When considering any marine construction it is very important to do your homework when choosing a company to build your seawall. Seaside Seawalls is constantly hired to repair botched and improperly installed walls from inexperienced or just plain lazy contractors. The following example is meant to help you guys/gals know a few basic things to look for when starting and or contracting your project.
Recently Seaside Seawalls came across three adjacent waterfront homeowners in Commerce Township Mi. who all had their steel seawalls installed years back by a corner cutting contractor. He was the lowest price point of the three quotes they obtained, and he cut corners during seawall installation to make up the difference. These particular homeowners were what we call “short sheeted”. Short Sheeting is when the contractor saves money by using shorter than required steel sheet pilings to make up the cost difference they lose when under quoting job costs.
The three Commerce Township Mi. seawalls were raised approximately 12” out of the ground and were pushed around due to a complete lack of drainage installation. Without proper drainage our harsh Michigan winters push frost under the steel sheet pilings which move them upwards a few inches each season. Ice can also get trapped behind your seawall and push the steel sheet pilings waterward. Any of the mentioned scenario’s cause what we call a “Failing Seawall” that will need immediate repair. We can only imagine how many more waterfront property owners in Commerce Township Mi. and surrounding areas got duped by this particular contractor. If you are reading this and happen to be one of these homeowners contact us for a free consultation and discounted estimate for seawall repair! Everyone deserves to get what they pay for, even if we need to come behind others to ensure it.
Seaside Seawalls construction experience demonstrates the proper seawall installation of a new steel seawall on every project. The following example should serve as a guide to those partaking in a new seawall construction.
Proper seawall installation for a 40” in height steel seawall in sandy / granular lake bed conditions requires a minimum 8′ length piling (3′ 4” out and 4′ 8” into the ground). Basically for any type steel seawall you need to make sure your pilings are at least 48″ into the ground. This will ensure your steel piling installation to be below the frost line.
The top of the seawall (Iron Cap / Wale) is supposed to be welded to each piling NOT BOLTED. Make sure your contracter uses welds to ensure a long lasting seawall. Your seawall is only as strong as its weakest point, don’t let that be your bolted cap!
Another item to look at is your seawall tie backs. Tie backs hold the seawall back with 3/4” diameter threaded rods inserted every 7.5 lineal ft. Each tie back is attached 6 to 10 feet landward from the wall to a 5 foot depth i-beam anchor. This is an imperative item to have properly installed and is one of the main reasons a Seaside Seawall will last over competitors walls.
Lets not forget about drainage! Drainage is one of the most important parts of a quality seawall. To properly drain a wall, 3/8” weep holes are torched every 6 lineal ft with 8 ounce filter fabric backing. These holes are then adhered with 4” perferated drainage pipe wich runs down the entire stretch of wall and finally elbowed through. Be sure this is properly addressed or you will be paying for repairs within the first 3 years!
Proper installation of your black steel seawall or galvanized steel seawall by Seaside is guaranteed to outlast all expectations even beyond the steel sheet piling manufacture warranty. Remenber, if you decide to have Seaside Seawalls as your contractor, your not just getting a seawall, your getting a Seaside Seawall!