Retaining walls provide a concrete structure around a house to retain soil. This is usually done for two reasons: retaining the land as moisture-barriers and retaining aesthetic beauty of the landscape. Concrete walls made of retaining walls are very rigid and can hold soil at different elevations. Reinforced concrete is the best choice for this purpose.
Soil pressure is the main reason for a retaining wall. When soil is driven against a wall it naturally takes curving shapes. However, when the force of the downward movement is too much to take care of, additional upright blocks are needed to straighten out the soil to a level surface. This depends on the wall type and the landscape background (such hillsides or plains) that is being corrected.
Soil steepness is another important consideration when determining the number and type of vertical blocks required to retain a particular area. A square foot can hold seven linear feet of concrete blocks. For smaller areas, the number of blocks can be cut down, resulting in less concrete waste. One-inch blocks may be used to enclose larger areas.
Many homeowners and businesses opt to construct retaining walls using lightweight materials such flagstone. These systems are cost effective, but they are not very structurally sound. For this reason, homeowners should select slabs that are built using tiebacks and have the proper angle for holding back soil. To connect parallel slabs of concrete, tiebacks are also known as capstans. They don’t require cutting, leveling or construction of roads or pathways. The only tools required for installation of these lightweight systems are hand trucks or a truck tractor with a skid steer attachment.
Vertical systems are best if a retaining wall is being built in steep or sloping terrain. This situation can be addressed with three types of wall system: slab walls or gravity walls. A gravity wall is constructed from four horizontal plates that are parallel to the wall. A slab wall is made by placing parallel strips of concrete, wood or metal along the top of the wall.
Hybrid wall systems combine elements of both a gravity wall and a slab. Slab walls don’t usually contain concrete. However, they do have a layer containing gravel that acts as a base. This gravel is placed on top soil, on top a layer crushed stones, or on top a thin layer soil. Gravel is added to channels that allow runoff to drain away from the wall. These channels help to keep excess soil in the wall, improving drainage patterns and keeping water from stagnating in the wall.
In many areas where a retaining wall is necessary to provide adequate footing for heavy equipment, homeowners should consider the advantages of mechanically stabilized earth walls. While this option involves digging a hole in the ground, it uses the least amount of soil and material, compared to other options. A pit, which may be dug with a shovel or a hand truck, is one method of mechanically stabilized earth wall construction. Another option is to build a circle of bricks around a pit’s perimeter. Bricks can be poured after the foundation is established. Some landowners dig their pits themselves, while others hire someone to do the work.
Concrete retaining walls can be made from brick, concrete, or tile. Each option has its own advantages and disadvantages depending on the location and use of the retaining walls. Concrete wall systems are better at preventing soil erosion due to the incorporation of subsidence control. Brick and tile systems provide better footing for heavy machinery because they have proper drainage. They also emphasize slip resistance.