Seawall Inspections & Repairs

Sea Me Dive provides cutting edge, innovative, marine construction solutions for seawalls, docks and piers. We conduct seawall inspections, seawall repairs and provide reliable commercial diving services. We are a Licensed, Bonded and Insured contractor working in South Florida and the Caribbean.
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Seawall Repair and Inspection FAQ

What is a seawall?

A seawall is a Structure or barrier between your property and the waterway it was built adjacent to. This can be a lake, retention pond, a river, a canal or the ocean itself. These types of N.W.S (near water structures) are what keeps the water away from your property (upland areas) and keeps the property from being overtaken by the water.

Due to the climate challenges that we are faced with increased storm activities and a considerable rise of the worlds ocean and a rise in King tides have had a direct effect on all communities who are living close to water ways and are constantly monitoring an upgrading the infrastructure and are preparing for the next big one…

What are the types of seawalls?

There are many types of material used for seawalls, In the south east region of the U.S the most popular include Concrete pre-stressed panel tongue and groove, Coral Rock, Sheet Piling (vinyl, aluminum or steel) and Riprap rock embankments. The best method or material for a given property is determined by different set of factors unique to that property.

The concrete pre-cast structures are often used in areas with a lot of water activity (strong wakes, currents heavy vessel traffic). It is a series of prefabricated concrete sections that are inserted in place and bound together with a poured in place concrete bulkhead cap to form a structurally continues resilient barrier.

The older method of coral rock structures was popular in the first half of the 20th century when canals were being dredged and the material was available for use the coral rock is a built with mortar and usually is angled towards the land mass as it does not have vertical support pillings.it has  a natural look to the seawall but requires more maintenance than the concrete panel walls . It is relatively porous, so it needs to be skim coated with hydraulic concrete periodically, something that is not required with other type of seawalls.

The sheet piling structures are a series of interlocking barrier sheets made of different materials vinyl, aluminum or steel sheets set up in a row and driven into the sediment. Once sheets are secured into the berm there are a few options to anchor the top section either with a supporting frame or ledger beam or a poured-in-place concrete cap to allow structural continuity.

Riprap is actually two distinct styles that go by the same name. It can either refer to rocks being strategically piled in a way to reinforce the existing wall or act as an embankment wall. Or it can refer to bags of concrete that are laid down in a staggered pattern with steel rebar stakes that are then driven into the bags to hold them into place and anchor them into the sediment. Once the concrete cures it becomes a solid wall.

Structures are usually supported with some form of anchoring system like Tie back rods or batter piling or pin pilings. The anchors are there to keep the structure vertically plumb.

How long can a seawall last?

Many of the original seawalls of Fort Lauderdale or Miami are now roughly 50-60 years old and are close to the end of their serviceable life. If they have not been properly maintained over the years then they are likely well beyond saving. At this point many of those original seawalls have already been replaced. The new construction, if done by a professional company, can last 70-80 years. This is because of technological advancements in the material used.

How do you maintain a seawall?

The first step in maintaining your seawall is to have a seawall expert take a look at it and give you an assessment on where things stand today. Many homeowners choose to conduct an annual inspection of their walls to avoid surprises or the gradual build-up of a problem. There are many components of a seawall which must be maintained on a regular basis to optimize the effectiveness and lifespan of your wall. The annual report will point out certain areas that need attention right now and others that can wait a while. Included in the report will be an estimate on the cost of these repairs.

Is it possible to repair a seawall?

Yes. Seawalls can be repaired- if the seawall is not too far gone. A seawall must be given regular maintenance, just like your car, to keep it healthy. If a seawall is neglected for too long it will begin to break down, slowly at first, until it reaches a point of no return and a new one must be built to replace it. The average cost of a seawall on an active waterway (e.g. a canal or the intracoastal) is around $800-$1,000 per linear foot. A 100-foot property can be looking at a new $100,000 seawall. It pays to invest in ongoing maintenance.

Is it possible to repair Cracking of Seawall Cap, Panels, or Bowing of the Seawall?

Of course. A proper contractor will review your options with you and explain how the repairs can be done. Some issues may be too severe and will require full replacement but more often than not a repair is possible.

My sea wall is damaged what can I do

Don’t panic! If a catastrophic event happened (e.g. a section of the seawall has collapsed into the water or a storm has slammed a boat into your seawall), call a professional Seawall restoration company like Sea Me Dive. We can assess the damage and advise you on your immediate course of action. If necessary we will bring in a structural engineer to evaluate your options. We may be able to offer a temporary solution until a team can get out and initiate a permanent fix. If the damage is ‘simply’ an issue of normal wear-and-tear, we will give you an estimate on the maintenance & repairs and we can schedule the project.

Why do seawalls fail?

is always an ‘X’ factor. When rain falls onto the property it significantly increases the pressure on the upland side (referred to as ‘hydrostatic pressure’). It gets absorbed down into the earth or grass but then looks for a lateral path to join the water on the other side of the wall. This creates additional pressure on the wall and results in what was once a straight structure to begin to bow outward or topple over. The water eventually finds small cracks to seep through and with time those cracks widen, further weakening the wall. Weep holes are put in place to release the hydrostatic pressure. They allow for the water to seep through in a controlled manner. Some weep holes have a cloth/fabric mesh which filters out the sand/dirt so you lose the water but none of your yard gets washed away with it. Another form of weep hole is the Jet Filter™ which utilizes state-of-the-art technology to filter the water out while also preventing the main body of water from flowing back in with a one way check valve through the weep hole to the land side.

How do you fix seawall erosion?

Seawall erosion occurs with time due to the influence of the elements on the seawall. The constant wave action and rains eventually degrade the wall. If caught early enough the repairs can be relatively minor, perhaps just a application of hydraulic concrete grout to seal and prevent any further damage. A more involved repair will require the use of structural mesh together with a concrete repair to strengthen the wall or bind it. The toe may also need some work in which case a toe wall footer with either sheet panels filled with concrete or riprap bags/rock may be the solution. If the seawall has been neglected for too long it may require complete replacement. There are many possible scenarios, each with their own unique solution.

What is the average cost of seawall repairs and reconstruction?

Every single project is different, there is no single one-size-fits-all solution. Simple repairs can range from maintenance to full restoration and more complex problems will run into the thousands. What is important to remember is that the cost of replacement far exceeds any repair bill. A new seawall is approximately $800-$1,100 per linear foot. A typical 75-foot property would be looking at a $70,000-$80,000 bill. Important to note, at times a seawall is too far gone and the cost of repairs, if indeed they can be done at all, is not worth the ROI. It may be cheaper in the long run to replace the seawall altogether and not invest in a major repair that will only extend the life of the wall by a few years at best.

Can the condition of my seawall affect my home selling?

Absolutely, and it will!!!

Just like your roof, if an inspection indicates the buyer will need to invest 20K in repairs, that fact will play a role in their purchase offer. If you as a homeowner invest in the repairs yourself before placing the house on the market you can avoid having to make concessions to the buyer. At the very least you will be forewarned as to what issues there are with your wall.

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