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Banner - How-Soil-Instability-Causes-Seawall-Damage

How Soil Instability Causes Seawall Damage

Body - How-Soil-Instability-Causes-Seawall-Damage

Erosion and Soil Loss (Void Formation – Landward Side)

Causation: As seawalls age, soil eventually starts to migrate through the vertical seawall panel joints and weep holes. At the time of original seawall construction, a geotextile filter fabric is installed on the landward side along the panel vertical joints and weep holes. Filter fabric serves the critical function of preventing soil loss into the waterway from the landward side.

An essential point to remember is that seawalls are designed to keep the land in more than to keep the water out. Seawall structures are engineered to allow water to pass through seawall vertical panel joints and weep holes. The engineering concept Equilibrium of Hydrostatic Pressure refers to neutralizing opposing forces caused by water pressure on both the landward side and the opposing waterward side of the seawall structure.

Over time, all filter fabric begins to deteriorate and become ineffective. Once this occurs, soil migration begins to occur during every water event (rain, irrigation, daily tide activity, storm surge, etc.). A slow process initially, soil migration leads to void formations on the landward side of the seawall. Void formations immediately begin to jeopardize the overall stability of the seawall structure. The loss of structural stability leads to unwanted movement of the structure. As the movement of the structure occurs, damage to the seawall cap and panels also occurs, and stress on the seawall tie-rods and deadman anchors will lead to damage or sometimes complete failure of the overall seawall structure.

The Domino Effect

When considering the relationship between the various causes of seawall damage, simply think of the domino effect in order to clarify the complexities associated with seawall engineering:

Natural forces create a domino effect which causes seawall damage and eventually seawall failure if not mitigated and remedied in time:

  1. Erosion due to filter fabric deterioration leads to…
  2. Void formations behind the seawall, which lead to…
  3. Deterioration of the seawall berm (or supporting soil) leads to…
  4. A build-up of hydrostatic pressure behind the seawall, which leads to…
  5. Damage to seawall the cap, seawall panels, and anchor system, which leads to…
  6. De-stabilization of the entire seawall structure, which leads to…
  7. Seawall failure, which leads to…
  8. Financial loss, wasted time, destruction of property, and STRESS.

Has your seawall been damaged by natural forces? Click the button below to download an info-packed guide to permanent and lasting repair.

Banner - Advanced Seawall Repair for Better Results

Advanced Seawall Repair for Better Results

Body - Advanced Seawall Repair for Better ResultsLet’s take an in-depth look at the installation of Seawall Repair Network’s SW-RP1 repair material vs alternative repair options. This process consists of stopping high flow leaks, filling the voids behind concrete structures, and binding loose soil with Seawall Repair Network’s SW-RP1 repair material.

The Problem – Leaking Seawalls

As tidal flows rise and fall, water pushes its way in through cracks, joints, and defects in seawalls. The water pushes in on incoming tides and flows out on outgoing tides. As the water flows out, it carries sand and soil with it, which causes voids to form in the supporting soil, undermining the structural integrity of the seawall. This cycle is exacerbated during periods of heavy rain which continue the outflow of soil.

The Evidence – How to Spot Seawall Deterioration

In landscaped areas, evidence of soil erosion is often quite obvious. You’ll often see small sinkholes developing near the seawall. It’s important to inspect closely underneath tall grass and shrubbery since foliage can sometimes obstruct your view of the damage. Other clues include cracks in concrete slabs near the seawall and piles of sand building up at the base of the seawall on the waterside (if you can manage to get an underwater view). If you’re still not sure, you can use a soil probe to get a feel for the condition of the soil near the seawall.

The Options – Seawall Repair Methods

When it comes to repairing a seawall, you have three main options:

Replace the Seawall

You can tear out the wall (or part of the wall) and replace it. This approach has a few daunting downsides…

  • Costs more than repair.
  • Takes up a lot of time.
  • Requires permits.
  • Disrupts the site and poses a risk to nearby structures.

Paying for a new seawall is no doubt going to cost more than any kind of repair. A complete rebuild will also take some time. Not to mention the inevitable mess, a good portion of which is likely to end up in the water. The excavation also requires getting a permit, which can eat up a LOT of time.

Repair with Cement Grout (Hydraulic Cement & Slurry)

Some contractors and property owners are still filling sinkholes and trying to plug seawall leaks with concrete. This outdated approach has many disadvantages when compared to Seawall Repair Network’s advanced SW-RP1 material…

  • Requires a lot of labor and machinery.
  • Takes up a lot of time.
  • Uses a repair material that is prone to degradation over time.
  • Adds unnecessary weight to a seawall that is already under stress.

