If you have a waterfront property, you will know about the risks of rising sea levels and ocean water encroachment. You thus naturally worry about the sea encroaching your property and perhaps even eroding land.
This is where a seawall or retaining wall helps.
What is a seawall?
It is a massive concrete, steel, or stone structure that extends along the shoreline stretch that’s most risky of erosion. It’s most popularly found on urban beaches, protecting humans and their activities from waves, tsunamis, and tides.
Retaining walls are essential in residential areas very close to shorelines facing the risk of getting swept away in any future cyclone or tsunami.
While seawalls today stop erosion and the sea from entering coastal regions today, they served a different purpose before. They were then built and used mainly to separate land and water areas.
Different types of seawalls
There are different types of seawalls built to tackle rising sea levels. They differ based on the seawater levels, air movements, belt formation, and environment.
Accordingly, there are four main types of seawall construction:
1. Vertical seawalls
These seawalls are most common in exposed situations because they effectively reflect wave energy. During stormy conditions, a non-breaking and standing wave pattern evolves, resulting in a stationary clapotic wave moving up and down but not horizontally.
The waves, in turn, lead to erosion and severe sea wall damage. Placing piles in front of the wall can help reduce erosion. It works by slightly reducing the wave energy.
2. Curved or stepped seawalls
This seawall construction helps prevent erosion by breaking waves and dissipating wave energy. This, in turn, leads to the repulsion of waves back into the sea.
The curve of the seawall can also help by preventing the wave from overtopping the wall. It also serves as some added protection to the toe of the wall.
3. Mound type seawalls
This seawall construction is a more popular option in shorelines along calm lakes or ponds experiencing reduced erosion. These seawalls work with the help of stone rip raps or revetments of sandbags.
The least exposed areas to sea erosion are protected using rip raps and revetments. They work by saving the shore and minimizing erosion. The revetments are either porous or watertight in structure.
This is to let the water filter through it upon the dissipation of wave energy. The rip rap also helps create a look of authenticity, of tumbled rocks securing the shoreline.
4. Steel seawalls
Steel walls or an outcropping of a heavy stone wall makes a better choice for busier waterways. They comprise larger stones or a more substantial structure.
Why do you need seawalls?
There are many reasons and benefits to constructing a seawall for your waterfront property.
1. Protection against possible erosion and flooding
This is no doubt the primary purpose and reason for seawall construction. Seawalls serve as a coastal defense against upland erosion and surge flooding.
They work by redirecting the wave energy whenever it crashes against the shoreline. The decreased energy levels reduce shoreline erosion while protecting your home and property from possible flooding.
You can, in turn, safely do things like biking, walking, and even going sightseeing along the shoreline.
2. Prevents possible environmental damage
Erosion and flooding are two actions that can destroy the environment. It ends up washing away soil and reducing your usable and usually safe shoreline. Any disruption in the local ecosystem leads to consequential harm to wildlife.
3. Long-term shoreline protection
Seawall construction may be expensive. However, it is a worthy investment because seawalls offer a long-term solution to rising sea levels and erosion.
No matter which type of seawall construction you choose, seawalls are long-lasting. While steel seawalls can easily last for about 35 years, outcropping and rip rap last forever.
4. Beauty and sustainability
With seawalls preventing erosion, they, in the process, help ensure and maintain a beautiful shoreline. Besides, seawall constructions work at providing some balance and sustainability between the environment and wildlife.
Yes, you may have to spend a considerable amount today on seawall construction. However, it’s way cheaper than having to go through the consequence of a flood or any sea erosion.
If encroaching seawater levels and erosion have always been a problem you could never resolve, you now know that seawall construction can help.
As long as you have the proper seawall for your shoreline needs, it will help maintain your property’s beauty and sustainability.