Advantages of vinyl bulkhead construction:
Vinyl bulkhead construction has some definite advantages when compared to other materials used to construct bulkheads and seawalls. When you are going through the process of selecting the various options for your project, you should certainly consider vinyl bulkhead construction for long-term durability and a variety of other reasons. Let’s go over some of the more traditional options that have been used:
- Concrete – Concrete has long been thought of as the standard for seawalls. But if you are thinking you want your salt water seawall to last a long time, concrete is not a good idea. Here’s why: salt water is classified as a corrosive. A concrete bulkhead will be reinforced by steel inside the concrete. Since concrete is porous, it’s not very difficult for water to get into it. As the salt water soaks into the concrete over time, it will get to that interior steel reinforcement and begin the corrosive process. If you have ever seen rust stains coming out of a concrete object, this is exactly what has happened. This cannot happen with vinyl bulkhead construction.
- Wood – Wood is another material that has been in use for quite some time. You can still see some wood bulkheads in use, but if you look closely you will probably find that they are in some state of decay or decline, as a result of marine borers. Marine borers are little organisms that love to eat wood, and they are divided into two groups:
- Mollusca: The mollusca are animals with a shell, like oysters or clams.
- Crustacea: The crustacean are in the same family as lobsters and crabs
Regardless of which group comes into contact with a wooden structure, the wood will be destroyed over time. The fact that the wood is pressure-treated does not matter. This is what makes vinyl bulkhead construction a much better choice than bare wood.
- Steel – Again, the corrosive process begins virtually immediately when you place steel in salt water. This goes back to the first item on this list (steel-reinforced concrete). Of course, the rust does not begin overnight; the steel may be structurally sound for years before being replaced. But why use a material that is guaranteed to corrode, when vinyl bulkhead construction is available?
- Aluminum – Aluminum is a lighter metal, so you might find that it is less expensive than some of the other materials listed above. However, it too has disadvantages when compared to vinyl bulkhead construction. Aluminum will rust when exposed to salt water, just like steel does. Aluminum is also subject to corrosion by electrolysis (also known as galvanic corrosion). You can slow down the process by painting the aluminum, but it will break down eventually.
As you can tell, these “traditional” materials used for seawall construction and bulkheads have become obsolete. There’s no reason to use something that you know will break down at some point in the future; it just doesn’t make economic sense. Vinyl bulkhead construction has none of those problems. In addition, vinyl does not break down because of exposure to the UV rays of the sun like other materials do.
In fact, we are so confident in the stability and durability of our vinyl products, we offer a 50 year manufacturer’s warranty. The warranty covers rust, rot, corrosion and brittleness caused by UV exposure, in addition to any manufacturing defects. We stand behind our bulkhead construction products because we know they will last for a very long time.
If you are considering having a seawall installed, we would be honored to speak with you about that and offer any suggestions or answer your questions.