Building a Sea Wall
LESLIE: Rich in Illinois, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?RICH: Well, we’ve acquired some property that is a lakefront property and …LESLIE: Lovely.RICH: Yeah, we’re excited about it. It has not been maintained well over the last eight or ten years and there’s quite a bit of soil erosion on the shore.TOM: OK.RICH: And what we’re looking for is we’re going to build some kind of a sea wall. We’re thinking of doing it ourselves but I’m not sure what the best kind of wood is. I’ve done a little bit of research and I know there’s the treated woods and then there’s the woods that are – the plastic, reconstructive plastics and they’ve got covered woods and cedar and I just – economically, we need to go fairly cheap but we also want something that’s going to last.TOM: Well, pressure-treated wood would sort of be the wood of choice for this type of retaining wall. There are different types of pressure-treated lumber that are used in this sort of assembly. What you’re talking about is making what’s called a bulkhead and there’s actually sort of a very special mill for this that’s – let me think – it’s about 2×8 or 3×8. It’s a very thick, heavy board and it’s tongue-and-groove so that after the structure is assembled, these go side by side. They lock together and that’s what actually serves as the retaining wall that separates the soil from the water. So I think pressure-treated would be the way to go because there’s an awful lot of labor associated with this project and you want to choose a good-quality material so you don’t have to repeat it any time in the near future.And speaking of the labor, I will also warn you, Rich, that there’s a lot of specialized equipment that is typically used in constructing these walls in order to get the pilings and the structural parts of this down as deep as they possibly can be so that the wall does not move. So I’m not sure that this is a do-it-yourself project and you may want to think about talking to a pro before you dig right in if you want it to last.RICH: OK, well I do have a brother-in-law with an excavating company; so that could come in handy.TOM: Well, you know, brothers-in-law are always good for something like that, right?LESLIE: (chuckles) And you know what, Rich? You might want to also just check with your town and the Department of Environmental Protection because even though there is an existing wall, bulkhead there, because you have to change it and change the materials, there might be some forms or some changes that have happened and you don’t want to get in trouble on the backside without doing your homework before you jump into the project. So just make sure you check with all of the proper authorities to make sure that you don’t need any sort of paperwork to get this work done.RICH: Great. Thank you much.TOM: You’re very welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.