Ever wondered if your house needs protection from downhill erosion? Or what would happen if your regular stone wall is not able to win the battle against gravity? Or have you ever questioned yourself, “would my wall stop erosion on hillsides?” “Would it be able to withstand the unwanted pressure of water?”
You will be able to figure out if you need a retaining wall; continue reading.
What is a Retaining Wall
A retaining wall is a strong type of wall which keeps the soil steady in elevated yard features or a sloped yard. It is also designed and built to withstand lateral pressure coming from soil or soil materials. You must create a retaining wall if you need more stability, prevention from erosion, design, and increased curb appeal.
Purpose of a Retaining Wall
Mainly, the retaining wall is constructed to counteract erosion. Also, with a retaining wall, your unusable land can be converted into something useful like a patio or outdoor living space if it is leveled off. Here are also other things you might want to know about how a retaining wall will be able to help you:
Your retaining wall could help you slow down the flow of rainwater. You might not know, but your retaining wall could help manage water runoff. Some homeowners tend to install retaining walls to prevent polluted street water from coming to the river.
Also, a retaining wall could provide usable land since there have been many homeowners who have used the retaining wall technique of creating terraces of usable land on slopes. You can, too! Have it leveled off since if you already have a level area, the landscape design would be easier.
Types of Retaining Walls
Gravity Retaining Wall
Gravity wall or gravity retaining wall uses or relies on its self-weight to resist the lateral earth pressure. Most gravity walls are enormous since it requires enough weight to counteract soil pressure. It is the most commonly used; however, it slightly tilts so it could offer more support.
Another benefit of a gravity retaining wall is that it can be installed easily using concrete blocks, stone, or bricks. In addition, it also provides durability, especially if it is installed correctly. Although, it still requires minimal maintenance from time to time. With this gravity retaining wall, you will have more varieties of design options.
Cantilevered Retaining Wall
This type of retaining wall relies on leverage to resist the lateral pressure of the soil. It is mostly L-shaped or T-shaped and has a thin stem and base slab. Also, it is sometimes called a reinforced retaining wall. Its base has two parts to the base, namely the heel and the toe. The heel is the one sticking out into the supporting soil, while the toe goes out in the opposite direction. Thus, providing more horizontal pressure that pushes on the wall into vertical tension in the ground.
There are two types of cantilevered retaining walls, which are buttress and counterfort. Both provide excellent stability and are vertical beams that are attached to the base slab. However, the difference between them is the placement. A counterfort wall is connected to the back of the wall, or heel while a buttress is connected to the front.
One of the benefits of constructing this type of retaining wall is its simple construction procedure since it has a more direct technique. Builders mold them into the correct shape and then put them into place, saving more time instead of a block-by-block building. Another benefit is that it requires lesser materials than the others since it uses less concrete. The only disadvantage of a cantilevered retaining wall is that you will have to conceptualize the design and planning properly.
Piled Retaining Wall
To secure the structure deep in the ground, this method needs builders or landscapers to use long piles. With that, it would be able to counteract lateral pressure. Piled retaining walls are lightweight, easily adaptable, and a space saver.
Sheet piling is the most common type of this piled retaining wall, and it is the thinnest. That is why it is only suitable for softer soils so that it will be able to support a specific amount of weight. This piled retaining wall is usually constructed with a thin wall of wood, steel, or vinyl directed into the soil to provide additional reinforcement.
Anchored Retaining Wall
An anchored retaining wall is commonly used when there is limited space for a retaining wall. Unlike the sheet piling retaining wall, anchored walls are more perfect for loose soil over rocks. To make this work, the wall will be inserted with an anchor to expand through injecting pressurized concrete forming a bulb in the soil. This type of retaining wall provides support by acting against overturning and sliding pressure.
An anchored retaining wall provides more resistance and allows thinner walls.
Average Cost of Retaining Walls
You could spend up to an average of $5624 for your retaining wall project. Some high-end projects reach $14000 since it requires high-end materials and complex builds that could cost up to $125 per square foot. However, some homeowners tend to spend from $3201 to $8695 since it is more likely $20 to $60 per square foot. You must note that the total and final price depends on these factors:
- Type of material
- Width, length, and height of the wall
- Decorative finishes
You could get the cheapest retaining wall if you get the most affordable materials out in the market; hence, the total of your retaining wall depends on the materials you chose. However, you can look below for the average costs depending on your material.
- An average cost for a landscape block retaining wall would range from $3 to $30 per sq ft. However, it may cost more because it depends on the block type.
- You must prepare a whopping $27 to $34 square foot if you want a natural stone retaining wall.
- Your average concrete retaining wall could cost around $20 to $30 per square foot. This is just for interlocking blocks. But if you want something like a poured concrete, you will more likely spend at most $40 per sq ft.
- Cinder block retaining wall would have you spend between $10 to $12 sq ft.
- A wood retaining wall is around $16 to $28 per sq ft.
Get a piece of advice from an expert
If you are still overwhelmed by all the information given above you may call a retaining wall contractor and ask them for help. They will also explain what you need to know about your structure and whether it may need other repairs as well.