Did you know you can install a seawall in the winter, even in Wisconsin? That means more time in the warm months to enjoy your property without any disruption from your seawall installation.
So while you’re out sledding or making hot chocolate (with marshmallows, hopefully), we are happy to brave the elements to get you situated with a new, state-of-art seawall that will stand the test of time.
Breaking Ground—and Ice—on a 300 Ft Seawall in Wisconsin
A winter seawall installation is exactly what a homeowner ordered up this past winter in Mauston, WI, the home of Castle Rock Lake. Our trusted (and hardy) installation partner, Ron Kruger, expertly managed the 300 ft seawall project on time and on budget— in the middle of a brutal Midwest winter.
Ron is the owner of The Seawall Company and has over 30 years under his belt installing seawalls. He is one of our trusted contractors given his vast experience and expertise. Though Ron’s company is based in Illinois, he travels the country to manage various seawall installation projects.
During this Castle Rock project, Temperatures hovered around -6 degrees Fahrenheit. Each morning, Ron and his team of three other installers had to first remove 6 inches of snow from the project site just so they could walk. (No word if they also threw in a driveway shoveling, but we’re pretty sure the owners preferred them to focus on the project!)
After the snow was removed, the team used a 90lb jackhammer to break up a thick layer of ice that had frozen over the massive Castle Rock Lake just northwest of Wisconsin Dells. Ice chunks were then removed with a backhoe so the seawall installation could continue.
To hear Ron tell it, the ice is a blessing given the sub-zero temperatures.
“We don’t mind the ice, since otherwise we’d be standing in cold water all day.”
He has a point!
Driving Piling No Day at The Beach
In addition to freezing temperatures, Ron and his team also had to contend with the hard soil composition typical of that area of the country. Whereas seawalls built in sandy coastal areas like Florida can use water jets or light hammers, Ron uses a 200lb modified jackhammer to get the driving job done. Fully 5ft of the 10ft tall vinyl sheets are hammered into the hard ground.
In a bit of good-natured ribbing of his suntanned colleagues in warmer climes, Ron notes:
“These guys are out there installing seawalls in sandals.”
Everlast Vinyl Chosen for Durability, Strength, and Aesthetic Appeal
For its strength profile and reliability given the elements, our 3.1 vinyl seawall product was selected for the 300 linear foot seawall protecting the Red Oaks Court property in Mauston, right on Castle Rock Lake. (You can learn more about our vinyl products here.)
Unlike many other contractors who have been in the business as long as Ron and still advocate for metal seawalls, he was quick to embrace vinyl products.
“As soon as I saw the sorts of vinyl solutions ESP was creating, the writing was on the wall as far as I was concerned. The products last so much longer and look great. On a number of occasions, I’ve actually replaced rusted out metal walls I installed only 15, 20 years ago with ESP vinyl piling, and I know I won’t be back to replace it again in anything even close to that short of a time period.”
Sea-Change in the Air
Asked why there’s resistance from some contractors who still swear by metal, Ron muses:
“They are old-timers resistant to change, they’ve been at this their whole lives. They have a perception that metal is stronger despite the evidence, and they’re committed to their blowtorches and welding and heavy metals. But very soon no one will be using metal anymore to build seawalls. It’s a bad investment at this point. Metal had a great moment in history, but the future is vinyl.”
We’re a bit biased towards vinyl seawall solutions given the tremendous benefits in terms of durability, affordability, and aesthetic appeal, but it’s always extremely rewarding to hear it from an independent expert!
We sincerely thank Ron Kruger and his team at The Seawall Company for his exceptional and hard work on this seawall project and the dozens of others he’s expertly installed for our customers over the years.