The amount of labor and machinery required can be quite disruptive. Compared to the surgical approach of installing SW-RP1 repair material, the installation of cement grout can create quite a mess. Needless to say, with all this extra material, machinery and labor – the whole process takes a lot longer than your typical Seawall Repair Network job. Cement grout is known to shrink and degrade over time. Imagine the frustration of paying for an expensive seawall repair, only to see it wash out eventually. And cement that doesn’t wash out can add weight to the structure, causing the surrounding soil to sink again over time.

Repair with SW-RP1

Seawall Repair Network’s SW-RP1 is the proven next-generation technology for effective and long-lasting seawall repair. SW-RP1 offers the following advantages over both excavation and cement grout…

  • Causes minimal disruption (less labor, equipment, and material required).
  • Takes up less time (rapidly installed, with a quick return-to-use period).
  • Does not degrade over time.
  • Won’t’ cause soil to sink (lightweight high-strength material).
  • Does not harm the environment (NSF approved for contact with drinking water).

Compared to the typical excavation or cement grout repair crew, a Seawall Repair Network crew will seem like a stealthy ninja strike force. This non-invasive, clean approach to repair allows the property owner to continue using the surrounding area during the process. The property owner can resume activity directly on and directly next to the structure within hours after a repair. Cured SW-RP1 repair material has been rigorously tested for contact with drinking water. So there is no concern about ensuing environmental issues.

Banner - SW-RP1 - Environmentally Friendly Seawall Repair Material

SW-RP1 – Environmentally Friendly Seawall Repair Material

Body - SW-RP1 - Environmentally Friendly Seawall Repair MaterialOn seawall repair projects of all scopes and sizes, ensuring environmental safety is mission-critical. That’s why Seawall Repair Network’s SW-RP1 high-strength repair material has the official NSF seal of approval for contact with drinking water. This single designation ensures compliance with the Safe Water Drinking Act (SDWA) and guarantees peace of mind for property owners and managers.

The SDWA helps ensure the water we drink, bathe in, cook with, and use in myriad other ways in daily life is safe for consumption. The federal law was put in place to maintain public health standards for drinking water systems. It defines what is considered a contaminant – both man-made and naturally occurring; and outlines the agencies responsible for regulating, monitoring, and enforcing adherence to the law, primarily the Environmental Protection Agency.

The SDWA gives the EPA latitude to impose criminal and civil penalties on industries not in compliance. In 2014 enforcement efforts policing clean water netted $163 million in penalties and fines, 155 combined years of incarceration for sentenced defendants, and $16 million in court-ordered project clean-ups.

Because so many of those defined contaminants are pertinent to even the most basic construction projects – turbidity from soil runoff, leaching from PVC pipes, potentially harmful and corrosive chemicals, and more – understanding and adhering to the law is particularly important for industry stakeholders. Contractors and engineers must be able to confidently choose vendors whose products and services won’t become the source or cause of drinking water contamination either in the short or long term. NSF certification offers assurance that such problems won’t occur or will, at a minimum, be addressed.

“NSF, an independent, private, not-for-profit, third-party certification organization founded in 1944, has developed numerous health-based certification programs and consensus standards including those that relate to drinking water,” reads an NSF compliance brief. “The purpose of its certification program is to promote public health and enrich the quality of life. Through its Council of Public Health and Health Advisory Board, which includes EPA health professionals, it obtains guidance in developing and maintaining programs and standards. NSF also partners with code councils to ensure ongoing compliance.”

NSF-certified materials are evaluated and lab-tested, and production facilities such as our own are inspected and annually audited for re-testing to maintain certification.

Seawall Repair Network voluntarily undergoing such a rigorous certification process is invaluable to property owners and managers because it provides assurance that, at the end of the day, your seawall repair project is safe and environmentally friendly.

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Seawall Repair & the Consequences of Neglect

Body-Repair-&-the-Consequences-of-NeglectThe Costs of Ignoring Seawall Damage

Ignoring the signs and symptoms of seawall damage will eventually result in the failure of a seawall. Seawall failure is always an expensive event that often affects nearby structures like boat lifts, boardwalks, and pool decks. And the sooner the waterfront property owner acts, the lower the eventual repair costs. But what happens when the signs of seawall failure are ignored?

Signs of Seawall Failure

  • Loss of adjacent soil.
  • Cracks in the seawall cap.
  • Rust stains on the surface.
  • Tilting or movement of the seawall.
  • Seawall panel separation.

