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Seawall Repair

Seawall failure and erosion are a widespread problem throughout Florida. Many homeowners and businesses are experiencing the frustrations of seawall failures and need to fix them once and for all.

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Seawall failure and erosion are a widespread problem throughout Florida. Many homeowners and businesses are experiencing the frustrations of seawall failures and need to fix them once and for all.

There are many types of seawalls and they are constructed from a variety of materials such as concrete, wood, vinyl and steel panels. Designed as a means of protection from the effects of erosion, many of these seawalls are experiencing failure from the effect of tidal surge, poor drainage and old age.

Common signs of failure include soil subsidence, wall cracking, voids, settling of sidewalks, pool slabs, and even tilting of the walls. These symptoms are caused by erosion of the ground behind the wall. Typically, this is caused by leaks in the wall, improper drainage of land-side runoff, or ground behind the wall that was not sufficiently compacted during construction. Over time that ground will settle or will get saturated and mushy. Either will result in voids and erosion, undermining the integrity and effectiveness of the wall. Timely diagnosis and repair of these structures are critical before total failure occurs.

Prior to the innovation of chemical grout, voids could be filled with dirt and aggregate or a cementitious fill. But this didn’t remove the reason there was erosion or settlement in the first place.

Replacement of portions of the wall or even a full replacement is an option. Bear in mind this is a major construction project that is highly disruptive to you and possibly to the environment. An environmentally sensitive area could mean an extensive (and expensive) permitting process, delaying remedy by weeks or months. Depending on the location, a barge or crane may be needed to complete the demolition of the existing wall and the construction of the new one.

There are absolutely times when replacement is the best or only option, however this is often not the case. You can repair a seawall or bulkhead with chemical grouts; fill voids, stabilize soil and seal leaks at a fraction of the cost of wall replacement.

Proper evaluation and repair of a seawall requires that both the causes of erosion and hydrostatic pressure relief be taken into account. During heavy intrusion of water from rain or other heavy water events, the hydrostatic pressure is significantly increased. It is imperative that this pressure is properly released through weep holes in the seawall. Many seawalls were originally constructed WITHOUT proper pressure relief, and that excessive pressure has led to cracking walls, failed joints, broken panel and erosion underneath the seawall itself.

Foundation Technologies will assess the seawall damage and determine the proper repair plan. The typical repair plan consists of assuring proper drainage/pressure relief. This may include the installation of pressure relief ports at specific locations along the seawall. In addition, we will halt the erosion problems by the injection of chemical grout immediately behind the landward side of the seawall. This water activated grout is injected below the base of the seawall to seal off the areas of erosion. The injection will continue up the seawall to seal cracks and fissures and to fill any voids created by previous erosion. The repair process is quick, clean, environmentally sage and is usually completed in one to two days.

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Please contact us with any questions or concerns about your property’s foundation. Be sure to include what issues you are experiencing and if your property is a business or residential.