April 29, 2023

What are Seawalls? EFC Seawall Construction

Seawalls are structures that are built along the coast to protect land from the damaging effects of waves, tides, and storm surges. They are typically constructed of concrete, steel, or other durable materials and can range in height and design depending on the specific needs of the location. In this blog post, we’ll explore the basics of seawall construction, including their design, materials, and maintenance.


The design of a seawall is crucial to its effectiveness in protecting the land it surrounds. The wall must be designed to withstand the forces of the ocean and the impact of waves, tides, and storms. A seawall that is too low or poorly designed can be quickly overwhelmed by high water, rendering it ineffective.

To ensure the proper design of a seawall, engineers consider several factors, including the local topography, wave action, and water level variations. They use computer modeling to simulate wave behavior and to test various design options. Additionally, the wall’s design must meet local building codes and regulations.


Seawalls can be made of a variety of materials, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. Concrete is the most common material used for seawall construction because it is durable and can withstand the forces of the ocean. Steel is also a popular material for seawalls because it is lightweight, flexible, and resistant to corrosion. Other materials, such as vinyl or composite materials, are becoming more popular because they are cheaper to install and maintain than traditional materials.


Proper maintenance is critical to the longevity and effectiveness of a seawall. Regular inspections are necessary to identify any damage, such as cracks or erosion, and to make repairs as needed. The frequency of inspections depends on the location and the materials used in construction.

The type of maintenance required will also vary depending on the type of seawall. Concrete seawalls may require regular cleaning to remove marine growth, while steel seawalls may require periodic painting to prevent corrosion.

Construction Process

The construction of a seawall typically involves several steps. The first step is to excavate the area where the wall will be built and to lay a foundation. Once the foundation is in place, the wall is constructed using the chosen materials. The top of the seawall is typically finished with a cap to protect it from weather and to provide a smooth surface for walking or sitting.

During the construction process, environmental factors must be considered to minimize the impact on the surrounding ecosystem. For example, silt curtains may be used to prevent sediment from being disturbed during construction, and fencing may be used to protect sensitive habitats.

Seawalls are an essential part of coastal development, providing protection from erosion, flooding, and other hazards. Their design, materials, and maintenance are critical to their effectiveness in protecting the land they surround. While there are some concerns about the environmental impact of seawall construction, proper planning and construction techniques can help to mitigate these issues. As coastal populations continue to grow, seawalls will likely play an increasingly important role in protecting these communities from the forces of the ocean.