Retaining walls are a great addition to your property and can add curb appeal. They also help to prevent soil erosion and create usable space from steep terrain. There are several types of retaining walls, including concrete, stone, vinyl, and wood.
You can build a retaining wall up to 4 feet high, with a good back and reasonable DIY skills. Taller walls require an engineer’s design and proper drainage. Keep reading the article below to learn more about Retaining Wall Installations.
Retaining walls is an excellent way to add visual interest to a landscape. They can serve as focal points and create unique designs that will catch the attention of guests and potential homebuyers. These walls are also a great way to prevent erosion. However, the costs associated with building and maintaining these walls can be expensive. Several factors can affect the price of a retaining wall, including material, site preparation, and labor.
The type of material used in a retaining wall will have a significant impact on the cost. The most common materials include wood, stone, and concrete. While each has its own advantages and benefits, they all have different price ranges. For example, wood retaining walls can be less expensive than stone retaining walls, but they may not be as durable.
When choosing a material, it is important to consider how long you want your retaining wall to last. A quality wood retaining wall can last for decades, but it will require regular maintenance. In addition, it is essential to ensure that the wall is built below the frost line. Otherwise, the soil will freeze and thaw during the winter, causing the wall to shift or lean over time.
In addition to the cost of the material, the construction of a retaining wall can be very labor-intensive. This is especially true if the wall is high or in difficult-to-access locations. In these situations, it is necessary to hire a professional. This can significantly increase the overall cost of the project.
Another factor that can drive up the cost of a retaining wall is the amount of dirt needed to build it. For example, if the wall is built in a difficult-to-access area, it will need to be leveled before it can be constructed. This can cost up to $1,500 per acre.
The size of the retaining wall will also impact its cost. Larger walls will be more expensive to build than smaller ones. In addition, walls that are designed to hold back a significant amount of weight will need to be engineered by a structural engineer. This will also increase the cost of the project.
Retaining walls can be constructed from a variety of materials, including stones, concrete blocks and timbers. Each type has its own advantages and disadvantages. Wood, for example, is inexpensive and simple to install, but it will rot over time, leaving you with an unstable retaining wall that can become home to rodents and weeds. In addition, wood is susceptible to termites. Using a wood preservative helps slow this process, but it is not a complete solution. Another disadvantage of wooden retaining walls is that they can erode over time, resulting in pooling water behind the wall that may damage the backfill and the structure of the retaining wall.
Concrete walls are popular for their durability and versatility. They come in a range of shapes and finishes, and can be designed to curve or take on a number of architectural styles from Spanish-inspired to midcentury modern design. However, they are most often used for walls under four feet tall because of the need for footings. Concrete blocks are another good option for homeowners who want a more traditional look than a mortared masonry wall. They can also be combined with stone veneers to add style and texture to the wall.
When building a retaining wall with blocks, be sure to place them correctly to ensure the structural integrity of the wall. Blocks with flanged tongues are easy to line up by sighting down the male grooves on adjacent blocks, while those with rounded tops can be lined up by placing a straight piece of wood against them. For a long-lasting and attractive finish, staining the blocks is an option.
Before starting construction on your retaining wall, excavate the area and compact the soil thoroughly. Line the trench with landscape fabric and fill it with 1 1/2’’ of screened gravel or 3/4’’ of crusher run base material, firmly compacting each layer before placing the next. Lay a perforated drainage pipe in the backfill of your retaining wall and add a drain grate every 25’’-50’’, depending on how much rainwater you expect to receive behind your retaining wall.
Unlike walls made of wood or vinyl, which can be designed in an unlimited number of ways by your contractor, retaining walls are usually built to specific specifications and rely on structural engineering to perform correctly. A retaining wall has to be strong enough to withstand the forces placed on it, including lateral earth pressure and surcharge loads, as well as internal actions such as shear and bending. For this reason, a structural engineer is involved in most retaining wall projects.
The design of a retaining wall can affect its cost. For example, if the retaining wall is on a steep slope, your contractors will have to terrace the soil and install drainage measures. This will increase the amount of time and labor needed to build the retaining wall, which will add to your overall costs. In addition, the size and height of a retaining wall can affect construction time, which also affects your final cost.
Retaining wall construction usually begins below ground level where a trench is dug or excavated to facilitate drainage and allow for the proper installation of the footings of your retaining wall. The footing is usually designed by an engineer to meet your specific needs. Depending on your soil type, the footing may consist of gravel, sand, or concrete.
Once the footing is in place, the retaining wall can be constructed above ground level. Most retaining walls are constructed in sections called courses. The first course is laid on the base and is connected to the footing with either a mechanical anchor or with steel rods driven into the ground and expanded with pressurized concrete. Once the first course is in place, the second and subsequent courses are stacked on top of each other with staggered joints between each course. This is known as running bond.
When constructing a retaining wall, it is important to avoid cement-stabilized backfill as it limits the flexibility of the wall and can lead to settlement. For this reason, it is often best to use a geogrid reinforcement system on commercial or large residential retaining wall projects. On smaller residential retaining walls, it is often advisable to consider alternative construction methods, such as a soldier pile and lagging, rather than cement-stabilized backfill.
Retaining walls are a great way to define landscape areas, manage slopes and tiered landscaping. They can also provide a distinct transition to the street or other parts of the property. They help prevent erosion and add value to a home. Many retaining walls are made from natural stone, which can add a beautiful contrast to the rest of the landscaping.
The first step in constructing a retaining wall is to mark the site where it will be located. This can be done using a shovel to mark the ground or by driving wooden stakes at each end of the wall. It is important to make sure that the stakes are no more than eight feet apart. The next step is to prepare the site by digging a trench where the wall will be placed. Depending on the design of the retaining wall, it may be necessary to dig to a depth of 6 to 10 inches. The trench should be wide enough to allow for a good base and proper drainage.
Once the site has been prepared, a retaining wall can be constructed using a variety of materials. Some of the most common construction materials include concrete, gabion and stone, brick, railroad tie, steel I-beam, and rammed earth. Each material has its own advantages and disadvantages and can vary in price per square foot.
In addition to the cost of the building materials, retaining walls can require additional labor to build. This is particularly true for walls that are more than four feet tall or are being built on a sloped area. It is also likely that the retaining wall will need to be designed by a structural engineer.
If you are planning to hire a contractor to build your retaining wall, it is important to research companies before choosing one. Look at examples of their work and read reviews. You should also ask for references. Additionally, make sure that the company is licensed in your state. Lastly, you should request an estimate before hiring the contractor. This will help you determine if they are within your budget.