December 12, 2022
Water is relentless. This is a key fact that all waterfront property owners should thoroughly understand. The price of enjoying an oceanfront, riverfront, or lakeside view from the comfort of your own home is the inherent risk that comes with living right next to a large body of water.
Four Critical Warning Signs of Seawall Failure
If your residence is protected by a seawall, you should familiarize yourself with the four critical warning signs of seawall failure:
- Soil Depressions Near the Seawall
- Rust Stains on the Surface
- Movement or Shifting of the Seawall
- Cracks in the Concrete
Excessive rainwater or floodwater build-up on the landward side of the wall (usually resulting from an inadequate or clogged weep hole system within the wall itself) will put untenable hydrostatic pressure on the structure. This pressure can cause parts of the wall to move and/or crack. Once the concrete is broken, landward side water will pull soil from your property through the wall and into the water on the other side, causing depressions or small sinkholes near the structure. In addition, steel rebar or mesh inside the wall is exposed to rust, resulting in rust stains appearing on the surface.
Four Options for Dealing with Seawall Damage
Once aware of these problems, you’re faced with four options:
- Ignore the Problem and Do Nothing
(If you go this route, the problem gets worse – and more expensive to repair – over time.)
- Replace the Seawall
(This option is typically a lot more expensive than a repair, requires heavy equipment, and involves messy disruptive excavation.)
- Repair with Inferior Methods
(Inferior repair materials such as hydraulic cement, slurry, and sodium silicate do not provide a permanent, long-term solution.)
- Repair with proven Seawall Repair Network® methods.
(More on this in the next section.)
You can read more about these four options on the Seawall & Bulkhead Replacement vs Repair page. Needless to say, any of the four critical warning signs should warrant a checkup from a qualified seawall repair contractor. Most contractors offer free professional assessments and repair estimates.
Fortunately, there are many effective methods at your disposal in the battle against water’s relentless onslaught. Seawall Repair Network® preferred marine contractors provide two major types of repair – seawall stabilization and seawall preservation.
Stabilizing a cracked or shifting seawall is accomplished via these four methods:
- Stabilizing Soil and Sealing Leaks with SW-RP1
(SW-RP1 repair material is stronger than crystalline bedrock and safe for the environment.)
- Installing a Hydrostatic Pressure Control System
(Creation of pressure release channels with filters that allow water to move back and forth, maintaining an equilibrium of hydrostatic pressure. These filters also prevent soil migration and void formation on the landward side.)
- Repairing Cracks in Seawall Caps
(Repairing the seawall caps with high-strength epoxy.)
- Installing a Seawall Anchoring System – If Necessary
(When needed, steel tie-backs are installed to prevent future movement of the seawall.)
You can learn more about these methods on the Seawall Stabilization page.
Treating the concrete with preservation solutions provides additional long-term protection. Preservation is accomplished via these three methods:
- Inhibiting Corrosion with SW-Prevent
(SW-Prevent creates an insulating layer on the surface of any steel rebar or mesh inside the wall.)
- Strengthening Surface Concrete with SW-Power
(SW-Power renders concrete surfaces resistant to air or water-born chemical damage.)
- Protecting Surface Concrete with SW-Protect
(SW-Protect inhibits water penetration.)
You can learn more about these methods on the Seawall Preservation page.
Water is Relentless – But YOU Can Be Too!
There is no reason to be intimidated by water’s relentless onslaught. All you have to do is memorize the four critical warning signs, and then enlist a qualified seawall repair contractor when needed. With the proper stabilization and preservation support, your seawall can safely protect that beautiful waterfront view for generations to come.