What Seawall Should You Have at Your Ohio Lake House?

What Seawall Should You Have at Your Ohio Lake House?

One of the biggest differences between owning a regular residential home and owning a lakefront home is the fact that part of your ownership of a lake house involves the constant watch on shoreline erosion, and the installation, repair and maintenance of whatever seawall you decide to use to protect your shoreline. There are several types of seawalls you can have at your property, each with it’s own advantages and disadvantages. Some seawalls have more aesthetic appeal, some do a better job of protection and some are higher in cost. All of these factors have to be weighed in order to answer the question: what seawall should you have at your Ohio lake house?

1. Wood

Wooden seawalls are a popular choice with lakefront homeowner’s as they are an economical option, being less expensive than several other options. The wooden appearance can also have a certain aesthetic appeal and if in a wooded area this type of seawall can blend in with the surrounding a little better than other seawalls. Although it may be cheaper than concrete wood is much more susceptible to becoming worn and deteriorate from it’s natural weakness against water, not to mention that the wood itself doesn’t do the best job of resisting against heavy waves. Wood will require more maintenance that other types in order to get the full lifespan out of it, and is much more suitable for a cove or a lake with no wake rules as it doesn’t stand up to wake as well as other seawalls.

2. Steel 

Steel seawalls are generally less aesthetically pleasing that other seawalls but have the advantage of being able to be installed in any soil type and the installation of steel sheeting is usually relatively easier. Steel is usually not on the expensive side of seawalls and does a decent job of withholding against waves and erosion, however steel does need constant maintenance in order to get the full life out of it as constant exposure to the water can cause oxidation and deterioration of the metal. Also, if your lake house has a high amount of salinity in the water metal may also not be the best choice as the salinity can cause the metal to wear down even faster.

3. Rip Rap

Rip rap is a fancy way of saying “a bunch of loose rock” that is laid down along the shoreline to help prevent erosion. The main advantages of rip rap are that a) it is one of the cheapest options out there and b) it is the most eco-friendly. The rocks look more natural but also don’t impede vegetation access to the water and can be colonized by vegetation and insects as well. The downside to rip rap is that it doesn’t hold up very well against heavy wake and in those heavy wake areas you may be adding or replacing your rip-rap every or every other year.

4. Block / Large Stone

Similar to rip rap are large natural stones or bursa block stacked together to form a seawall. This style can be more expensive and is perhaps the most aesthetically pleasing of the seawalls giving your home a refined yet natural look. However, in heavy wake areas the water has a tendency to get behind this type of seawall through the cracks and wash out the soil from behind it. You need to be very careful when installing this type of seawall and make sure it can stand up to whatever level of wake you have at your Ohio lake house.

5. Concrete

One of the hardiest materials to build a seawall out of, concrete can stand up to almost any level of wake over an extended period of time. The main disadvantages of using concrete is that it can be expensive and it isn’t the most pleasing to look at. However, if you’re looking for less maintenance and extended duration and protection of your shoreline concrete may be the way to go.

6. Vinyl / Plastic

Although this style of seawall isn’t seen much at Ohio lakes it is becoming more and popular across the U.S as an economical product that has a long lifespan. However, be careful with this type of seawall as installation can be difficult depending on the soil type and shoreline you and your family have. Make to sure to contact a professional before using this type of seawall.

It’s also important to note that when purchasing a lake house make sure to see what kind of seawall is already installed. Depending on the material and it’s condition this may affect how much you should spend on the property as you may have a large and expensive seawall project to look forward to. Also, some lakes have rules and regulations on what kind of seawall you can install, and others have certain wake patterns that require certain types of seawalls. For instance Apple Valley Lake, which has no HP limit will have more wake in some areas compared to Candlewood Lake, which although doesn’t have a HP limit either, it has restrictions against jet skis which means they have less wake overall.

Make sure to talk to your lakefront specialist about what type of seawall will work best for your lake house and talk about cost, aesthetic appeal and how well it will hold up to that specific lake’s wake.And remember Life is Short- Buy The Lake House!

Written By Justin Shelton Lakefront Consultant – The Lake Team

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