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Serving the Alabama Gulf Coast

Seawall Damage Signs

Boat Dock
Purchasing a waterfront property gives you the ability to enjoy a variety of water-related activities. While having a large body of water within steps of your home can be beneficial, controlling this water is essential when it comes to protecting your property against potential damage.
One of the most effective tools that you can use in the fight to control water patterns is a seawall. Sometimes referred to as a bulkhead, a seawall can add both protection and value to your waterfront property.
If you want to prevent erosion caused by wave action from plaguing your waterfront property, you need to know how to spot potential problems that could compromise the performance of your seawall in the future. Here are four of the most common seawall problems:

1. Joint Separation

Modern seawalls are constructed using many different panels that are joined together to form a barrier against wave action. These panels can be made from plastic, steel, or pressure-treated wood. While the panels themselves are built to withstand the test of time, the areas where panels join together can weaken.
Joint separation occurs when two panels move vertically away from one another. This separation is often the result of the constant changes in hydrostatic pressure associated with the rising and falling tides. Joint separation allows soil from behind your seawall to migrate out into the water, resulting in serious erosion.
Joints should be repaired using a hydraulic cement product whenever evidence of separation appears.

2. Cap Failure

The many panels that make up a modern seawall are held in place by a cement cap that runs the length of the seawall. As long as the cap remains in good condition, the panels will stay in proper alignment and protect your property against erosion.
Exposure to the elements can cause the cement cap to break down over time, however. You should examine your seawall for signs of sagging, waving, or a sudden slant toward the water. These are all indications that the cap holding your seawall together is beginning to fail.
The only way to repair a failing cap is by replacing it with a new concrete cap that has the strength to preserve your seawall's structural integrity.

3. Rod Corrosion

If your seawall is constructed of concrete (as many are), then you will need to be mindful of rod corrosion. A structure constructed of steel rebar is used to give support to concrete seawalls. As moisture penetrates the surface of the concrete, these steel rods can begin to rust.
Corrosion of the rebar support structure could lead to seawall failure. You need to be looking for cracks that develop along the waterline of your seawall when checking for evidence of rod corrosion. Minor cracks can be patched and repaired, but major cracks and significant corrosion could require the replacement of your entire seawall.

4. Anchor Rod Deterioration

Your seawall is further reinforced by steel anchor rods that help support the wall against the pressures associated with holding back water. These anchor rods are attached at an angle to the rear of the seawall and then buried underneath the ground for added stability.
Moisture in the soil could cause anchor rods to deteriorate over time, leaving your seawall susceptible to serious damage. If you see any signs of horizontal cracking or buckling, these are indications that your anchor rods are failing. Immediate replacement of the anchor rods is the only way to protect your seawall against further structural damage.
Installing and maintaining a seawall is critical when it comes to protecting your waterfront property. Let the professionals at Edgewater Marine Construction, Inc. help you ensure your seawall remains structurally sound well into the future.