Seawall Material

When it comes to owning and protecting a waterfront home, the seawall is an important part of your property. A seawall performs two major functions: physically protecting your property from losing land mass to erosion from a water front, and also designating the boundary of your private property.

If you are deciding between seawall materials, here is some helpful information! Bear in mind that it is common to combine different types of seawall materials to suit your individual needs (like a vinyl seawall covering concrete, or a rip rap seawall covering vinyl).


Concrete seawalls have been the industry standard. Their expected lifespan is thirty years. Often they may exceed their lifespan. The important factor in a concrete seawall’s lifespan is the strength of the reinforcing steel, which must be protected from the corrosive water. The reinforcing steel is typically protected by a concrete cover. Concrete seawalls will require ongoing maintenance, usually repairs to cracks and holes in the concrete cover to prevent corrosion of the reinforcing steel. These damages occur naturally from exposure to marine conditions.


Vinyl seawalls have a greater life expectancy than concrete, lasting up to fifty years. It could also be considered more aesthetically pleasing – from color choice, to the fact that vinyl seawalls will not corrode, rust, crack, or rot from sea water. Vinyl may be installed in front of an old concrete seawall. The installation process is also generally less invasive and time-consuming, as vinyl weighs less than concrete and doesn’t require the same heavy equipment to install. Vinyl does have height limitations, and may not be driven into certain hard surfaces.

Rip Rap

A rip rap seawall is one composed of rocks, stones, and other material arranged along the wall, giving protection from corrosion while also delivering a beautiful and natural look. The rip rap absorbs waves coming toward your property, dissipating the wave’s energy and protecting your seawall from erosion. It will also provide a habitat for marine life, allowing plants and animals to thrive right in your backyard. Rip rap is fairly simple to maintain and repair, although it requires annual examination to ensure stability.

Helpful Links

City of Marco Island Building Services

Marco Island Seawall Owners Manual