Causes of Seawall Failure

What are Freeze/Thaw Cycles?

A freeze/thaw cycle is completed when soil freezes in cold weather and then thaws out again in warm weather. This cycle loosens up and destabilizes soil over time. This process causes erosion and can be problematic for structures such as seawalls that depend on supporting soil.

How Do Freeze/Thaw Cycles Damage Seawalls?

A healthy seawall has strong supporting soil on the landward side. The freezing and thawing process causes soil to become soft and less compact. Shifting and eroding supporting soil can cause cracks, movement, and leaks. Once these signs of distress appear, the “cost” clock starts ticking. The longer they are ignored, the more expensive the eventual repair or replacement.

Repair Seawall Damage Caused By Freeze/Thaw Cycles

Soil that has been permeated with hydrophobic polyurethane foam that react with water or moisture in the soil and expands to fill voids to form a solid, strong, watertight mass, and are used extensively in seawall applications to stabilize the soil and seal cracks, voids and other defects.  This makes the area less subject to erosion caused by freezing and thawing. Depending on the soil type, this procedure could prevent frost heave altogether.