When these signs of seawall failure are ignored, the result is always the same: deterioration and/or complete seawall failure. Fortunately, a Seawall Repair Network contractor near you is offering advanced seawall repair solutions.

Banner - Why Holes Are Appearing in the Soil Behind Your Seawall

Why Holes Are Appearing in the Soil Behind Your Seawall

Body - Why Holes Are Appearing in the Soil Behind Your SeawallThe Cause of Soil Holes Behind a Seawall

As seawalls age, soil often migrates through the vertical panel joints and weep holes. During construction, a geotextile filter fabric is usually installed on the landward side along the vertical panel joints and weep holes to prevent the migration mentioned above. Over time, however, filter fabric begins to deteriorate and becomes ineffective. Soil migration then occurs during every water event (rain, irrigation, daily tide activity, storm surge, etc.).

Holes Behind a Seawall Indicate Structural Stability Issues

Holes forming behind your seawall are a very big deal and should be considered a red flag that cannot be ignored. A slow process initially, soil migration eventually leads to void formations on the landward side of the seawall. Void formations jeopardize the overall stability of the seawall structure. The loss of structural stability can lead to movement of the wall itself. As the structure slips and moves, damage to seawall caps and panels occur. In addition, resulting stress on the supporting seawall tie-rods and deadman anchors can lead to complete failure of the entire seawall.

If you see holes behind your seawall, you should contact a qualified seawall repair contractor as soon as possible.

Banner - Why Rust Stains Appear on Concrete Seawalls

Why Rust Stains Appear on Concrete Seawalls

Body - Why Rust Stains Appear on Concrete SeawallsRust on Concrete Seawalls & Bulkheads is a Sign of Decay

Once the steel reinforcement inside of a seawall begins to rust, it expands inside of the concrete and results in spalling (aka cracking). Horizontal cracks (span-running) will then occur as the steel reinforcement of the seawall cap begins to rust and expand inside of the seawall cap. Spalling causes the seawall cap to expand from within itself, which in turn causes the concrete to further break and come apart. Spalling by itself (if allowed to progress) will destroy a seawall by displacing the wall panels. The overall seawall structure relies on the seawall cap to hold everything together.

Repairing the Damage Caused by Rust on Seawalls & Bulkheads

Traditionally, contractors and handymen who perform concrete repair work on seawall caps simply cut through and remove the entire section of seawall cap in need of repair. They then pour new concrete in that section of removed concrete. This form of remediation compromises the integrity of the steel reinforcement of the entire seawall cap.

In order to maintain as much of the original seawall structural integrity as possible, the Seawall Repair Network has created a surgical concrete repair process:

  • We identify the extent of the spalling by cutting away the damaged concrete.
  • We avoid cutting through any of the original steel reinforcement.
  • We continue cutting and grinding the concrete until the extent of the spalling is fully exposed.
  • We remove as much rust as possible.
  • We add steel rebar as needed to replace severely damaged rebar.
  • We install zinc anodes to both ends of the steel being repaired. Zinc anodes are designed to protect buried or submerged metal structural components by sacrificing themselves to prevent the steel reinforcement from rusting. In other words, the zinc anodes corrode instead of the steel rebar. This process is called cathodic protection.
  • We then coat the entire service area with a balanced formula of phosphoric acid, dichromates, wetting agents, and extenders. This product is environmentally safe and non-flammable. It seals out moisture and prevents future rust from forming.
  • We then install stainless steel screws into the service area to act as structural reinforcements.
  • We then utilize forming boards to form and prepare the pouring of the concrete repair material.
  • We then pour and form a high-strength concrete repair material to reconstruct the parts of the wall that were damaged by spalling.

End Result: The Best Seawall Cap Repair in the Industry

Banner - Why You Should be Concerned When Cracks Appear in Your Seawall Caps

Why You Should be Concerned When Cracks Appear in Your Seawall Caps

Body - Why You Should be Concerned When Cracks Appear in Your Seawall CapsWhat Causes Cracks in Seawall Caps?

The seawall cap serves the function of tying and securing all the panels into their installed positions. In other words, the seawall cap holds everything together. Most seawall caps are made from poured concrete reinforced with steel. The great thing about concrete is that it never lies. Concrete always displays a stress reaction to unstable soil.

Once a seawall begins to experience movement related to soil instability caused by soil migration and void formation, the seawall cap experiences tremendous lateral stress. This stress is caused by the build-up of hydrostatic pressure and water-saturated soil (typical soil grade mass) on the landward side of the seawall. Also, the seawall berm (the soil mass surrounding the bottom of the seawall) has typically been compromised at this point and has become unstable as well.

