Kent Foundation Repair News

Why Seawalls are Structural and Foundational Necessities Along the Coastline

Homeowners and business owners understand the importance of quality foundational repair. At Kent Foundation Repair, we have served the residential Grand Rapids community by providing expert foundation services such as foundation repair, crawl space repair, and retaining walls for many years. Most of the jobs we complete are landlocked, although we also provide support to homeowners with residences along the coast.

These types of coastal projects require a few essential differences. Given the unpredictability of the rising waters and the effect of erosion on Lake Michigan foundations, homeowners who live in this highly coveted location must consider the potential difficulties they could face during high tides. The forces of Lake Michigan are formidable, but as long as nature is respected, there is no reason to fear the record heights.

Pros of Seawall Construction

There are virtually no disadvantages to seawall construction. There are no better means of fighting natural erosion and water damage. We recently completed this construction along Lake Michigan for a client named Judy. For Judy, like many homeowners with residences along the coastline, there was significant concern that the rising tides would cause erosion and flooding.

We customized our approach for Judy after viewing her home, planning and installing twelve helical tie-backs, which we fastened to a sheet piled with galvanized steel. We anchored roughly 15-20 feet into the substrate of the dune to provide structural support. This process helped to protect from the wild natural forces of the lake.

How to Know if You Need Seawall Protection

We have discovered that there are very solid layers of material beneath shoreline dunes, which allow us to provide lofty capacities for such critical erosion walls. In the case of Judy’s project, we dug into the dune and penetrated a solid clay layer at about 20’ inches of depth.

While some homeowners along the lake face no significant issues, it is recommended that a retaining wall or seawall be put into place as protection. If your home or its patio or deck are situated on a critical area, you are playing a “game of time”—how long can your structure hold up, and how drastic will the movement be when it occurs?

Our customers’ biggest concern is how to figure out whether they are actually in need of this type of job. A few good indicators can give you clues. One relatively simple one to keep an eye out for is noticeable lateral or vertical movement in a seawall. In the case of block or concrete retaining walls, visual cracking or shifting can be spotted. An additional thing to keep an eye out for is a drop in the soil elevation on the wall’s landside, which is a strong indicator that the sandy soil is being pulled out from under the wall into the lake. If you are a homeowner with a lakefront home and you are worried about erosion, don’t worry. The key is to take preventative measures. Many Michiganders purchase homes along Lake Michigan for the aesthetic appeal, and we can’t blame them. The view is remarkable, but it is essential to invest in this job to maintain the quality.

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