Despite its appearance, rip rap seawalls are anything but haphazard installations. Call it organized chaos, but these marine structures don’t only serve the traditional purpose of a barrier between water and the land, their function is far more nuanced.
Rip rap seawalls and marine life
The facts about the impact on the native environment of marine and terrestrial life is in direct proportion to pollution and our reckless disregard of our planet. No matter what shade of “green” you are, there is little denying that actions are speaking louder than words regarding the influence on the natural habitats of the animal world.
Rip rap seawalls are used to protect marsh grasses, but at your property’s edge, they actually create a haven for smaller water creatures in need of shelter during tidal changes. While you won’t necessarily be creating your very own ecosystem, it is a contribution.
Waterfront properties come in all shapes and sizes, as do their shorelines. We engineer marine solutions for the gamut, but rip rap is a very suitable choice wherever a water erosion situation exists. If your home for example is up on a cliff overlooking the water, a concerted placement strategy will not only keep the body of water from eroding the land, it will actually help maintain its integrity in the face of precipitation that could just as effectively wear the hillside away.
Rip rap as a tandem component
Aesthetically, rip rap seawalls simply lend natural beauty to a home’s shoreline. They not only furnish that singular look as each one is completely unique, the addition of rip rap to vinyl seawalls makes for an effectual combination.
Installed along the baseline, they add additional stability and a natural look in front of an existing seawall while helping to prevent soil from eroding.
At Gibson, in addition to a buried toe to literally cradle the rocks, we install an underlayment before erecting rip rap seawalls. Once the underlayment is installed, Florida Fieldstone or lime rock is installed at a 2:1 ratio with rock between 8” and 24”. Here again, rip rap installations are decisively designed.
According to this House and Home Magazine article:
Rip rap actually absorbs waves coming on to your property. Seawalls and other types of erosion control can deflect waves and send them to other shoreline areas. With rip rap, when a wave crashes against it the wave is dampened, or absorbed, and does not bounce back to other areas.
In areas with very high rates of erosion riprap can be placed in front of a seawall. The seawall works as a high level of erosion protection and the riprap in front of the seawall works to keep the dirt at the bottom of the seawall from eroding away. Additionally, this helps to absorb the waves. This type of installation is preferable in inlets and marina type settings that have serious erosion problems.
While we are also huge proponents of synthetic materials in seawall construction as the warranties are very robust and the installation is comparatively simple, we reserve a good deal of applause for everything rip rap seawalls have to offer.