How Do You Repair Cracks in Seawall Caps?

Seawall Repair Network contractors employ high-strength epoxy and concrete repair materials to repair cracks in seawall caps. This process restores strength and integrity to the structure. The Seawall Repair Network’s proprietary materials, equipment, and repair processes remedy this kind of damage and other seawall issues.

Banner - What Hydro-Static Pressure Is and Why Seawall Owners Should Be Concerned

What Hydro-Static Pressure Is and Why Seawall Owners Should Be Concerned

Body - What Hydro-Static Pressure Is and Why Seawall Owners Should Be ConcernedMost seawall property owners are not aware of the dangers of hydrostatic pressure, and the devastating effects that it can have on a seawall.

Hydrostatic pressure is most formally defined as the pressure exerted by a fluid at equilibrium, at a given point within the fluid, due to the force of gravity. Hydrostatic pressure increases in proportion to the depth measured from the surface because of the increasing weight of fluid exerting downward force from above.  (Not clear on what all this means yet? Keep reading…)

Hydrostatic pressure builds behind your seawall exponentially when groundwater. It “stacks up” behind your seawall. Water infiltration gravitates to level with the existing water table. Water will always follow the path of least resistance. This force causes movement within unstable soil.

When accumulated hydrostatic pressure builds up behind a seawall, the pressure can force the water to move downward and under the seawall panels. This movement of water can degrade the seawall berm (the soil mass surrounding the bottom of the seawall).  Lateral forces cause panel displacement when unstable soil conditions exist.

Fortunately, Seawall Repair Network offers an array of the most advanced and reliable solutions to this problem. Seawall Repair Network contractors use high-strength proprietary SW-RP1 Repair Material, Hydrostatic Pressure Control Technology, Seawall Cap Repair Methods, and – when necessary – an Advanced Permanent Anchoring System to repair and restore seawalls at risk.

Banner - Seawall Repair Network Advantages

Seawall Repair Network Advantages

Body - Seawall Repair Network AdvantagesSeawall / Bulkhead Repair & Seawall / Bulkhead Replacement

When you find yourself engaged in a search for seawall repair or replacement options, it’s fueled by the understanding that your seawall is key to preventing serious damage to (or even destruction of) your house, building, or property in general.

Unfortunately, most waterfront property owners have not been educated regarding replacement and repair with subpar methods:

  • Seawall replacement can be very expensive, disruptive, and sometimes even destructive to surrounding property.
  • Subpar, ineffective solutions such as hydraulic cement, slurry, crushed seashells, and sodium silicate do not address the underlying soil instability that puts unsustainable pressure on the seawall.  These methods are similar to putting a band-aid on an infection. The problem will simply continue to get worse until the seawall fails completely.

Experienced Seawall / Bulkhead Repair Contractors

Seawall Repair Network (a division of Alchemy-Spetec) has developed a comprehensive solution, consisting of:

  • Proprietary SW-RP1 Repair Material
  • Hydrostatic Pressure Control Technology
  • Seawall Cap and Panel Structural Repair
  • Advanced Permanent Anchoring System (When Needed)

Seawall Repair Network member contractors are equipped with state of the art:

  • Seawall Repair Network System Training
  • Seawall Repair Materials
  • Seawall Repair Equipment
Banner - What to Look for in a Seawall or Bulkhead Repair Contractor

What to Look for in a Seawall or Bulkhead Repair Contractor

Body - What to Look for in a Seawall or Bulkhead Repair ContractorNot All Seawall/Bulkhead Repair Methods Are Equal

For decades, waterfront property owners like yourself have sought assistance with failing seawalls. And for decades, some contractors have made the problem worse by installing subpar repair materials like hydraulic cement, slurry, sodium silicate, and crushed seashells. These common solutions do not address the underlying problem – soil stability around the seawall.

By using these inferior methods, these contractors add tremendous lateral stress to the landward side of the seawall. This causes seawall movement, an increase of hydrostatic pressure, and eventually seawall failure.

Not All Seawall/Bulkhead Repair Companies Are the Same

The Seawall Repair Network provides:

Seawall Repair Network is the only national, all-inclusive network of highly trained and qualified Preferred Marine Contractors.

Preferred Marine Contractors are carefully selected for their:

  • Experience
  • Integrity
  • Reputation
  • Customer Service Record

Each contractor has been thoroughly trained in Seawall Repair Network product and solution application methods.