Building a Sea wall: Understanding the basics

If you are planning to build on the property by the ocean or any body of water, one of the things you must think about is a seawall. Traditionally, they were often made of wood, concrete or steel. Today, synthetic materials are becoming more popular even for Sea Walls in Charleston, SC. Sea walls serve the following general purposes;

  • They protect the property from the dangers of erosion, flooding or poor drainage
  • They help maintain the depth of water; this is especially important for those who enjoy the pleasures of fishing or boating generally or other similar activities on the lake.
  • The third purpose is aesthetic; they tend to give the property that attractive finished look, especially if the property is on a slope

The first thing to think about is the building. Here, the homeowner should decide, perhaps with the help of a professional, the kinds of materials to use. There are several options to choose from. Concrete is the most obvious and common, and typically lasts for about 30 years. When built properly, there is little need for repairs and maintenance apart from the patching up of holes so that cracks to not expand more than they should. Another popular material is steel, which is also used for bulkheads. It is very strong and will typically last about 25 years. It should, however, be properly treated seeing as it will always be in contact with the water. Wood is another material that requires adequate treatment before being used for building a seawall. It is mostly common in the rural areas.

Some homeowners prefer using riprap for its natural look. It is basically a huge barrier made of very large stones across the waterline. Stones can be granite, limestone, concrete or any other materials. The newest of the material varieties is vinyl or plastic, which is said to offer around 50 years of life and comes in different varieties and color. The downside is they are often difficult to install.

The bulk of the responsibility for the seawall will be repair and maintenance related. It is recommended that seawalls be inspected regularly in order to identify potential problems before they become more serious.


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