Pilings are an excellent idea for beach homes or any waterfront property that is at the mercy of the elements. Homes on pilings are routinely saved from flooding, tidal swells and erosion that can affect building stability. The homes also look nicer along the ocean, and the elevated structure allows for additional storage underneath the building. This can be used to house canoes or ATVs or even to park your car. Pilings for homes can be built many different ways using a range of materials.
To build a wood piling, you can purchase freshly debarked logs from a logging company. They can be cut to any height you like and you can even specify the thickness you desire. The logs can be delivered right to your home. Once there, you can paint them with creosote or a thick, outdoor stain to protect them from mold and rot. The best wood to use is pine or a hardwood. Hardwood like maple will cost a lot more, but they will be stronger than pine. Also look into buying reclaimed telephone poles from a utility company or lumber yard.
Another option is to build concrete pilings using round forms. This is a little more difficult and requires some knowledge of concrete. To make a round form, you need a large fiberglass or plastic cylinder. It should have a bottom but no top. Fill the cylinder with concrete and let it dry. The result is a home piling. There is one problem with this however. The concrete sediments will settle to the bottom of the cylinder while it dries, making it less stable. When large cement pilings are made, they are usually spun and a special cement is used. To avoid this consider making several smaller 2 or 3-foot pilings and placing them on top of each other. Place a hole in the center where rebar can be inserted to hold them all together.
Fiberglass is another option. It is unrealistic to build these yourself. Your best bet is to purchase these pilings from a manufacturer. They are strong, need no maintenance and are lighter than concrete.