Tampa Dock and Seawall

Wood Seawall Design

And the Pros and Cons of a Wooden Seawall

Wood seawall designs have very few advantages over a vinyl seawall or concrete seawall design. And quite serious disadvantages you should be aware of before making a decision.

You will normally find wooden seawalls in fresh water, especially here in Florida. Hillsborough and Pinellas County in particular.

That’s because the life of a wooden seawall is dramatically less than a vinyl or concrete seawall. And that’s even more dramatic when you introduce salt or brackish water into the equation.

Upsides of Wooden Seawalls

The natural look you get from a wooden seawall is probably the #1 feature that people like about a wooden seawall.

If you’ve got a bungalow on the river or lake, that wood can add to the ascetic of what you’re going for. It’s a very natural look, especially tucked into a wooded lot somewhere on the Hillsborough River, for example.

Price is also an important factor for people that install a wooden seawall. Initial price can be as low as the $10,000 range. Depending on a variety of factors, of course.

On the other hand, the lack of long term stability and higher frequency of maintenance and replacement rules it out as an option for most homeowners.

Downsides of Wooden Seawalls

There’s a reason that if you’re cruising the coast of Pinellas County, Davis Island or Harbor Island that you don’t see ANY sea walls made out of wood. 

  1. Longevity – They won’t stand up to the tides and storms in Tampa Bay for long.
  2. Shipworms – these are woodboring creatures that are really having an impact on docks in the Tampa Bay area. But having “bugs” impact the stability of a seawall is potentially much more damaging. Susceptibility to pests is another reason not to go with a wooden seawall design.
  3. Look – because it’s rare to find a wooden seawall design on the Bay or Gulf in Pinellas County or Tampa,  you’re wood seawall will stand out. But not in a good way. The natural look is jarring next to a line of concrete seawalls.
  4. Rules and Regulations – That difference in look causes these to be forbidden by many neighborhood associations in the area. In addition, some municipalities in the area may actually not allow them. 

About Seawalls and Seawall Repair

The best thing you can do to really evaluate the best material to build your seawall is to speak with a pro IN YOUR AREA.

Tampa Dock & Seawall can help all over Pinellas County and most of Tampa. 

Talk with a marine contractor that is licensed to work in your area and has the experience to help you decide between concrete, vinyl and wooden seawalls.

Schedule your free consultation by calling the number on the website or filling out a contact us form here.  

If you’d like to learn more of the basics about what a seawall is read this article on Wikipedia.