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Seawalls: A Quick Guide for Waterfront Property Owners

Sea Wall
Few things match the pleasure of waking up to the sight of an expanse of calm, soothing, and glistening water. Yet, your property can quickly succumb to damage from the effects of this same water. A seawall gives you the best of both worlds - protection for your waterfront property and continued enjoyment of the adjacent water body.

Here is a quick rundown on seawalls, when you might need them, and construction considerations.

Basics of Seawalls

A seawall is a type of barrier built along the shoreline of a water body to prevent flooding and erosion that can damage waterfront structures. The barrier minimizes the impact of wave energy by redirecting waves back to the water.

Optimal water depth is important, especially if you regularly indulge in recreational activities on the water. A seawall can help to maintain water depth.

In the event of powerful waves, hurricanes, and rainstorm, seawalls can offer a relatively strong defense for residents and existing structures as well.

Lastly, a seawall can add to your property's aesthetics and may even boost the property's value.

Types of Seawalls

The main types of seawalls are vertical walls and riprap.

Vertical Seawalls

A vertical seawall is constructed in an upright position. Blocks of rocks may be placed in front of the wall for reinforcement and to reduce the effects of wave energy. This type of seawall is best suited for areas with strong waves.


Riprap is ideal for low-impact areas. Construction of a riprap entails installation of large mounds of granite, limestone, concrete, or sandbags. You could also construct a seawall from steel, wood, and synthetic materials such as vinyl and plastic. Riprap is generally a cheaper way of installing a seawall.

Necessity of Seawalls 

Consider speaking with a marine construction and restoration contractor about installing a seawall if you notice these signs of shore destabilization:
  • Significant change of shoreline over the past year
  • Appearance of large expanses of bare soil
  • Exposed tree roots
  • Frequent flooding
  • Extensive damage to waterfront structures and property
  • Large muddy pools along lakeshore especially after a rainstorm
  • Expansive and shallow patches along the streambed
If you live close to a tidal inlet that migrates regularly, you may be at a higher risk of encountering massive erosion, making a seawall necessary.

Considerations for Building Seawalls

Before installing a seawall, you should factor in several things.


Get in touch with your local planning and development department to find out about statutes or ordinances regulating the construction of a seawall. You may need a permit to ensure safe construction of the seawall. Find out whether you need additional permits from your local environmental agency.

Additionally, inquire about any limits on the materials you can use to construct a seawall. Concrete, sandbags, and fiberglass are generally acceptable, but your area might limit the use of synthetic materials for environmental preservation.


Several things will determine the cost of constructing a seawall. The most important of these is the height of the wall. The cost per linear foot will increase with the height and thickness of the wall.

The existence of structures on the property may limit access and movement of construction equipment and may, therefore, increase labor hours and costs. Factor in the cost of site cleanup too.

Your choice of construction material will further affect the cost. Vinyl, fiberglass composite, steel, and aluminum are generally pricier than concrete seawalls.

A seawall is a smart investment for owners of waterfront property in erosion-prone areas. If you are considering setting up a seawall,  find a reputable contractor to get the job done.

At Construction Remediation Solutions, we have the resources and expertise to provide innovative solutions that will safeguard your waterfront property. Get in touch with us today to find out more about our services.