Sea Wall vs Bulkhead
Here at Lake Michigan Seawalls, we often here the question what’s the difference between a seawall and a bulkhead? First, we can cover the similarities. Both seawalls and bulkheads serve to stabilize shoreline. Any structure built near or along a shoreline needs some sort of retaining wall to maintain the structural integrity of the structure. Both are economical and useful in maintaining and enhancing property value and are arguable preferable to shoreline stabilization alternatives such as mangroves. However, they also require proper maintenance over the years to ensure structural integrity and keep working at a high level.
Seawall vs. Bulkhead
As they are both similar, how can you know which one is appropriate for which situation? Many even refer to both as seawalls, despite the fundamental differences between them. Seawalls have a unique function in that they are intended to account for shoreline protection from waves that also retain soil. Bulkheads, on the other hand, provides comparatively minimal from waves despite also being a shoreline structure. Bulkheads’ primary purpose are typically to retain soil. Our professionals at Lake Michigan Seawalls will be able to tell you which one is more suitable for your shoreline structure.
As seawalls and bulkheads are walls along the shoreline yet serve different functions and purposes, the circumstances onsite are very important in determining with one to use in which situation. There are critical elements onsite that need to be taken into account before choosing between a seawall and a bulkhead. These includes the soil properties, topography, stability and water table. Things like the depth of the wall need to be considered. In the soil especially it’s important to figure out what’s going on with the proportion of clay as opposed to sand in the soil and other similar considerations.
In addition to environmental aspects beyond our control onsite, there are several considerations to make in the properties of seawalls as opposed to bulkheads that are within our control that impact which one to choose in a given situation. The most fundamental consideration is how well a seawall would perform in the context of the onsite environment as opposed to a bulkhead, the surcharge, storm surge, wave forces, toe scour and wave over topping. All of these aspects need to be considered at a marine construction site. We are also in the business of extending bulkhead and life, so these are considerations we take seriously.
How Seawalls Affect Property Values and Property Lines
As far as property developers and property owners are concerned, the seawall vs. bulkhead distinction is an important and consequential consideration. For those looking to rehabilitate or enhance the property value of an existing marine structure, the choice of seawall vs. bulkhead as well as the condition of said retaining wall may potentially significantly alter the total value of the onsite property, for better or for worse. Our experts at Lake Michigan Seawalls can assess the condition of your marine retaining wall and give you an informed analysis of how it impacts property value.
Seawalls are great ways to define your property lines. They service as distinct barriers between your property and adjacent private or public land. This reduces potential conflict between you and your neighbors over land and water rights.