Types of Bulkheads and Retaining Walls

Waterfront bulkheads are manufactured structures that retain soil and protect a shoreline from erosion. Bulkheads Construction Charleston SC are usually insulated and can withstand fires by stopping the passage of smoke, flame, and heat for a certain period.

Dock BuildingSometimes a bulkhead can be constructed in the dry, particularly when dredging is to be done afterward. In such cases, using soldier beams and lagging may be more economical than anchored walls with simple dead-man anchorage.

Bulkheads and retaining walls are structures that help hold back materials like soil and water, preventing erosion, land movement, and damage to sloped land areas. They are used widely around lakes and in coastal areas, as well as to control floods. There are many different types of bulkheads, but the best one for you depends on your specific needs. Choosing the correct type of material is important as is using proper building methods to ensure your bulkhead will function properly over the expected lifespan of the materials.

Retaining walls can be constructed from a variety of materials including wood, concrete, metals, and other composites. The choice of material will depend on factors such as cost, durability, and strength. Metals are commonly used for long-lasting bulkhead construction as they are impenetrable to normal rot and corrosion, and have high strength. However, wood is still a popular option for many waterfront properties as it has an attractive appearance and can be built to match the aesthetic of your home or business.

SS 200-4 Notification of commencement of construction; inspections

All work performed on a new bulkhead, reconstruction, renovation or repair shall be inspected by the Borough Engineer to determine compliance with the plans and specifications submitted with the permit application. A final inspection shall be performed prior to the backfilling of any bulkhead.

When it comes to constructing a bulkhead, you’ll want to choose the right steel supplier. They should be able to provide the materials you need in a timely manner, so you can begin working on your project as soon as possible. They should also be able to help you select the right size and thickness of metals for your bulkhead project.

There are many different ways to construct a retaining wall, with the most common being dry-stacked walls or segmental block walls. Dry-stacked walls are made from stone or fieldstone that are held together without mortar, while segmental block walls are masonry units that are joined with mortar. They are both durable and cost-effective, with the former being better suited to smaller projects.


Bulkheads are used in various applications to keep water away from construction projects, infrastructure, and other assets. In addition, they provide a safe way to leverage and control water for industrial purposes like cooling nuclear reactors and electrical systems. Bulkheads also offer an economical, practical solution to flood protection. They can be made from a variety of materials, including steel and concrete. Each bulkhead situation is unique and requires careful attention to detail. To ensure proper operation and safety, bulkheads are often tested for strength and waterproofing.

For example, one of the most common bulkheads is constructed from a steel-reinforced concrete front wall with vertical H-shaped steel beams. This system is a highly effective, economical, and efficient solution to flooding, especially in dredge areas.

Steel bulkheads are typically built using prefabricated concrete panels, but concrete can be replaced by another material, such as wood or fiberglass. The choice of a bulkhead material is based on the specific application and local conditions, such as soil type, wave heights, elevation, and frequency of tides.

When constructing a steel bulkhead, a watertight seal is essential to prevent leakage. In many cases, the bulkhead is sealed by welding a metal plate over the seams and weld seam filler to prevent corrosion. Depending on the size of the bulkhead, it is sometimes necessary to install a sealing gasket.

In most cases, a steel bulkhead is filled with water or other liquid for a test to determine its water tightness. A pressure hose is used to apply a specified water pressure for a fixed period of time, and the structural integrity of the bulkhead is inspected. Leak tests are also performed using air instead of water.

A corrugated bulkhead is a good alternative to traditional steel bulkheads because it naturally provides more rigidity than plain metal plates. This is because of the wavy pattern, which is useful in engineering to add a degree of strength and stiffness. Since an opening results in a major structural discontinuity, engineers may weld or bolt additional stiffeners to the bulkhead plates near the opening to help maintain stress levels below safety limits.


Bulkheads are designed to resist coastal effects such as erosion, beach drift and storm surge. They can be constructed from a variety of materials including concrete, stone or steel and may be piled and anchored or designed as gravity walls. The design of bulkheads must consider the coastal effects caused by tides, waves, boat wakes, currents and bottom sediment movement including scour and piping. Many improperly designed bulkheads experience severe loss of back-fill and toe materials and eventually fail. Inadequate drainage, poor joint connections and inadequate toe protection are the most common causes of failure.

Marine worms can chew through wood sheeting on the top of a bulkhead near the water line and when this happens you will need to perform a major repair by adding a new dirt seal. This is usually done by digging behind the bulkhead until you expose the hole or gap in the sheeting. Then you will cover the hole with filter cloth (looks like a coffee filter). Finally you will add rock over the layer of filter cloth to help keep out the mud and sand.

Another type of seawall is a concrete retaining wall, and this can be used to provide erosion control at the site where the bulkhead will be installed. Concrete retaining walls are very durable and can last for decades. They can also be built in a wide range of sizes and shapes, and they can be made to look attractive with some ingenuity.

A waterfront development in southern California used a concrete retaining wall and precast panel and pilaster system for 231 lots adjacent to the ocean. Several of these lots are experiencing a problem with widespread sinkholes in the bulkhead’s backfill. These are believed to be due to a piping of fine grained soils through the bulkhead’s backfill.

An investigation of this problem has been conducted to determine the nature and cause of the erosion, to design mitigative measures, and to provide guidance in future maintenance of the development’s oceanfront bulkheads. In addition, the design of a new drainage scheme has been proposed.


Bulkheads are a vital part of any ship, providing watertight compartments to protect the cargo. They can also be used to limit damage from full-on collisions with other ships or segments of land. These walls are positioned at the front of a ship and should be as strong as possible in order to limit the amount of damage caused. In order to maintain their strength, bulkheads are subjected to pressure tests after installation. This process involves filling the compartments with water and testing for their structural integrity at design hydrostatic pressure up to the bulkhead deck. In addition to this, openings for pipes and access should be properly reinforced in order to prevent stress concentration and retain the bulkhead’s water tightness.

A variety of materials are used to construct bulkheads, but steel and concrete are most common. These materials can withstand various loads and are available in a range of sizes. Steel is especially useful for large-scale projects, as it can be welded to produce complex shapes. Concrete is also an excellent material to use for bulkheads because it can withstand a wide range of loads and is easy to mold into different shapes.

Depending on the location and conditions of the property, there are some variations in how bulkheads are constructed. For instance, some bulkheads are built on a foundation of wood or concrete piles that extend below the waterline to provide support and stability. These piles are called wales and should be designed by a professional engineer to ensure that they will be able to withstand the force of currents and waves.

Other bulkheads are built on a solid platform, which reduces the lateral pressures on the front wall. This is known as the screening effect of the piles and is most effective for granular soils. Pile spacing should be kept to a minimum in order to take advantage of this effect. For this reason, soldier beams and lagging are often a better option than sheet piling for these types of projects.

Bulkheads are an important investment for waterfront properties because they can protect them from erosion and flooding, which can cause costly repairs. A well-constructed bulkhead can increase the value of a property, as well as help to preserve the wildlife and natural habitat around it. However, it is important to maintain bulkheads regularly to avoid failure and deterioration. A qualified professional can assess the condition of a bulkhead and install supplemental helical tiebacks or extra piles where needed to help stabilize the structure.