established vendors which provide necessary resources for the project.

‍Beachfront properties cost more to maintain


Not only does building a beachfront property amongst San Clemente, CA homes for sale cost more than other custom homes further from the coastline, but their maintenance costs are also higher as well. Why? Simply put: it’s the elements.

Sand, for example, can exfoliate your property if winds are strong enough. The Pacific Ocean has the most salt content of any ocean on earth, and sea spray which hits your home can damage its exterior over time, as can its waves if you're too close to the shore. The home costs more to design, build, insure, and repair compared to non-beachfront homes. These conditions can also harm and corrode outdoor furniture and structures and electrical components, breaker boxes, and wiring, which, if left unmaintained, could cause potentially dangerous shocks.

Homeowners should also be prepared to pay more for flood insurance and disaster coverage in addition to their standard homeowner’s policies. Additionally, be aware of the flood plain and the land elevation to ensure your new home is far away from these potentially risky elements even before ground is broken.

Select the best materials money can buy

All along the coast, there are natural weather elements that will wear away at home. Corrosion, high winds, decay, rain, flood levels, and wave damage are just a few factors that can cause damage to your home over time.

Where homes in non-coastal environments aren’t exposed to these elements, their building materials are far less hearty in nature. However, beachfront dwellings must be designed and built with materials that are meant to withstand these extreme elements and weather conditions. For example, home exteriors could include structural sheathing for the exterior walls and secondary moisture barriers for the home’s flashing, as well as impact-resistant window glazing and other flood-resistant building materials.

Proximity to the ocean is, in itself, a corrosive atmosphere, and humidity can wreak havoc inside and out by causing mold and mildew buildup. Even though the West Coast doesn't historically suffer from the same number or intensity of storms as its counterpart in the east, this doesn't mean one shouldn’t be prepared for them.

Homeowners of former San Clemente, CA homes for sale should understand that ocean currents can create hurricane-force trade winds. Also at risk of occurrence are rising sea levels, catastrophic flooding, and mudslides. For example, throughout the Malibu hills, wildfires have traditionally damaged miles of land and homes in their path during fire season in late summer, only to suffer more damage from flash floods that occur in the fall. With climate change making the world's weather more unpredictable, preparation for all scenarios is a necessity.

‍Roofing options include clay tiles, slate tiles, metal finishes, or western red cedar. Steel roofs are exceptionally long-lasting and weatherproof, and they also provide energy efficiency for the home by reflecting heat from the sun as opposed to absorbing it like other roofing materials. For a home’s exterior finish, concrete is a strong, effective choice, but for those wanting a more traditional exterior, acrylic paint also holds up well because it is fade-resistant and can handle large amounts of rain, wind, and other weather patterns.

Looking for home builders in San Clemente, CA?

If you are interested in learning more about building a custom beach home in San Clemente or about San Clemente real estate, please don’t hesitate to reach out to Opulent Design-Build for expert guidance on California coastal properties.



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