Retaining walls come in many shapes and sizes, however their purpose is one in the same. Simply, retaining walls are built to hold back soil from adjacent properties. They keep hills and elevated land from finding its way onto your property, so they must be designed with strength, and stability in mind.
What factors influence retaining wall structure design?
There are many elements that come into play when designing a retaining wall structure. For instance, is the property behind the retaining wall going to be leveled off, or is it a sloping hill? Is the area affected by improper drainage, or is it easily susceptible to frost in the winter? The answers to these questions will aid in building a retaining wall that will not fail.
Remember, it’s not just the current weight of the soil behind your retaining wall you want to be worried about. When it rains, soil can become saturated with water, so the added weight must be considered before building the wall.
In the winter months, Staten Island and the rest of New York City have had their fair share of below freezing temperatures. As the ground freezes, it will expand and put much more pressure against your retaining wall than on a sunny, summer day.
These weather related factors can be mitigated using proper retaining wall drainage, as well as using enough reinforcement to make sure the wall never fails.
Are there specific materials to use for retaining walls?
The standard retaining wall is either made of concrete, cinder blocks and mortar, or the combination of the two. Concrete is excellent at providing extra reinforcement, however you may also choose using rebar, or steel inside of the wall for added support.
The benefit of using cinder blocks and/or concrete is that it can be styled to match your backyard landscape. One option is using decorative, pre-fabricated blocks, which come in many colors to suit your taste. Another option, is to use regular blocks and concrete, with a stucco, or stone finish. Natural or stone veneer can be used to create the final look of your retaining wall. Learn about stone and stucco combinations for the ultimate retaining wall design.
Can I build a retaining wall by myself?
Depending on the size of your retaining wall needs, there can exist a lot of room for error. The general rule is the larger your retaining wall, the more likely you’ll need Supreme Construction’s masonry expertise. Building a retaining wall without proper planning and coordinating can result in injuries, and wasted resources. Contact us for your FREE Estimate & Consultation. We’ll answer all your questions and concerns about your retaining wall project.