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Rip Rap

Rip Rap in Southern California

By May 20, 2022September 20th, 2022No Comments

Rip Rap: Many Names Many Functions

Rip-rap, shot rock, rock armor, whatever you want to call it, rip rap is good sized boulders layered on top of each other to halt erosion. It could be ocean waves, lake water, drainage, rivers rushing against bridge supports. Whatever it is, nature is a destructive force, and good rip rap in Southern California is your best defense.

Do I Need Rip Rap?

Rocks are known for their strength and versatility—foundation support, ballast and sub ballast, even landscape boulder design, aggregate for road construction, and more. But rip rap is primarily an erosion control tool—usually where water is a factor.

The typical size of any riprap rocks depends on a wide range of factors, including the type of terrain and project on which you want to use the rip rap. Good rip rap varies the sizes to keep things from shifting too much. But always, good strong granite is your best bet for lasting results against constant battering (or constant washings).

How to Place Rip Rap in Southern California

  • You will likely want to add a filter between your rip rap and the subgrade. This can be a synthetic filter fabric or a it can be sand/gravel filter.
  • After laying the filter, install your rip rap quickly
  • If using fabric, and it gets damaged during installation, now is the time to repair the fabric.
  • Lay the stones and save some smaller ones to fill the empty space. You want a dense and uniform structure
  • Because of the nature of rip rap in Southern California, time is actually of the essence. Once the area is prepared, get the rip rap down immediately.

Rip Rap Maintenance Tips

  • Check your riprap regularly (at least annually) or after every storm. As you would expect, riprap edges may erode, or rocks may be displaced. Repair your riprap as needed.
  • Remove any woody vegetation from your riprap. Tree roots can cause riprap dislodging.
  • Is your riprap installed on a channel bank? Make sure the stream does not contain debris, tree logs, fallen trees, or other objects that may alter the stream’s flow pattern, resulting in riprap displacement.

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