Beach home maintenance 101

Expert tips to maintain your coastal property


Sand, salt, and sun. This is what beach days are made of. But these elements can also be menaces to your home. They’re the main culprits behind moldy carpets, cloudy windows, and rusted window sills. Whether your home sits oceanfront or blocks away, it requires regular, preventative maintenance to keep it in pristine condition.

Todd Leonard, Vacasa’s senior director of operations for vacation rentals in Florida and Alabama, would be the first to tell you how crucial consistent home care is—not just for preventing future costly repairs, but for earning your highest returns possible. “Oftentimes, booking a beach home is a guest’s dream vacation,” Todd says. “Your aim should be to wow and delight them with a home in top condition, resulting in excellent reviews and repeat bookings.”

Here’s his maintenance guide for retaining your beach home’s luster and even possibly increasing its value over time.

1. Prevent mildew or mold

Common occurrences in moist environments, mildew and mold can happen on potentially any surface—inside or outside your beach home. Homes that are closed up for too long or bathrooms without proper ventilation (hello, steamy showers) are likely breeding grounds for both. So, let your vacation home breathe and air it out often, Todd suggests. Most importantly, regularly clean your home and wipe down all surfaces with cleaning or anti-fungal solution.

Another area susceptible to mildew and mold: decks and roofs. The mixture of humidity and sunlight can create algae or mold. So, get them professionally—and regularly—cleaned as well.

2. Pressure wash twice a year

Over time, a sticky layer of sand, salt, mold, and moss can easily build up on your home’s exterior surfaces. If left alone, this grime can cause your beach house’s materials—like wood or stucco—to rot or deteriorate rapidly. The cost to replace these building materials can be steep. “So, get in the routine of power washing your home to keep it in tip-top shape and prevent the build-up from getting worse,” Todd says.

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3. Hire pest control

Yes, people love staying on the coast. But so do roaches, termites, and rodents. Drawn to dark, warm, and damp areas, these pests often nest in places that are hard to reach. “The best way to ensure they’re not making your home their home is to call in professionals for routine inspections,” Todd advises.

4. Choose metals wisely (or not at all)

If possible, avoid having metal parts on your home’s exterior (such as stair railings, outdoor lights, and window frames). The salt and sea air band together to make metal rust. Look for alternative materials, such as fiberglass frames for your windows and doors. Or, opt for stainless steel, aluminum, or powder coated metal. While they’re not impervious to rust, they’ll hold up a lot longer. If you already have non-resistant metal parts, paint over them to offer another shield against the elements.

plant stands dot the living area of this beachside rental in Folly Beach
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“Your aim should be to wow and delight guests with a home in top condition, resulting in excellent reviews and repeat bookings.”

5. Varnish wood

Unprotected wood, like pieces used to build your siding or your outdoor decks, is especially vulnerable to moist ocean climates. It can easily, and quickly, develop rot and mold. And over time, you could see signs of swelling and warping. “Applying varnish every season provides a protective layer to block the effects of high humidity and moisture,” Todd advises. Plus, varnish can enhance wood’s natural beauty.

6. Preserve the exterior paint

Any paint, even the highest quality, will eventually experience the same fate under intense sun (especially south-facing walls) and with constant exposure to salty sea air and sand. Left untouched, coastal home paint will fade, blister, or chalk. But, you can delay the inevitable. To keep your paint looking fresh, expect to prime and paint your home every few years. To avoid any costly repairs, consider inspecting your paint annually for cracks or other problems.

folly beach, sc beach house with two stories and wraparound deck

7. Inspect the roof

Beach areas are susceptible to extreme weather changes. Florida, for instance, has a humid subtropical climate with a long rainy season, bouts of heavy thunderstorms, intense heat, and even tornadoes. All those conditions can do a number on your roof, so Todd suggests checking it regularly for any damaged or missing shingles.

8. Wash the salt off the windows

Besides being steps from the ocean, a beach home’s biggest selling point is the view. Don’t let foggy or muggy windows—thanks to salt accumulating on the glass—ruin that for your guests, says Todd. Regular window washing will keep them clean and clear of any corroding salt particles.

9. Give floors a deep clean

Even the most careful guests will end up tracking sand into your vacation home. Sand sticks to shoes, as well as bare feet, and will get lodged in carpet fibers or scrape the finish on your wood floors. High humidity can also make your carpets vulnerable to mold and mildew. “Get your floors professionally cleaned twice a year to increase the lifespan of your materials,” Todd recommends.

10. Replace HVAC filters

HVAC systems in coastal properties have to deal with more sand and fine particles, Todd says. Replacing the filters can help keep those particles out of the rest of the HVAC unit. You can also rinse the fan blades and coils to prevent salt build-up. If parts of your HVAC systems are outside, keep the unit clear of leaves and debris and don’t plant anything within 2 or 3 feet of the unit.

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“Don’t let foggy or muggy windows—thanks to salt accumulating on the glass—ruin the view for your guests.”

11. Protect your outdoor amenities

Patio furniture, umbrellas, and other yard accessories will deteriorate and rust if not protected from the sun, sand, and moisture. One suggestion is to put these items away when you don’t have guests and during the off-season. Don’t simply cover and leave them out, as moisture can get trapped underneath and become an ideal hotbed for mold and mildew. An even better solution when decorating your beach house: invest in furniture made of durable, weather-resistant materials, like teak, POLYWOOD®, and Sunbrella®, a performance fabric.

