Retaining walls are structures that are helpful to restrain soil against unnatural slopes. They are constructed to hold the soil in between two different elevations, and also in places where the landscape needs to be shaped for road construction or farming purposes.
The most important factor to consider when designing and constructing a retaining wall is the tendency of the retaining material to move downslope due to gravity. This situation must be counteracted with methods of retaining the material in place. The groundwater behind the wall should be dissipated properly in order to avoid the hydrostatic pressure on the wall, which in turn can be a threat to the strength of the retaining wall. A proper drainage system is mandatory unless the wall is built to retain water.
There are several types of retaining walls that are currently popular. They can be constructed with many different materials and a variety of construction techniques. There are four extremely popular retaining walls that are extensively used for construction purposes. Gravity retaining walls, Counterfort retaining walls, Semigravity retaining walls and Cantilever retaining walls are the most popular in this regard.
Gravity Retaining Walls –
Gravity retaining walls are constructed with heavy mass such as concrete, stones and other heavy material. The weight of the wall is used in resisting lateral forces of the earth. They are economical up to 10 feet in height for cast concrete structures. They are also sufficiently massive to be reinforced.
Semigravity Retaining Walls –
A specialized form of gravity walls are called semigravity retaining walls. Semigravity retaining walls include tension reinforcing steel in order to reduce the thickness of the wall.
Cantilever Retaining Walls –
Constructed with reinforced concrete. These walls have a thin stem and a base slab. The base has two parts: the heel and the toe. They are part of the base under the backfill. These walls are economical up to a height of 25 feet.
Counterfort Retaining Walls –
They are almost same as the Cantilever walls. They consists of thin vertical concrete particles at regular instances on the back of the wall. This is the only difference between a Cantilever and Counterfort wall. These walls are much more economical than the Cantilever walls for heights of more than 25 feet.
If you have a large amount of soil on your property that needs to be held back you should consider a block retaining wall. You may have experienced large amounts of rain recently and this has caused the elevation located outside of your house to begin sliding into your garden.
You will need to make use of a barrier that will stop further damage from occurring. A block retaining wall is a system that is engineered to address these types of problems. The use of the correct retaining wall could solve many of the issues around soil buildup and is a practical way to keep the soil from sliding into your garden.
There are various types of retaining walls to choose from and it would be advisable to seek the advice of a qualified engineer to advise you on the best block system retaining wall. At the end of the day you will want to choose a system that suits your needs. Below are some the barriers you may want to consider installing.
-Concrete blocks that interlock
When the concrete is poured for your retaining wall there are generally four types of methods used. These methods will include Semi-gravity, Cantilever, Gravity and counterfort. If your wall is four feet or higher it is recommended that you get an engineer to design the plan for your wall.
Concrete block walls that use an interlocking system are able to lock together without the use of mortar. The advantage of this system is that is easy to construct and install, the blocks are relatively small which allows for flexibility in the construction process.
This can mean the wall is able to wrap, taper, curve or turn in order to suit the layout of your landscape. You can use this system for walls that reach a maximum of 20 feet in height for your wall. This retaining wall can solve your problem of keeping unwanted soil off your property.
When you are in the process of landscaping your property, you will probably want to erect some type of retaining wall. That being the case, you will want to decide just what sort of material you should use before you actually get started. Given that you are working with the great outdoors, why not give yourself something natural to look at every single day? This is where sandstone comes in, and it’s a great retaining wall solution. The question however, is what advantages sandstone has over concrete or any other materials that you might be considering.
First of all, sandstone is beautiful, and it is very natural. It features caramel tones, and it has been used as a building material for centuries. Who are you to argue with centuries of building tradition?
In addition to being pretty, sandstone is naturally porous. While this might be a problem in other applications, it works out well in the case of a retaining wall. Once the water is absorbed, it is able to seep out slowly, ensuring that the sandstone is not damaged, and that the water is properly moved from one location to the next. This is a built in drainage system that only nature could produce at such a low cost.
Finally, you do not need to sink a footing beneath the frost-line, which would be a necessity with bricks, mortar, or concrete. That being said, the installation of your retaining wall will be both inexpensive and fast.
As you can see, there are more than a few noteworthy advantages when it comes to the use of sandstone over brick, concrete, and virtually any other material. You will of course hope that the retaining wall is needed, but as always, it is better to be safe than sorry!
Choosing a retaining wall contractor is not different from selecting any other type of contractor. There are a few steps which, if you follow, will help you choose the best professional for your job.
First of all, you should consider inviting more than one retaining wall contractor to bid on your project. Three is a good number, but if you have the time, you can invite even more.
Before inviting the contractors to bid, check to see if they have a license. In states like California, all contractors are obliged by law to put their contractor’s number on all their advertising materials.
Write down all your project specifications, making sure to include all details needed for the professionals to develop their proposals. Hand this out to all participants.
Ask all contractors to show you some work they have previously done. It’s best if they can show projects that are similar to your retaining wall. This will give you more confidence they can do the job you need.
All projects you receive should be complete. If you sign a contract based only on a rough sketch, you may get in trouble later on, especially if you imagined something different than your contractor did. By having detailed drawings, you can avoid such misunderstandings.
One more thing you should check before choosing your retaining wall contractor is their liability insurance and proof of Workers Compensation. You want to avoid the unpleasant situation in which a worker gets injured while on your property and there’s no insurance to cover such events.
All things being equal, you can look at the price and choose the least expensive contractor. However, you should never start from the price, because this may lead to trouble, especially if you hire less skilled contractors just because they ask for less money than more experienced ones.