You cannot install a steel sea wall by yourself. It requires at least a three-member team, and one of you must have experience with a backhoe or another large piece of construction equipment. The sheer weight of the sections of the sea wall make it a great choice for areas that experience heavy wave action due to natural causes or excessive water traffic. Choosing steel over vinyl for a sea wall will incur more costs and a more difficult install, but in the long run it will be far more sturdy and, if installed correctly in a freshwater environment, it will not need replacement for more than 100 years.
Mark out the placement of your seawall, taking into account that each piece of the sea wall is approximately seven feet long. Place it at least one foot away from the natural slope of the shoreline so there is a place for backfill that acts as an overflow drainage system.
Drive a 4-inch-diameter steel support rod into the lake bed with a heavy mallet or sledgehammer at least four feet at either end of the sea wall. If the lake bed can't be penetrated by a man with a sledgehammer use the backhoe to push the rod into the ground. Have one member of the team hold the steel rod steady as the second member maneuvers the backhoe arm and bucket into place. Lower the bucket against the top of the steel rod and slowly push it down. The support rod can be trimmed after the project is finished.
Measure seven feet from the center of the installed support rod and install a second support rod using the same technique. Repeat this procedure until the entire sea wall has the support structure in place.
Move the first steel wall section into place. The section will have two piles (I beams), one on each end, with a 5-5 corrugated steel panel stretched between them. It will take all three men to maneuver this piece so that each pile slips down over the support rods. The support rods should be on the outside of the pile between the ends of the I-beam.
Push the steel wall panel into the lake bed with the backhoe arm. Apply pressure to the piles one at a time. Do not push on the center of the wall as this could cause it to shift out of alignment with the support rods. Use a level to make sure the sea wall is not leaning to one side. Make minor adjustments as necessary with the sledgehammer or backhoe bucket.
Install the remaining steel sea wall panels in the same manner.
Place the first piece of sea wall cap on the end of the sea wall. Align the holes in the cap with the threaded holes in the top of the sea wall. Secure the cap in place with the bolts that came with the wall.
Fill in the one-foot gap between the sea wall and the shoreline with loose gravel, rocks and sand. This is the area that will act as the overflow in case large waves crash over the sea wall. The excess water will not pool. Instead, it will drain back into the lake.