One of the biggest challenges of owning a waterfront property is erosion control. Seawalls minimize erosion and serve as a defense between land and water. Seawall repair and maintenance should be top priorities for lakefront property owners. Regular maintenance and timely repairs protect your seawall, your shoreline, and the structures on your lakefront property.
What Are Seawalls?
Erosion is the result of both natural and man-made problems. Some erosion results from heavy rainfall and changes in lake levels. If you live along a lake or shoreline, you likely have a seawall. The primary purpose of a seawall is to protect the shoreline from erosion and flooding.
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, seawalls require proper care and maintenance. Property owners can take several simple steps to increase their seawall's lifespan.
What Causes Seawall Damage?
Seawall damage is often caused by normal wear and tear due to the impact of the natural environment, which is often unavoidable. This naturally occurring wear often leads to soil loss, which can cause sinkholes and low spots to develop along the seawall. If you notice any of the following signs of seawall failure, you must immediately contact an experienced seawall repair company. They can do an inspection and recommend the right types of repairs.
Sinkholes and Voids
Any holes forming behind your seawall are a red flag that should not be ignored. Significant voids can damage the structural integrity of a seawall. The formation of small sinkholes typically signals the presence of soil erosion behind a seawall structure. Sinkholes can be hard to spot without the help of a professional. Scheduling an annual inspection is imperative to ensuring the stability of your seawall.
Horizontal cracks in a seawall often correspond with a seawall leaning or bowing. Any movement that allows water to penetrate the seawall and erode the soil is dangerous. Even seemingly small cracks can lead to voids forming, creating an unstable base for the foundation of nearby structures.
Bowing or Leaning
If your seawall is bowing or leaning toward the water, chances are the soil behind it is saturated with water. When enough water builds up in the soil behind your seawall, the increase in soil density will push against your seawall. With enough pressure, cracks, and shifts that allow water to get behind the seawall will lead to further damage.
Any Visible Deterioration or Rust
Over time, water, harsh weather, and age can eat away at a concrete seawall. With enough erosion, the steel rebar inside the concrete could be exposed to the elements and rust, compromising the entire structure.
Regular Maintenance Prevents Costly Problems
Regular seawall maintenance and repairs are essential for shoreline property owners. If you spot any issues, you should immediately contact a seawall repair specialist. Leaving your seawall to fail can lead to costly erosion, flooding, and property damage. Once water levels rise, your seawall could fail and cost thousands of dollars to repair. Only a professional should make repairs to a damaged or deteriorating seawall. In most cases, permits will be required before anyone works on a seawall.
How To Maintain Your Seawall
With proper maintenance, your seawall will remain durable and protect your property. Although tidal action and storm surges can cause added pressure, a high-quality seawall can last several decades when a professional performs timely repairs. Property owners can do several things to help keep their seawalls in top condition.
1. Unclog Weep Holes
Unclog weep holes regularly to promote proper drainage and prevent water damage. Weep holes are designed to relieve and divert dangerous water pressure to ensure everything functions correctly. Remove leaves, dirt, and debris that can clog the holes to prevent too much water pressure from accumulating on your property.
2. Perform Regular Inspections
Regularly inspecting your seawall and the surrounding area every few months is a good idea. If you have a concrete seawall or a retaining wall made from concrete, inspect each part of the wall for cracks. Other signs that may indicate a compromised seawall are termite damage, splitting, and rotting in seawalls made from wood.
3. Eliminate Plant Growth
Heavy plant growth is a common threat to seawalls because the vegetation is drawn to the nutrient- and moisture-rich area. Plants' roots can begin to grow too close to the seawall and cause cracks to form in the wall as the roots absorb moisture present in the soil. As these cracks become more severe, the seawall's durability is compromised.
4. Schedule a Professional Inspection
Your seawall must maintain its structural integrity to protect your property against erosion and flooding. A company specializing in seawall construction and repairs can inspect the safety and integrity of your seawall. Have your seawall professionally inspected for general wear, necessary maintenance, and any signs of significant damage. Seawall repair and maintenance should never be delayed. The longer you put off repairs, the more costly the damage will become.
Why Choose RT Construction for Seawall Repair?
RT Construction has partnered with the Alchemy-Spetec 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, and watertight mass to repair seawalls. These polyurethane foams seal cracks and defects, fill voids, and stabilize the soil. Most repairs can be completed in less than a day.
RT Construction 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.