The Difference in Seawalls

A seawall is used for preventing shoreline erosion from water over time. Due to water’s acidic nature, it will corrode soil and sand away and strip back a shoreline. A seawall offers a barrier of protection that will leave a shoreline in the same shape as it has been. There are different methods of shoreline protection to choose from, and we’ll discuss which method is best for your environment.

Do I Need A Seawall?

You’ll find a lot of seawalls in public bodies of water and near the ocean. They are also very common on residential properties. A seawall is needed to protect a shoreline against erosion, and to prevent flooding when the water rises. They are great for maintaining the value of property. If you own property near water with a lot of fluctuation, you’ll probably want a seawall. It’s not required, but it will certainly benefit your property.

What Are The Types of Seawall?

There are 3 different types of Seawall: Vertical, Curved, and Mound. A vertical seawall is built with panels sticking straight up vertically. The are designed to deflect wave energy and absorb any possible damage. These are the most common type of seawall found due to the simplicity. The drawback to a vertical system is the possibility of damage if a storm produces a wave larger than the wall. It is possible for water to get behind the wall and cause damage in that case.

Vertical Seawall

Curved seawalls are more anchored into the ocean floor and follow a natural curve of a shoreline to absorb energy. They are designed to handle taller waves and offer toe protection, which give them a benefit over vertical seawalls. Curved seawalls are more complex to install than vertical systems, so they will cost more as well. They are able to absorb waves better than a vertical seawall, but for residential areas without a lot of waves on the water a vertical system is the best option for the budget.

Mounded Seawall (Rip-Rap)

A more natural method of shoreline protection is to created a mounded seawall out of stone. This is usually called rip-rap. These are installed by laying down a layer a filter fabric known as geotextile to prevent soil from moving while the water passes through the over top layer of stone and gravel. This is by far the cheapest option of shoreline protection but it doesn’t provide all the protection that seawalls made of stronger materials do.

Cost of Seawall Construction

The cost of seawall construction will differ depending on what type of seawall you require. The cheapest option available is simply coating a shoreline with rip-rap. Before paying for rip-rap, be sure to decide if you want to sacrifice the protection a seawall will offer for a cost friendly option. In areas with lots of water activity and waves, this isn’t the smart choice. A curved seawall is the most complex solution, so it is the most expensive. If you’re interested in a new seawall or help with shoreline management, look up your local marine construction company and request a site inspection. It’s always better to have an expert come decide the best solution for you. Proper shoreline management will prevent erosion and increase property value, so it pays off over time!

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