Are you interested in using bulkhead materials on your next waterfront project? Here’s a look at some of the most common bulkhead material and key tips for their most effective use:
1. Wales (or ‘Waler’). Wales are specially treated timbers designed to reinforce vinyl bulkhead materials and keep them straight. You’ll need to use two wales for each bulkhead; installing in front and behind. Use back wales that are twice the size of the front wale for best effect.
2. Tie-back systems. A tie-back system will prevent your bulkhead materials from collapsing forwards under high loads, such as storm swells. This generally consists of an anchoring feature set behind the wall and a special tie-back that attaches it to the wall. Our favorite type of anchors for this are treated wood deadmen because they’re easy to install, inexpensive, and have a long lifespan.
3. Bulkhead top caps. Top caps are the boards that cover the top of your bulkhead materials along their entire length. They offer a little extra protection to the installed materials, but are mostly chosen for their aesthetics and activity functions. For instance, you might use a 2×15 for a top cap as a place to sit or stand while fishing or otherwise enjoying your new bulkhead.