Life on a shoreline can be wonderful, but it also brings issues. One of the most significant differences between owning a regular residential home and a waterfront property is the constant watch for shoreline erosion. With heavy storms and flooding, the ability of lakes to withstand such impacts is tested. Many property owners install a seawall to protect against erosion and damaging storm surges.
What Is a Seawall?
A seawall is a structure that protects the shoreline and surrounding property from erosion and flooding. Water levels can change quickly without adequate structural protection, resulting in flood damage or shoreline interference with boats, fishing spots, and other recreational activities. Seawalls provide a strong base that protects beaches, wetlands, and wildlife by blocking off unwanted sea surges and storm damage.
In addition to protecting against erosion and storms, seawalls are also crucial in maintaining proper water depths in their area of function. This is particularly important for boat docks that rely on water access. Seawalls can help keep water levels stable and prevent unexpected changes that could damage boat docks and other structures on lakefront properties.
There are two basic types of seawalls: riprap or stone embankments and vertical walls made of concrete, masonry, or other materials. A well-constructed seawall protects waterfront properties from floodwaters, storm surges, and wave erosion. Like any structure on your property, seawalls require regular maintenance.
There are several things property owners can do to prevent seawall damage.
Control plant growth - while some seawalls incorporate landscaping, not all plant growth is positive. Heavy plant growth and weeds can bore deep underground and cause cracks to form in your seawall. As these cracks become more severe, your seawall's durability will be compromised.
Keep the weep holes clear - weep holes are openings that allow water from behind the seawall to escape. Water pressure can build up and cause the wall to crack if weep holes become clogged with debris. To prevent this damage, regularly inspect the weep holes and clear them of debris.
Perform regular inspections - inspect your seawall and the surrounding area every few months. Contact a seawall repair company for a professional inspection if you notice any changes or problems.
Signs Your Seawall May Need Repairs
Your seawall must maintain its structural integrity to protect your property against erosion. It's essential to inspect your seawall for the following problems regularly:
- Chipping or cracking along the top of the seawall cap
- Large or widening gaps between seawall slabs
- Slabs that are bowing, leaning, or misaligned
- Deteriorating slabs
- Visible rust stains on the seawall
- Small holes or voids next to the seawall
- Soil erosion behind the seawall
Heavy rains, high tides, and storms can quickly turn a minor seawall issue into a significant problem. In addition to being a safety hazard, a damaged seawall detracts from your property value and results in parts of your yard or dock becoming unusable. The longer you put off repairs, the worse the damage will become.
Seawall Repair Options
When it comes to repairing a seawall, there are three main options to consider:
Excavation and Replacement
Tearing out a damaged seawall (or a section of the wall) and replacing it is time-consuming and environmentally damaging. Replacing a seawall is the most expensive repair option as obtaining required permits, excavation, and new construction is labor intensive and requires heavy equipment.
Many contractors and property owners attempt to fill sinkholes and plug seawall leaks with cement grout. This approach is time-consuming, labor intensive, and adds weight to an already stressed seawall. These types of repairs are rarely long-lasting.
Polyurethane seawall repair has several advantages over both excavation and cement grout repair methods. Polymer foam is used to push the water out, lifting and leveling sea walls to prevent the need for expensive replacements. Polymer foam can fill voids, stabilize loose soil, and seal leaks at a fraction of the cost of a complete seawall replacement. Polyurethane seawall repair requires minimal disruption, is rapidly installed, and is environmentally friendly. Repairs made with polyurethane resin are long-lasting and cost-effective.
More Information About Seawalls
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Why Choose RT Docks for Seawall Repair?
RT Docks has partnered with the Alchemy-Spetec seawall repair network to protect residential and commercial properties from loss and damage along the shoreline. We use polyurethane foams that react with moisture in the soil and expand to fill voids while they permeate the soil to form a solid, strong, watertight mass to repair seawalls. These polyurethane foams seal cracks and defects, as well as fill voids and stabilize soil. Most of our repairs can be completed in less than a day.
RT Docks has completed residential and commercial projects in Missouri, Illinois, and Kansas, all with the same high level of precision and quality. With over 25 years of experience, we take pride in our work, and your satisfaction is guaranteed. We are licensed, insured, and bonded for your protection.
If you live in the greater St. Louis metropolitan area or the Lake of the Ozarks, call us at 636-317-5636 to schedule an inspection and free estimate.