A seawall is a barrier constructed on the shoreline of a body of water. It’s designed to protect the adjacent land from the destructive force of incoming waves and prevent erosion. Seawalls can be constructed using various materials such as concrete, stone, steel, and timber, and their design can vary depending on the location and type of coastline.
Seawalls serve multiple purposes, including protecting coastal cities and towns from flooding caused by storm surges, enhancing beach reclamation efforts, and providing a platform for recreation and leisure activities. They also offer protection for residential and commercial properties located along the coast.
Common Seawall Problems in Florida
One of the most common seawall problems in Florida is erosion. Saltwater can be incredibly corrosive, leading to the gradual deterioration of the concrete, steel, or timber that make up the wall. This issue is often compounded by exposure to storm surges during hurricanes or tropical storms. This can result in structural damage, requiring repairs or even complete seawall replacement.
Another common problem is seawall subsidence, where the wall sinks or settles due to changes in the underlying soil composition. This can cause significant structural issues, including cracks or bulges in the wall or even complete failure, leading to flooding and property damage. Factors such as soil compaction, underground water movement, and changes in the water table can all contribute to this problem.
Florida’s extensive coastline means that many different types of seawalls are in use, each with its own set of issues. For example, timber seawalls are often susceptible to rot and insect damage, while concrete seawalls can be impacted by the freeze-thaw cycles in some regions of the state.
The Benefits of a Seawall
The benefits of a seawall include the following:
Prevents flooding – A seawall can prevent flooding in low-lying areas and reduce the damage caused by storm surges and hurricanes. The wall acts as a barrier, deflecting the energy of the waves and reducing their height and intensity. This helps to prevent the waves from washing away beaches, dunes, and other coastal habitats.
Helps stabilize coastlines and prevent erosion – A seawall can protect shorelines by creating a barrier that reduces the energy the waves carry and provides a solid base for vegetation to grow on. This can help to reduce the rate of coastal erosion and prevent landslides caused by the erosion of cliffs and other steep slopes.
Creates an environment for recreational activities – A seawall can provide a safe and stable environment for recreational activities, such as swimming, boating, and fishing. These activities are enjoyed by people of all ages and can be a significant economic benefit for coastal communities.
Enhance the beauty of coastal landscapes – A seawall can provide a visually appealing feature that can enhance the beauty of coastal landscapes. Seawalls can be designed to blend in with their surroundings and can be decorated with murals and other artistic elements, adding to the enjoyment of beach-goers and tourists.
How long do concrete sea walls last?
On average, a well-designed concrete sea wall can last over 50 years, and some can extend to over a century. However, the durability and lifespan of these walls depend on several variables, such as the intensity and frequency of extreme weather conditions, the presence of saltwater and strong waves, and the amount of maintenance and repair work the structure receives.
How do you fix a crack in a sea wall?
The first step is to assess the extent of the damage. A professional engineer or contractor should evaluate the severity of the crack to determine the best approach for repair. The repair method will depend on various factors, including the size and location of the crack, as well as the type of materials used in the sea wall’s construction.
If the crack is small and limited, it may be repaired using epoxy or polyurethane foam injection. This method injects a sealant into the crack to fill it and prevent further water penetration. However, this method is unsuitable for more severe cracks or those located in critical sections of the sea wall. In these cases, a more extensive fix may be necessary, such as building an additional concrete foundation or reinforcing the existing structure with steel.
Sea wall repairs typically require large-scale equipment, so hiring trained professionals with the expertise and experience to carry out the repair work is crucial. Additionally, repairs should be done promptly to avoid escalating the problem and further damage to the property, which will inevitably result in higher maintenance and repair costs.
Seawall and Bulkhead Repair Options
One of the economically feasible alternatives to repairing a distressed or failed seawall structure is Targeted Grout Injection–also known as TGI. The TGI solution consists of injecting a polyurethane resin through a 3/8″- ID port to stop leaks and to fill underground voids.
Our products are extremely thin liquid resins and react with moisture when injected into soil, forming a rock hard, water-tight mass. Prime Flex 910 is used to stabilize loose soils or sands, stop underground water flows and leaking sea walls. Prime Resins Products are inert and harmless to our environment. These products are ANCI/NSF certified for use in potable water tanks.
Other Erosion Control Options
Every home sits atop a very specific soil mixture. In Florida, it is not uncommon to have a soil/sand/limestone mixture. These materials, when not compacted enough, can cause your foundation to settle. Settling causes wall cracks, sloping floors, leaning chimneys, and a host of other problems. We can handle all these problems as well. We offer underpinning solutions such as helical piers that will lift your foundation back into place and add support and stability.
Our experienced personnel will assist you with your seawall repair issues which are caused by organic soils, swelling clay, poor compaction, improper footing, and erosion or runoff. We offer complete erosion control with services like seawall installation or repair, water management and drainage systems, and foundation lifting and void filling. Please contact any of our experts to discuss your specific needs. We look forward to working with you and being a part of your team.
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Our approach to solving below-ground related concerns, such as weak soils and ground subsidence or sinkholes, stems from our knowledge of the engineering properties and geology of each subject site.