Are you a waterfront property owner in need of some sea wall repair? If so you’ll most definitely need to know your options when it comes to repair as sea walls go through a lot of daily distress and often need either fixing or replacing when close to a body of water.
What Is a Sea Wall and What Types of Sea Walls Are There?
The phrase ‘sea wall’ can be used for any type of structure that prevents water, sand, mud etc. from entering an area but in this case we will use it to refer to walls or embankments built along shorelines to protect buildings and homes from the sea and against soil erosion by natural forces.
There are three main types of sea wall structures; concrete wall, steel reinforced concrete and precast concrete blocks. The first two have been around since Roman times while the third was developed more recently. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages which make them suitable for different situations. Here’s the three methods, what each one does and how they work:
Concrete Walls & Embankments
A concrete wall is usually made up of several layers including a base layer, middle layer and top layer. Concrete sea wall construction involves pouring wet cement into forms placed on the ground then allowing the cement to harden before adding another layer. This process continues until all the required levels are complete. Concrete walls require regular maintenance and they do tend to crack over time if not maintained properly.
advantages – Quickest method
disadvantages – Not as strong as reinforced concrete
Steel Reinforced Concrete Walls
Steel reinforced walls differ from concrete walls because they contain reinforcing bars inside the concrete as can be guessed from the name. These bars provide extra strength to the wall making it less likely to break down under pressure. Steel reinforced concrete walls also allow for greater flexibility than their concrete counterparts meaning they can withstand higher pressures without breaking and they are generally stronger than concrete walls however they cost more to build and maintain.
advantages – Most secure method
disadvantages – Most expensive
Pre-Cast Concrete Blocks
Pre-cast concrete block. They consist of large rectangular blocks filled with gravel and mortar. Pre-cast concrete blocks are very strong and durable and they don’t require much maintenance once installed. However, they take longer to construct than other types of sea wall.
advantages – Cheapest method
disadvantages – Least secure
What Does Sea Wall Damage Look Like
The signs of sea wall damage are similar regardless of whether the sea wall is constructed using concrete, steel reinforced concrete or pre-cast concrete blocks. When looking at damaged sea walls there are four things to look out for: cracks, bulges, holes and sagging. Cracks occur where the wall meets the land and these may appear anywhere between the bottom of the wall and the surface level. Bulging occurs when the wall becomes too thin due to excessive weight being applied to it. If you see any of these signs of damage then you’d be advised to act sooner rather than later as the damage will escalate.
What Are the Effects of Sea Wall Damage?
If you have even minor damage to your sea wall this could lead to serious structural damage in the future. For example, if you notice that your sea wall is starting to sag then you should contact a sea wall contractor immediately so that they can repair the problem before it gets worse. In addition, if you notice that there are cracks appearing along the edge of your sea wall then you need to get rid of those right away. As mentioned earlier, cracks mean that the structure is weakening and will cause erosion, loose soil and water leakages and will eventually collapse especially with heavy rains.
How to Perform a Sea Wall Repair and How Much it Costs
If you notice damage to your existing sea wall there are many ways to fix it depending on where the problem lies. The most common way to repair cracked seaside structures is by applying grout which acts as filler material. Grouting works well but requires skill and experience to apply correctly. It’s important to use high quality materials such as epoxy resin and polyester resin. You’ll find that repairing a broken sea wall costs about $1 per square foot plus labour charges. A good rule of thumb is to multiply the total area of the sea wall by 0.5m2. This gives you a rough idea of how much money you’re going to spend fixing your sea wall.
Sea Wall Maintenance Tips
There are several tips that you can follow to help keep your sea wall in top condition. First off, make sure that you regularly inspect your sea wall for any potential issues. Check all joints and areas that might become weak over time. Also check around windows and doors to ensure that no debris has fallen into them.
I hope this article has provided you with the answers you were searching for and if not then here is a link to an informative video on sea walls.