What Seawalls Are Made Of: All You Need To Know

Seawalls are a crucial part of coastal areas' infrastructures. They serve as a barrier between the ocean and human settlements to protect them from storms and high-tide floods. Seawalls come in various sizes and shapes, but they all have one thing in common — their construction materials. This blog post will discuss what seawalls are made of to better understand their structure and function.

1. Concrete

Concrete is a commonly used material in building seawalls because of its durability and strength. It's resistant to ocean water corrosion and provides excellent protection against waves and high tide floods. However, its maintenance costs can be high, and its construction involves a lot of concrete pouring and formwork.

2. Riprap

Riprap refers to large stones and concrete blocks used to build seawalls. It's a cost-effective material that provides maximum protection against waves and storms. Unlike concrete, its construction requires less formwork, which means a quicker build and lower costs. However, the placement of the riprap must be carefully planned to ensure its stability and longevity.

3. Gabion baskets

Gabion baskets are wire mesh cages filled with rocks, concrete, or other materials used to build seawalls. They're easy to install, cost-effective, and eco-friendly since they're made of natural materials. Gabion baskets are also flexible and can adapt to different soil conditions and wave patterns. They're ideal for small-scale seawall construction, but they may not withstand high waves and storms.

4. Steel

Steel is another durable material used to build seawalls. It's strong and corrosion-resistant, making it ideal for harsh coastal environments. Steel sheets, pilings, and beams are often used to create seawalls. However, steel seawalls can be expensive to construct and maintain, and their ecological impact must be carefully considered.

5. Wood

Wood has been used for centuries to build seawalls. It's a natural and sustainable resource that's easy to work with and cost-effective. Wood seawalls typically consist of wooden pilings and planks that are buried in the sand. However, wood seawalls can be prone to rotting, warping, and termite infestations, which can reduce their lifespan and effectiveness.

Seawalls are essential for coastal communities' safety and well-being. Understanding what seawalls are made of is crucial to understanding their durability, cost, and ecological impact. As you've seen, seawalls can be made of concrete, riprap, gabion baskets, steel, and wood. Each material has its advantages and disadvantages, and choosing the right one depends on the coastal environment's specific conditions. By understanding what seawalls are made of, you can make informed choices that will lead to the creation of more resilient and sustainable coastal infrastructures.

For more information on seawall construction, contact a professional near you.