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What Are the Pros and Cons of a Rip Rap Retaining Wall?

What Are the Pros and Cons of a Rip Rap Retaining Wall?

How Does a Rip Rap Retaining Wall Impact Your Property? Find Out Here!

Living on a body of water has many advantages. You can go fishing, boating, or just enjoy the natural beauty of the area. However, living on a body of water also means you are vulnerable to damaging elements. This includes erosion, flooding, and pests looking to invade your property.

How do you defend against these elements? One crucial way is to install a rip rap retaining wall to protect your shoreline. Rip rap is made up of pieces of rocks packed together along your shoreline. The seawall acts as a barrier between the water and your property.

Researching the rip rap advantages and disadvantages can be a time investment. We want the decision-making process to be easier for you. So, we’ve collected the pros and cons of a rip rap retaining wall right here for you! Check them out below!

Pros of a Rip Rap Retaining Wall

Many people opt for a rip rap design when looking at seawalls. Properly installed rip rap protects your home from critical elements while beautifying your property. Here is why this retaining wall works well for those who live on a body of water.

1. Rip Rap Walls Protect Against Erosion

The rip rap rock used to protect your property helps stabilize areas with high rates of erosion. Erosion, which is the gradual destruction of something, creates flooding issues. River and lake erosion weaken your shoreline and open you up to a lot more problems. These problems can result in a great amount of damage and cost.  

The rocks used in a rip rap design absorb the flow and motion of water. If there is no motion of water hitting your shoreline, the shoreline won’t break down.

An image showing a rip rap retaining wall next to water with block steps in the middle of the wall.
Rip rap will absorb the motion of waves to prevent erosion, which could lead to flooding and destruction of property.

2. Rip Rap is Easy to Maintain

An important aspect of owning a seawall is proper upkeep. Maintenance for a rip rap design requires annual inspection. If you check the rip rap rocks for breaks or cracks at least once a year, then the seawall should stand the test of time. You also want to check on the rocks after major storms or weather-related incidents.

Replacement of the rocks is also easier. Because they are individually placed, when one rock starts to wear down, you only have to replace that one.

3. Rip Rap is Eco-Friendly

While it will deter animals such as muskrats from tunneling through your property, the natural exterior of rip rap also promotes eco-friendliness.

The rock placement protects vegetation. Plants can grow in between the rocks for a more natural look. Make sure during your checks to look for invasive species such as weeds, however. Marine wildlife can also nest in the rocks and build homes, which only adds to the natural appeal.

4. Rip Rap Lasts for A Long Time

If you keep up on the annual maintenance of your rip rap rock wall, then it will work for a lifetime. Rip rap rocks are designed to be durable and long-lasting. That means that while proper upkeep is important, you can rest knowing that your rip rap seawall have a lifespan of decades.

An image showing a rip rap retaining wall made of smaller rocks along a recently excavated shoreline.
Investing in protection for your home can increase the property value when it comes time to sell.

5. Rip Rap Enhances Property

Because it is more natural looking than a steel seawall, rip rap blends into the environment. The individual rocks give off a natural look that improves the aesthetic beauty of your property and home.

It also has the benefit of increasing property value by protecting your shoreline. Therefore, the investment of putting in a rip rap retaining wall will pay off if you ever decide to sell your home.

Cons of a Rip Rap Retaining Wall

While rip rap seawalls offer a number of fantastic benefits, there are a few potential drawbacks to keep in mind.

1. Rip Rap is An Investment

If the damage is minor, it can be fixed fairly easily with basic tools. Some issues are more serious and require more than just routine maintenance, however. More extreme cases may require excavation.

For example, if your steel seawall is sagging, dipping, or bowing outward, then there’s a good chance you need serious repair work, if not replacement.

And if you see indentations, pits, or holes forming near the seawall, then a breach in the wall may be allowing the soil to drain through into the water. In this case, the wall would require significant repairs.

A rip rap retaining wall sits on a shoreline next to a lake leading up to a dock.
Rip rap retaining walls work best against calmer waters, not waters with a high-frequency of waves.

2. Rip Rap Depends on Your Location

It might turn out that rip rap isn’t the best seawall for you simply because of where you live. Rip rap is most effective in areas with high velocity waters. If you live on a calmer body of water, a different seawall might be the one you’re looking for.

Fortunately, if your property isn’t appropriate for a rip rap retaining wall, there are other options available to you.

3. Rip Rap Won’t Protect Adjacent Flooding

While the rip rap retaining wall will protect your home from flooding, this isn’t always the case for land next door. The land adjacent to you might have a flooding problem due to a lack of shoreline protection. This adjacent flooding could still harm your property even though you have rip rap on your shoreline.

Do You Need Help Picking the Perfect Seawall?

Protecting your home and property from erosion and flooding is a necessity. You want your seawall to stand up to these harmful elements. That means you want it installed correctly. So, why not let the professionals do it for you?

Seawalls Unlimited strives to give the highest quality services to those on and off the Chain O’Lakes. Our seawalls have been helping protect people in the Lake County, Kenosha County, and Northern Cook County areas for years! Call us today for a quote!

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