What Materials Make Up Seawalls?

Seawalls are a type of coastal defense for canals and bays that minimize the eroding impact of waves. These massive structures protect land in coastal areas from crashing waves. Usually, they are parallel to the shore and act as buffers against erosion.

Seawalls have specific designs that allow them to reflect wave energy back into the sea instead of letting them hit the land and cause potential damage and erosion. If you also own waterfront property, then it is always advisable to hire professional seawall construction services for the best results.

Seawalls can consist of almost any material, granted that material can withstand saltwater and impact forces. These materials can include vinyl, concrete, and wood.  

The material depends on the area, frequency, and power of the waves. Seawalls for lakes will differ from those used for rivers, which will differ from those best for oceans.  

Let’s look at the three most common materials below:  

Vinyl Sheet Piling (The Most Popular Choice)

Vinyl sheet piling is many people’s number one choice for seawall material. It’s more attractive than concrete and much easier to maintain than wood.  

Vinyl is more prevalent for residential locations (and is also used for some municipal waterfronts) because it looks good and costs less. Vinyl doesn’t rust, rot, or crack when exposed to salty water. The material is also lightweight, making vinyl seawalls easy to transport and install. 


Concrete is not as popular as vinyl, but it is valued in industrial uses for its strength. Concrete seawalls use rebar (reinforced steel) and can last over 30 years if properly maintained.