If you have ever built a sandcastle at the beach, you know the role that waves play on erosion. When you buy a waterfront property, it is important to realize that unless you take care to protect the water's edge, your piece of land may well shrink over the years as the waves wash it away bit by bit just like a sandcastle.
The extent of protection that your shoreline will require depends on what kind of buffer exists between your property and the water, if your area is prone to storms, if your waterfront is ocean or lake front, or if there are bylaws in your area about what kind of protection you are allowed to install.
Seawalls are one option for property owners. They can be placed back from the natural beach area to protect the land from the large waves caused by storms or creating an edge between the land and deeper water so that there is no natural transition from land into the water. Seawalls can be made of a variety of materials including wood, concrete, steel, stone, and vinyl.
Wood seawalls may be less expensive to install, but are often treated with chemicals to make them last longer. They are susceptible to marine borers which literally eat away at wooden structures in the marine environment. Wood can also react with the soil, absorbing and reacting with chemical fertilizers used. Changes in temperature can also affect wooden seawalls causing the wood to expand and contract, cracking the wood over time.
Concrete and steel seawalls provide a less reactive protection for the edge of your property than wood, however even they too can be eroded. Seawater is corrosive to concrete and steel. Wave pounding and abrasion can also wear away a concrete seawall. Just like wood, steel can also be affected by chemical fertilizers used nearby.
Stone seawalls are relatively inert, depending on the type of stone used. One of the oldest seawalls in the world at Puducherry, India is made of granite boulders which are resistant to weathering and erosion from the sea. A stone seawall, particularly when used with a buffer area of natural vegetation, provides a non-invasive way to protect your property's shoreline.
Vinyl is emerging as a new alternative to seawall construction. It tends to be lightweight, flexible, and fairly non-reactive to chemicals or erosion. Vinyl does not have the benefit of looking natural at all and can be expensive to purchase and install. However, once installed it can last a long time because of its non-reactive traits.
As you can see, there are many ways that you can protect your waterfront. Take the time to consider the best options for your particular situation and remember that a long lasting investment may take more time or money to put in place than a quick fix.
DavidSporleder.com offers a quick and easy search for Cape Coral real estate and Sandoval homes. You'll find listings for every kind of property on the Southwest FL market, including waterfront homes, condominiums and single family houses.
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