Help! Anybody Know Anything About Seawalls?

Help! Anybody Know Anything About Seawalls?

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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