"Repairing a wooden seawall"

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Old 10-10-04, 10:04 AM
John Bentley
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"Repairing a wooden seawall"

I have a house on Mobile Bay. We just went through some rough weather -- you may have heard about it on the news -- and now I need to repair or replace my wooden seawall. I have no idea how to go about it. Any suggestions?
 
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Old 10-13-04, 07:14 PM
Mike Swearingen's Avatar
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First, you will very likely need a permit from the State of Alabama, and possibly a Fed agency or two.
Here in NC, to build a new bulkhead (aka seawall), you are allowed to go out up to two feet beyond the existing bulkhead and build a new one a little higher so that the tie-back cables can go over the old bulkhead.
The rule of thumb for the wall itself is that there be as much wood washed or driven into the ground as there is above it (in the water and air).
You can use pressure-treated wood, but not creosote here. There is also new interlocking vinyl bulkhead paneling that is more expensive, but has a so-called "lifetime" warranty.
My best advice is to contact three marine contractor that are properly equipped and experienced at building bulkheads, get their advice (repair or replace), cost quotes and references. Check with neighbors, State regulators, or the Yellow Pages.
This normally isn't a DIY job. If it isn't done right, the bulkhead will leak, causing soil erosion behind it, etc., and collapse in a major storm.
A quality pressure-treated wood bulkhead here will run about $65 per linear foot. Those new vinyl bulkheads can run $100 per linear foot and up. And that doesn't include the dirt fill and seed or sod behind the new one.
Good luck!
Mike
 
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