How to Install a Bulkhead

Vertical stabilization structures that are built along the shoreline of a lake are referred to as a seawall or a bulkhead.

One type of bulkhead that you can install is called a vinyl bulkhead. Construction for this bulkhead consists of the wale and a backboard that are attached to vinyl sheet pilings. You can complete this project by first excavating the area of shoreline where the bulkhead is to be located.

Clear away any large rocks, debris and any other obstacles along the shoreline. Rent a backhoe you can use to remove material from the shoreline.

Dig holes into the ground for the pilings using a jackhammer or an auger. A jackhammer is preferred if the ground is hard.

Insert the vinyl sheet piling into the hole and push it into the ground. Do not hammer the piling into the ground as it may get damaged.

Place the backboard along the backside of the vinyl sheet piling. Place the wale on the front of the vinyl sheet piling.

Drill holes into the wale and backboard into the vinyl sheet piling. Insert a carriage bolt into a hole and then tighten with the socket wrench.

Drill a hole through the backboard and the wale at each end with the power drill. Dig a hole and install the wood deadman.

Run the tie rods through the holes drilled in the bulkhead and to the deadman. Secure the tie rods with a nut and bolt.

Attach the top cap and then back fill with bulkhead dirt to cover the tie rods.

Things You Will Need

  • Backhoe
  • Jackhammer
  • Auger
  • Vinyl sheet piling
  • Backboard
  • Wale
  • Carriage bolts
  • Socket wrench
  • Wood deadman
  • Tie rods
  • Nuts
  • Bolts


  • The wale is the front of the bulkhead that is in contact with the water. A deadman is a piece of landscape timber or other wood that is used as an anchor.

About the Author

Cameron Easey has over 15 years customer service experience, with eight of those years in the insurance industry. He has earned various designations from organizations like the Insurance Institute of America and LOMA. Easey earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in political science and history from Western Michigan University.