To properly assess the construction requirements for seawalls or bulkheads, the designer should fully differentiate and understand the purpose of the two structures. The purpose of both is vertical shoreline stabilization, allowing owners to maximize the efficiency of their waterfront properties. Both structures utilize similar construction materials and techniques.
However, they are not the same.
- Seawalls are structures with two primary functions – to protect the shoreline from wave loads, and to retain surcharge loads and soil behind the wall.
- Bulkheads are vertical shoreline stabilization structures that only retain surcharge loads and soil behind the load.
Moreover, a seawall typically protects frontline waters from wave overtopping, shoreline erosion and storm surges. During storm surge events, some waterfront properties are subject to considerable wave activity, even if they aren’t exposed to wave action for most of the year.
The following design and construction elements are usually addressed by a seawall designer, as compared to a simple bulkhead designer:
- Toe scour
- Storm surge
- Wave overtopping
- Uplift force caused by wave action
- Direct wave force action
A very important factor is the uplift force caused by wave action, but it is often neglected by designers, leading to instability, which undermines the lifespan of the seawall structure.
From dock systems and seawalls to rip rap, floating docks, retaining walls and dredging services, we can help with any project in the Lake Norman and Lake Hickory areas of NC. Give us a call at Renegar Construction today for more information. For us, there’s no such thing as a marine construction job that’s too big or too small!