Have you just purchased waterfront property in CT or have a property along the coast that needs seawall construction? If so, you may be wondering what type of seawall your property needs, how much it will cost, and how long the new seawall will last. The good news is that with certain building techniques and maintenance, a properly built seawall can last as long as 50 years. The cost of your seawall depends on the length, type of material, and soil conditions.
Why Your Property Needs a Seawall
If your property doesn’t have a seawall or contains one that is in bad repair, you could start to notice soil erosion and flooding on your property. Soil erosion will reduce the size of your property and can even become so severe that it impacts the foundation of your home or commercial business. Properties without seawalls can also experience severe flooding during storms that could render the buildings uninhabitable. Thankfully, no matter the size or type of your property, there is a seawall that’s right for you.
Four Types of Seawalls
There are four common types of seawalls, including concrete, cobble or boulder seawalls, sheet piles, and riprap seawalls. The kind of seawall needed for your property depends on the soil of your shoreline, the weather, and your property’s specific needs.
1. Concrete Seawalls
Concrete seawalls are used in areas where frequent and heavy waves often impact the shoreline. These are constructed using large blocks on concrete that are poured in place. Concrete seawall repair starts with building walls that are typically anchored deep into the soil either via digging a deep foundation or using piles that are sunk into the soil until they reach the bedrock.
2. Large Cobbles/Boulder Seawalls
Large cobble and boulder seawalls look similar to the decorative rock walls you might see inland. These are extremely aesthetically pleasing. They are built using large rocks and boulders that are held together with mortar. Large cobble and boulder seawalls are great for properties that see light to moderate wave action.
3. Riprap Seawalls
Riprap seawalls are a combination of large and small boulders and chunks of concrete. When you view a shoreline that’s been reinforced with riprap, it often looks like well-placed white and gray rocks with various grasses and plant life growing in and around the rocks. Riprap can also be used to reinforce the bases of older seawalls. These seawalls are great for preventing soil erosion in areas that see light to moderate wave action during storms.
4. Sheet Pile Seawalls
Sheet pile seawalls are not as aesthetically pleasing as other types of seawalls. However, they are very effective at deflecting waves and preventing soil erosion. These seawalls are anchored deep in the soil and set against the bank for added support. These seawalls can be further reinforced with large rocks at the base and rocks behind the steel sheets. These seawalls are great for areas that see moderate wave action and soil erosion due to severe storms.
Styles of Seawalls
- Curved– Seawalls curved along the shoreline are built to mimic the uneven way that waves hit the coastline. This is an effective building method to deflect the water and reduce soil erosion at the bottom of the seawall.
- Gravity– Gravity seawalls are anchored in rocks located at or below the soil line or secured with piles that are inserted into the soil down to the bedrock. This building style helps ensure the seawall is strong enough to withstand the forces of the waves, but often need additional reinforcements to prevent stress cracking and other damage to the wall due to its extreme rigidity.
Average Cost to Build a Seawall in CT
The average cost of building a seawall in Connecticut varies, depending on the soil conditions, length of the seawall, type of construction needed, the building material, and the accessibility to the site. Of those factors, the two that make the most impact on cost are the soil depth and if the seawall can be built from the land side or if it must be built from the waterside.
The soil at the seaside determines the types of building materials needed to construct a durable seawall that will last for 50 years instead of 10 years. If large piles need to be drilled deep into the soil to support the seawall, it adds to the cost.
When a seawall has to be built from the waterside (using boats and large platforms), it can increase the cost by as much as 40 percent. Typically, seaside builds are needed when there is not enough space between the wall and the strictures on the property or if the soil conditions cannot support the weight of construction equipment.
Getting Seawall Estimates from K.E. Braza, Serving CT
The best way to know the cost of your seawall installation is to schedule an on-site estimate. This allows us to evaluate your property, measure the length of seawall needed, and discuss building material options. Only an in-person estimate can give you the most accurate cost for your new seawall so that you can budget for the installation.
To get an estimate and learn more about the types and styles of seawalls we build along the Connecticut coastline, give us a call at 860-662-0124.