Seawall Failure Series: Part I

Why Do Some Seawalls Fail? How Can I Prevent a Seawall Failure?

If you live along the Florida coast or waterways, you know a seawall can be a vital part of protecting your waterfront property. And although most seawalls are custom builds, uniquely designed for your property, seawalls of all types still have a lot in common. This is especially true when discussing potential causes of seawall failure.

Learning a little about how seawalls work and understanding some of the main reasons why seawall failure occurs can help you identify potential problem areas and take the necessary steps to prevent seawall failure.

Common Causes of Seawall Failure

The most common causes of seawall failure fall under these three main categories:

  • Naturally Occurring Environmental Conditions
  • Changes to the Seawall Pressure Balance
  • Miscellaneous Seawall Issues, Often Attributed to Human Error

A series of posts will follow breaking down each category, providing further details. This first set of posts will take a closer look at what naturally occurring environmental conditions can affect a seawall and how they can contribute to seawall failure.

Naturally Occurring Environmental Conditions Can Contribute to or Cause Seawall Failure

According to Wikipedia, “the natural environment encompasses all living and non-living things occurring naturally,” meaning in this case, that it is caused by nature; not made or caused by humankind. The first of these naturally occurring environmental conditions that can lead to seawall failure can be described as normal wear and tear.

Normal Wear and Tear Can Cause a Seawall to Deteriorate Over Time

As is with most things in life, normal wear and tear refers to the expected decline in the condition of something due to normal everyday use. A seawall or components of a seawall are constantly being exposed to natural elements, such as wind, water and an especially corrosive element found in the ocean, saltwater. Over time, deterioration and corrosion of seawall components by natural elements can lead to seawall failure.

Repair Areas Where Normal Wear and Tear Occurred to Prevent Seawall Failure

Regular seawall inspections by seawall service professionals, such as the experts at Gibson Marine Construction, can identify areas in need of work. Having these areas repaired and/or replaced will help stave off the misfortune of the more costly damage and repairs typically associated with a complete seawall failure.

Learn About More Naturally Occurring Environmental Conditions That Can Cause Seawall Failure

Significant changes to water levels along a seawall and severe weather are two more ways natural environmental conditions can lead to seawall failure. Dive into the details of our next post in this series to learn how these failures can happen and how to prevent them.

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