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The original tidewater style homes were found in marshy tidal area such as shorefronts and river deltas in the southern states. While some of the older tidewater houses still exist in their initial locations, the style has been widely imitated in various parts of the country.

Distinctive features

The distinctive tidewater style features a hipped roof, slanting in all four directions, abundant windows and doors for maximum ventilation and large porches, usually running the full length of one or more sides of the house. The houses were also constructed up, off the ground, on mounds or stilts, to prevent flooding in the unpredictable tidal locations.

Moisture protection

If your tidewater home is actually in one of the tide-affected places that gave rise to the style, moisture is your key maintenance issue. Even if your building doesn't retain moisture, you'll still have to deal with warping and swelling in door and window frames. Make sure to give regular wood sealant treatments to all exposed wooden components. Of course, wait for the driest possible weather before sealing.


If your home is built of brick or stone, you will need to check for loose or deteriorated mortar at the base of the home and do what is called tuck-pointing. This involves cleaning out the old mortar until the inner surface of the joint is flat and then layering in new mortar, a little at a time until the space is filled. Brick and stone facings can also be given moisture protection treatments.
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