Seawall construction by Gibson Marine at Sand Key Park

How to Tell If Your Seawall is Damaged

A well-built seawall is essential to any waterfront property and if your seawall fails, it can be devastating to the homeowner but also to the houses nearby. Our friends at Gibson Marine put together a list of five signs to keep an eye out for signs of seawall damage. This list can help you keep your seawall properly maintained and help prevent seawall failure.

Five Signs Your Seawall Needs Repaired or Replaced

Regularly inspecting your seawall for signs of damage can help you determine if your seawall may be in need of repairs. While performing these regular inspections, answer the following questions:

  1. Cracks or Small Chunks Broken Off of the Seawall Cap

If you see cracks or small chunks missing from the cap, this can mean the rebar is exposed. This exposure can lead to corrosion of the rebar, weakening the seawall, and potentially causing it to fail.

2. Visible Rust Stains on the Seawall

Visible rust stains are another sign of possible corrosion. It is important to find out where the rust stains are coming from. Sometimes the source can be easy to pinpoint, such as it coming from an exposed metal railing or decorative feature. Other times, it may appear to be seeping through cracks in the seawall’s surface.

3. Large or Widening Gaps Between Seawall Slabs

If you see a gap between seawall slabs that is significantly larger than the other gaps between slabs, or the gaps appear to be widening in general, this could be a sign that the joints have weakened or broken.

4. Seawall Slab Damage is the Leading Cause of Sudden Seawall Failure

Seawall slabs are under constant stress and pressure. A pressure imbalance can lead to a slab cracking, bowing, leaning, or becoming misaligned. And if the slab is not repaired or replaced, and the pressure balance restored, the slab(s) can buckle resulting in a partial or complete sudden seawall failure.

5. Soil Settling or Holes in the Ground are Signs of a Seawall Pressure Imbalance

Soil settling or holes in the ground along or near your seawall are signs of erosion. Erosion is another common cause of a pressure imbalance, that can lead to slab damage and potential seawall failure.

They also put together an inspection video at Sand Key Park that shows the waterway towards the areas of the seawall still under construction. The video gives us a peek at the engineering and construction work that goes into building a stable seawall, capable of withstanding hurricanes, tropical storms, and the foot traffic of over one million park visitors each year.

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