A bulkhead, for the uninitiated, is typically used around water bodies with the intention of preventing soil erosion. Bulkheads are required around freshwater bodies and shorelines alike, just to ensure that the soil is not washed away, which may mean property damage. As required, bulkheads can be used on land, as well, often to prevent flooding during rains, for landscaping needs, or to just divert water in a particular direction. Selecting the right bulkhead material can be confusing, because a bunch of aspects does matter.
What are the options?
Wood has been a traditional choice for bulkhead materials, but being exposed to water for a long time often leads to considerable damage. It is not surprising that we now have vinyl and steel bulkhead material in use. Here’s a quick overview of different materials.
- Wood is often preferred for bulkheads because it’s inexpensive and has an aesthetic appeal that’s hard to match. Maintenance and installation are not complicated either. However, wood can damage and have other moisture-related concerns. If budget is your prime point of interest, this is ideally still a good choice.
- In recent years, the demand for vinyl bulkhead materials has increased considerably. Earlier, vinyl was not considered good for seawalls because the material was too thin. Now, we have weatherable design, and since the material is resistant to insects, it works better than wood. Vinyl is known for low conductivity, which makes it easy to store boats close to the water body. While better than wood, vinyl doesn’t compare to steel bulkheads in terms of durability.
- Talking of durability, nothing is more effective than steel bulkheads, but you also need to know that steel will corrode with time eventually, and therefore, the costs always don’t make much sense. In fact, steel bulkhead material is the most expensive you can buy. If you don’t mind the budget, this can be considered, but probably vinyl and wood are likely to be better choices in most cases.
Always weigh the pros and cons of a bulkhead material before taking the call. Wood and vinyl are often considered as immediate alternatives, simply because both have equal number of pros and cons. Vinyl can be designed to replicate the beauty of wood, which is an advantage, while wood is now being treated better to ensure that it stays put as a bulkhead even in marine climates. Check online now to find suppliers and get an estimate for materials now.