Help! Anybody Know Anything About Seawalls?

Help! Anybody Know Anything About Seawalls?
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We live on a saltwater canal in Bradenton, Florida. The cap on our seawall has been cracking for years. One firm last year said, “You can get another 5 years out of this, easy.” He quoted us $19,000 (MAJOR GULP!!!) just to replace the cap. That includes steel bar reinforcements, and a bunch of other stuff I don’t understand. The quote also includes fill. They would cover it with shell as we’re not keen on having a huge cement dock out there anymore.

The second guy, with a different company who came by this week, made it seem like a dire emergency, saying the whole backyard could slide into the canal, etc. He proposes putting in a second seawall in front of the first, filling in between those with shell, removing the cap, reinforcing the seawalls with anchors, making a new cap, etc. Their contract said the cost could be much higher if they get in there and find more problems. The quote didn’t even include filler material (the first one did). This guy’s quote? $40,000! I haven’t been able to eat since reading it.

Still waiting for a quote from seawall guy #3 (I always get 3 quotes on major repairs). He didn’t make it out to be that much of an emergency, and said we’re lucky because the seawall itself is still perfectly vertical. He also proposed a second seawall but he didn’t get into as much detail as guy #2 above.

We figure the actual seawall is about 35 years old, though it could be older. The house was built in 1969. An interesting note is that I asked guy #2 above how many seawalls he saw actually collapse each year in this area. He hemmed and hawed, and said, “Well, we, errr, see an increasing number of those each year…”

I ask him the same question three times and he never gave me a straight answer. I knew right then I wasn’t going to hire him.

So, my question is, do any of you know anything about seawalls? We’ve never had one before and we are reeling from sticker shock. And, I can’t help feeling like we’re about to get ripped off. Please contact me if you have any advice. We would REALLY appreciate it. I’m pretty bummed about this latest development. We’ve done nothing but spend money on major repairs since buying this house. 🙁


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One Response to "Help! Anybody Know Anything About Seawalls?"

  1. Sharon Greenlaw  January 14, 2016 at 9:05 pm

    Hello, I live on the island of Grand Manan and we are constantly having erosion problems here. The road that was at the front of our island when I was a kid, is now gone and the wildlife bird sanctuary, located on the upper end of the island, called The Marsh has had to have its seawall rebuilt several times.
    We have tides of 28 feet or more and harsh winter storms that erode the eastern side of our island . If you are contending with tides and not merely running water. seawalls are important. One area of our nearest mainland towns known as Redhead, Saint John, New Brunswick has lost houses and roads both.
    Our method of choice is merely banking up with the largest armour rock available. It is dumped over the cliff side until it reached level with the shore and often it stays until some horrific storm moves the sand from beneath it with an undertow. If your wall is has not collapsed it would be best to reinforce it from the landside out but if it has been broken through from the water side a crib work would need to be installed first. I am not an engineer but this is the practises I have observed here. You definitely need expert advice and that’s not me. In older times pile drivers were used to drive long posts into the seabed and then the cribbing was filled. I have seen old lobster traps (the plastic coated wire ones) lined with grain bags, filled with stone and then wired together with chicken wire used to build a cribbing of sorts. Anyway, seawalls are important but the risk of erosion would depend on the water movement, prevailing wind, and the type of ground (sandstone, gravel, ledge or clay) your property is made of. There maybe help on what is really needed from your nearest municipal office as they may have bylaws and building permits with specs for other areas like your own.