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Waterfront Property Foundation Issues

Waterfront properties bring value and beauty benefits to a home, but they also bring issues to a foundation. Here are some problems and solutions to consider when building near a body of water.

Water Table

The water table is a layer of saturated soil where groundwater collects. Water tables are formed when water infiltrates through the soil from precipitation, bodies of water, or aquifers.

The depth of the water table will rise the closer you get to a body of water. This is because the surface water is seeping through the soil and saturating the ground closer to the top soil.

The higher water table next to a body of water has the potential to cause a lot of foundation issues. Foundations need to be designed with more layers of gravel to account for drainage. When pouring the foundation, drainage ditches may need to be added to prevent water from affecting the drying of the concrete.


Fresh bodies of water are a result of drainage collected from rainfall. If a foundation is built near water, consider how water will run through the property.

An Environmental Impact Analysis (or an ArcGIS) map may give you more insight as to how runoff will affect your property. You can also observe the soil after an extensive rainfall. Note areas where soil has eroded away and where collections and pooling of water are located on the land. These areas may need to be fortified with stone and more porous materials.

Soil naturally filters and purifies water, so building a foundation and infrastructure might also disrupt how water flows.


FEMA flood maps will help when choosing where to build a house on a lot of land. Flood Maps use metrics like 100-year floods to calculate possible water elevations in the chance of a large storm. A 100-year flood is a severe flood with a probability of happening once every 100 years.

You should first consult with a contractor when planning to build a home in a flood zone. Many insurance companies will not cover a home in a FEMA flood zone and, in some counties, there are restrictions against new buildings. Flooding can not only cause foundation issues when the soul becomes heavily saturated and shifts, but it can lead to major home damage and destruction.

Building Code

Depending on your local government, zoning and building codes may have more restrictions near bodies of water. An Environmental Impact Assessment may have to be performed if the body of water is part of a national or state park, protected land, or habitat to endangered or threatened species.

There are also some laws against how close a foundation can be to water. Some homes and structures will have foundations built before laws were enacted. For pre-existing foundations, some rules specify that expansion can only happen away from the body of water. Restrictions may allow for foundation repair and upkeep.


Erosion is a problem next to bodies of water, especially on an ocean or large river that is subjected to a strong current. Erosion can lead to the collapse of a foundation or the loss of a parcel of land.

If you are building a new foundation in an area susceptible to erosion, you should consider adding some of these elements of erosion prevention.

  • Construct a Retaining Wall: a retaining wall will help retain soil and the structural integrity of your foundation from erosion.
  • Install Foundation Piles: Ram Jack steel foundation piles are quality made and will ensure that your foundation does not settle. Foundation piles are driven down to the bedrock layer or a load bearing strata to offer your home extra support.
  • Dig a French drain: made of a distribution of rocks a few feet under the topsoil, a French drain will help drain precipitation and prevent erosion.
  • Plant vegetation: vegetation will incorporate a root system to the soil, giving it structure.

Ram Jack Can Help
If you have any questions regarding foundations in or near saturated ground, contact Ram Jack Texas. We can help resolve any concerns and issues you have regarding your foundation.