Seawall Failure Series: Part IV

Preventing Seawall Failure Due to a Seawall Pressure Imbalance

This installment, part four, of the seawall failure series focuses on the most common causes of seawall pressure imbalances, what you should keep an eye out for, and what you can do to prevent seawall failure due to a pressure imbalance.

Common Causes of Seawall Pressure Imbalances

The most common causes of seawall pressure imbalances include:

  • Changes to Water Flow Patterns
  • Changes to Your Living Space
  • Landscaping Modifications

Changes to Water Flow Patterns

When a seawall is built, seawall construction experts analyze the water flow patterns of all nearby waterways. This analysis is just one of the many factors that influence a seawall construction project and must be accounted for. If a water flow pattern changes, it could negatively affect your seawall’s pressure balance.

Some items that can affect nearby water flow patterns include:

Changes to Water Drainage Systems

There are a plethora of water drainage solutions on the market and just as many ways a water drainage solution could affect your seawall. When a water drainage issue occurs, or when considering any changes to a system, consult an expert to find out if and how it could affect the pressure balance of your seawall.

Changes to Water Levels

A change to the water level can impact the amount of pressure being exerted onto a seawall. A higher water level can increase the amount of pressure pushing toward your property, while a lower water level can increase the amount of pressure pushing away from your property. Without a proper balance, this pressure can cause damage to your seawall, and over time make it more likely to fail. A seawall construction expert can put a solution in place to compensate for a pressure change.

Keep an eye out for these common things that could indicate a change to the water level has occurred:

  • New dams, waterways, or retention ponds being built nearby
  • Canal dredging nearby
  • Significant increases or decreases to nearby water traffic
  • Significant increases or decreases to nearby controlled waterways

Many of these water level changes are controlled by the Army Corps of Engineers and any planned changes are usually announced to the public well in advance. By watching out for changes, you can proactively address potential imbalance problems.

Changes to Your Living Space

Making changes to your living space can have an impact on your seawall. When you are planning a renovation to your home, adding living space, or making an upgrade, you might not immediately think about how those changes could affect your seawall, but you should. Consulting a marine construction specialist about your upcoming plans can prevent a seawall impressure balance that could lead to seawall failure and possible damage to your new addition.

Examples of some property changes that could cause a seawall pressure imbalance include:

Expanding Your Living Space with an Addition to Your Home

Additional living space adds additional weight to the land side of your seawall, which could cause a pressure imbalance. A seawall construction specialist can make adjustments to your seawall to compensate for the additional pressure.

Adding New or More Outdoor Structures

Adding a barn, a shed, a garage, or even just a new parking area could lead to a pressure imbalance. Smaller structures may only cause a slight imbalance but over time that imbalance could lead to cracks in the wall, destabilizing it.

Adding or Expanding Outdoor Living Space and/or Amenities

Many people enjoy spending time outdoors, and adding new outdoor features are a great way to be able to increase the enjoyment you can get from your yard. Adding a new patio, a deck, or an outdoor kitchen are all great ideas. So are water features like a fountain, a pond, a waterfall, a hot tub, and a pool. All of these improvements can lead to you being able to enjoy your property more, but just run the plans by a seawall expert first to ensure a pressure imbalance doesn’t cut your enjoyment time short.

Water features, especially those that disrupt the land or soil have the potential to cause a lot of damage, quickly. Not only can they cause a pressure imbalance, they are notorious for destabilizing a seawall unless appropriate measures are taken during the building process. Consulting a seawall construction expert about your plans for an outdoor living area can ensure you are able to enjoy the space safely and for a longer time.

Landscaping Modifications

Changing up the landscaping is a great way to keep your property feeling fresh and updated too and can add value to your property. But before you begin digging, you should run your plans by a marine construction specialist to ensure your fresh new look won’t put any additional pressure on your seawall.

And always consult a seawall construction expert before planting trees. Different trees have different types of root systems. As a tree grows, so does its root system. Seawall construction experts can help you select the best types of trees and guide you on how close those trees can be planted to your seawall without causing damage.

Follow this simple rule. Stand in the exact spot where you would like to plant your tree. If you can see your seawall, then call an expert of a consultation. For the best results, call Gibson Marine Construction. They not only build and maintain seawalls, they have a team of knowledgeable landscaping experts that can create an amazing, fresh, new landscape design that integrates with and protects the stability of your seawall.

Prevent Seawall Failure by Preventing a Pressure Imbalance

If you notice something that could impact the pressure being exerted onto your seawall, or are starting a project that could potentially impact it, call in an expert to consult. Taking a little extra time up front could save you a lot more time and money down the road.

Call Gibson Marine Construction for help. Gibson Marine Construction will send a marine construction specialist out to take a look and advise you on how to prevent your seawall from failing due to a pressure imbalance.

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