12. Entrust a local vacation rental property manager

If you live miles away, or even just down the road, it may be unrealistic to keep up with the consistent maintenance that beach homes require. The ideal solution: have a property manager maintain your beach house for you. “Homeowners who hire Vacasa are treated to an extra dose of expert care, including regular inspections of their deck and balcony, fire extinguisher and smoke detectors, and plumbing,” Todd says.

Plus, our housekeepers go the extra mile for beach homes on top of their already fastidious cleaning routines. They’ll blow sand and debris from the driveway and walkways, inspect your deck for any popped nails or safety hazards, clean hot tubs, and check barbecue propane tanks.

Seaside vacation homes may require more upkeep, but the perks of owning a beach house far outweigh the maintenance needed to retain its condition (and hopefully grow its value). “Consider visiting your beach property at least once a year and reinvesting some of your rental revenue back into upkeep and upgrades for your vacation home,” Todd suggests. Oceanfront and coastal vacation rentals often command the highest rental rates, so putting time and money toward maintenance can be well worth it.

Beach house maintenance FAQ

It’s all too easy for guests to track sand back into your vacation home. Here are some suggestions to keep the beach at the beach:

  1. Post your “house rules” in a nice and friendly way, asking guests to be careful not to bring sand into the house and offering tips on how to do that (leaving beach toys and shoes outside, shaking out towels prior to entering the house, hosing down sandy feet, etc.).
  2. Place sand-trapping doormats both outside and inside your main entrances.
  3. Leave brushes outside for guests to brush off their feet before walking into the house.
  4. Create an outdoor drying area for sandy towels and bathing suits by nailing hooks outside.

Hire a cleaning service to thoroughly vacuum and sweep up sand before new guests arrive. Vacasa’s diligent housekeepers thoroughly clean every room after every stay.

It’s possible. Stainless steel is more resistant to rust. However, any metal can rust over time in the coast’s humid conditions if not properly cared for. Regularly cleaning your appliances (and letting them dry thoroughly), plus airing out your home often, can help to prevent any moisture from corroding your appliances. Vacasa housekeepers thoroughly clean and wipe down all appliances after every check out.

Saltwater stains on your windows aren’t only unsightly, they make glass foggy and muggy—blocking guests from fully enjoying the ocean views. Regular washes will help prevent salt from piling on in the first place. Once salt has adhered to your window, the first step is to dissolve it with basic household supplies, like undiluted white vinegar. Let the vinegar soak in, then scrub the glass and wipe clean using a lint-free cloth.

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California licenses
Vacasa Seasonals Inc.
California DRE #02160171

Vacation Palm Springs Real Estate, Inc.
California DRE #01523013

Vacasa offers property management and other real estate services directly through Vacasa LLC and through Vacasa LLC's licensed subsidiaries. Click here for more information about Vacasa's licensed real estate brokerage/property manager in your state. Vacasa’s licensed real estate brokerages/property managers include: Vacasa Alabama LLC; Vacasa Arizona LLC; Vacasa of Arkansas LLC; Vacasa Colorado LLC (Micah Victory); Vacasa Delaware LLC, 302-541-8999; Vacasa Florida LLC; Vacasa Illinois LLC 481.014072, Micah Victory Managing Broker Lic# 471.021837; Vacasa Louisiana LLC, Dana MacCord, Principal Broker, ph 504.252.0155 (Licensed in LA); Vacasa Michigan LLC, 602-330-9934; Vacasa Missouri LLC, Vicki Lyn Brown, Designated Broker; Vacasa Nevada LLC; Vacasa New Hampshire LLC,45 NH-25, Meredith, NH 03253, Susan Scanlon, Broker of Record; Vacasa Minnesota, Broker: Micah Victory, license #40877637; Vacasa New Mexico LLC, 503-345-9399; Vacasa New York LLC, 888-433-0068, Susan Scanlon, Real Estate Broker; Vacasa North Carolina LLC; Vacasa Oregon LLC; Vacasa Pennsylvania LLC; Vacation Palm Springs Real Estate, Inc., California DRE #01523013, Mark Graham, California DRE #00700720; Vacasa Real Estate LLC (licensed in Texas, Debra Brock, Designated Broker); Vacasa Real Estate LLC (licensed in Washington, Robert Brush, Designated Broker); Vacasa Seasonals Inc., California DRE #02160171, Lisa Renee Stevens, California DRE #01485234; Vacasa South Carolina LLC; Vacasa South Dakota LLC; Vacasa Tennessee LLC; Vacasa Vacation Rentals of Hawaii LLC, 69-201 Waikoloa Beach Dr. Ste. #2F17, Waikoloa, HI 96738; Vacasa Vacation Rentals of Montana LLC, Terah M. Young, Licensed Property Manager; Vacasa Virginia LLC; Vacasa Wisconsin LLC; Vacasa Wyoming LLC. In Canada, this advertisement is provided by Vacasa Canada ULC, CPBC lic. number 75826, 172 Asher Rd. V1X 3H6 Kelowna, BC.