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The Different Types Of Seawalls [Explained]

If your house is at the seaside, you’ll definitely need a good seawall. But there are multiple types of seawalls available on the market. That’s why you’ve to compare them before making the final choice. 

What are the types of seawalls? 

There are 3 types of seawalls by design. These are vertical, curved, and mound. These seawalls can withstand different water types, impacts, and surroundings. They also got different levels of resistance. On the contrary, material-wise there are 5 types of seawalls. Their cost per linear foot and durability varies from one material to another. 

Anyways, that was only a short answer to this vast discussion. We’ve tried our best to keep it simple for you! 

Let’s just head right in!

3 Primary Types Of Seawalls: What You Need To Know

There are mainly 3 types of seawalls on the market. This mainly varies because of their unique designs and usage. But you have to understand their differences to get one for yourself.

For instance, having a heads-up can help you compare shiplap with drywall easier. It’s a lifesaver, honestly. 

That’s why we’ve made a table for you to distinguish between these 3 seawall types-

FactorsVerticalCurvedMound
CostModerateExpensiveCheap
ProtectionHighHighestDecent
Wave ResistanceHighLowMedium
InstallationModerateHardEasy

Did you read the table? If so, which one is giving a better impression to you? 

This table may give you the basics at a glance but not the entire scenario. That’s why we’ve also discussed them separately. 

Type 1: Vertical Seawalls

This is the most common type of seawall. Wherever you go, you’re likely to see this type of seawall. 

The name derives from its design; it’s obvious. It’s designed vertically to deflect the waves of water directly. They are great against rough waves of water. 

The cost to build vertical walls is moderate. Since they are vertical, you won’t pay for any design-related work. Most of your money will go behind the materials instead. 

The vertical seawalls offer high protection against rough waters. This makes them really good for rivers or lakes. 

Unlike other types, this one takes the hit straight away. Because of that, this type of seawall needs to be really sturdy. When built correctly, these types of walls can last for decades. 

As for materials, concrete and steel should be your top choice. Since waves hit directly, the extra toughness is super useful. 

Another great option is to consider fencing a sea wall. It’s easy to build and it doesn’t block the beautiful view. 

Type 2: Curved Seawalls

After vertical seawalls, it’s time to talk about the second type. Curved seawalls are kind of an upgrade from vertical seawalls. 

Because of that reason, these walls are more expensive to build. Because you’ve to pay for the curviness of the wall too. 

But the extra expense is totally worth it. Because it offers even higher protection against water. 

Unlike vertical seawalls, it doesn’t try to deflect all the water. Because deflecting requires taking a solid hit and that can weaken the wall. 

Instead, the curved seawalls redirect the water waves upwards. It’s possible because of their curvy structure. They easily disperse the energy of water. 

This makes them sturdier among all 3 types. And they tend to last for the longest period. 

Type 3: Mound Seawalls

Unlike vertical and curved seawalls, this particular type doesn’t face the waves head-on. Rather it weakens the waves before it hits the shore. 

Mound seawalls are built with concrete blocks, stones, and rocks. Because of their rugged edge, the wave gets dispersed super easily. 

It’s still weaker than the other two types, though. But it’s also super cheap to build and takes the least effort. 

If there’s a small lake or pond, this is a great option to consider. 

Types Of Seawalls By Materials: Short Comparison

There are mainly 5 types of seawalls in terms of materials. Their linear foot pricing differs a lot. They also have different durability ranging from low to high. 

It’s the same when you compare OSB with Drywall. Knowing the advantages can affect the opinion. Well, the overall perspective at the very least. 

That’s why we’ve made another table for you- 

Seawall MaterialPrice (per linear ft.)Water BodyDurability
Rip Rap (Stones)$70 – $100Small pond, calm lakeLowest
Wood$100 – $200Small pond, calm lakeLow
Vinyl$150 – $200Big pond, rough lakeMedium
Steel$250 – $500Rough lake, small riverHigh
Concrete$200 – $800Ocean, big riverExtreme

Which material are you liking the most after going through the entire table? 

We’re going to give you short overviews of all of them. This way, you can easily understand what type to choose.

Rip Rap Seawalls

Rip Rap seawalls are made of stones and rocks. They are practically the cheapest way to make a seawall. 

At the same time, they are also weakest. But if you have a small pond beside your house, it’s a good choice. They cost about $70 to $100 depending on what you choose. 

Wooden Seawall

Wood doesn’t get used as seawalls that much nowadays. But it’s still preferred by a lot of people. 

They cost about $100 to $200 per linear foot depending on the wood type. These types of seawalls are great for retaining the pond. 

Vinyl Seawall

Vinyl is another great option to consider. Especially if your house is beside a large pond or rough lake.

It’s also easier to build comparatively. For vinyl seawalls, you’ll need to spend around $150 to $200 per linear foot. 

Steel Seawall 

Steel is the toughest seawall if you count concrete out. But they’re a bit more complex to install. 

Steel seawalls are going to cost you $200 to $500 per linear foot. They offer high durability and can last for decades. 

But one thing you should note is that alkalinity may affect the seawall’s color. Also, steel seawalls are most likely to be corroded. For that, you’ll need water-based sealers. 

Here are some of our favorite picks-

Water-based Sealer 1
Water-based Sealer 2

You can now pick whichever you like better and apply it right away. 

Concrete Seawall

The toughest and the strongest of them all; the concrete seawall. They can cost about $200 to $800 per linear foot. 

The installation of concrete seawalls is the hardest. Because often you’re going to need heavy vehicles for this. But the concrete can last for a decade without maintenance.  

Another important point, while concrete siding may require sealing; seawalls don’t. That’s why concrete is the best option for a long-term stay. You may opt for this option. 

FAQs

Question: Are seawalls expensive?

Answer: Seawalls can be expensive depending on what materials you use. They often range from $200 to $1000 per linear foot. That’s why you have to choose carefully. 

Question: How do seawalls protect the coastline?

Answer: Seawalls protect the land or the coastline through reflection. This prevents the erosion of land effectively. It can also prevent floods which can potentially weaken the soil. 

Question: What are the disadvantages of seawalls?

Answer: The construction cost can be really high. You also have to maintain the seawalls too. Apart from that, it can harm the livelihood of the animals.

Final Words

That was everything we could gather on the types of seawalls. Hopefully, it was enough to satisfy your curiosity. 

Also one thing we forgot to mention. If you’re going to build a dock for the boats, the shoreline must be sturdy. For that, you’ll need steel or concrete seawalls. 

Lastly, have a nice day!