Types of Retaining Wall Materials and How to Choose Them

In landscaping, retaining walls are used to hold soil in place at certain elevated locations. They often separate two different levels of terrain that may either be flat or slightly inclined, vertically. Both tiny retaining walls used in home yard design and larger ones used to protect structures or roadways at the base of hills may be seen.

You need to carefully consider which retaining wall material is best for each project’s needs and constraints because of the catastrophe that might happen if one failed and allowed earth to flow down beyond it. Consider which material properties are ideal for the design direction you’re taking, then look at the various materials to choose the one that most closely meets your requirements.

Four varieties of retaining wall materials

Wood: The 6x6s, 6x8s, and 8x8s offered in lumberyards and home stores are inexpensive and suitable for DIYers; they are fastened together with screws, spikes, or rebar. Simply crushed stone footing and T-shaped wood deadmen are all that are required to secure these walls. Western red cedar or redwood lasts roughly 20 years, whereas pressure-treated pine and fir that are approved for ground contact should last 40 years.

Stone or brick: Stone, brick, or concrete-block walls are durable and robust if there is enough drainage. These materials are available at stone yards and home improvement stores, but installation would probably need a mason. Mortared walls need to weep holes to alleviate soil pressure and are supported by a rebar-reinforced concrete base that is below the frost line. Retaining walls made of dry-stacked stone without mortar only need a crushed-stone footing. Experts in retaining walls nelson can help you build the perfect retaining wall for your home and the best landscape to augment your home’s aesthetic value.

Masonry: Concrete is the sturdiest and most long-lasting option, and it may be carved, veneered, dyed, or stamped to resemble mortared stone. Purchase dry concrete from the home store in bags or wet concrete delivered by a ready-mix truck. Professionals should be trusted with the design, formwork, and pouring. These walls need to weep holes and are supported by a reinforced concrete base, much like mortared masonry. Only this form of the wall is not battered (leaned back) against the ground.

Interlocking block: Due to their small weight, flat edges, and secure fit when assembled without mortar, they are a popular option among retaining wall materials. These retaining wall blocks have a rough face for a quarried appearance and are available in various shades of gray, tan, and red. They are offered in stone yards and home stores. They rest on a crushed-stone footing, similar to wood and dry-stacked stone walls. Every other course is anchored to the ground by sturdy netting.

Considerations while choosing the materials

Sizing: The materials you use may vary depending on whether you are creating a small retaining wall for the plants surrounding a home or a tall one close to a road. Additionally, a smaller wall does not need as strong a construction. You may build it out of wood, stones, or loosely packed concrete blocks that are held in place by gravity rather than cement. Instead, a large retaining wall that is a part of the local infrastructure might be constructed out of thicker wood, large rocks, or concrete that has been poured.

Water contain capacity: Another crucial consideration when selecting the ideal retaining wall material is how much water exposure the location experiences. Waves, precipitation, and air humidity are all examples of water. Your retaining wall may shield a shoreline or it may be located far from any bodies of water, but it must still contend with a significant quantity of moisture nearby. For the former, you should choose a material like concrete to increase its endurance. Additionally, this is preferable to materials formed of stacked units because it may be fashioned into a sloping pattern that more easily diverts the power of the approaching water.

Style: The customer you are building the retaining wall for can place a high value on aesthetics as well. The smaller the project, the more latitude you can provide them since large retaining walls still need to emphasize safety because they have to withstand greater weight and stress. If at all feasible, a wall made of wood or stone will have a more attractive, natural appearance that blends in with the surroundings and the style of adjacent houses and other structures. Be aware that in certain circumstances, finishing the outside of a retaining wall may also enhance its aesthetic. For instance, you may conceal concrete with a façade that looks like stone even if concrete may be the most trustworthy answer in that particular situation.

Final thoughts

Great DIY retaining wall options include timber and interlocking concrete-block walls. It is often advisable to leave poured concrete and mortared masonry projects to a mason. If you’re thinking about constructing a retaining wall by yourself, be aware that rules require engineers to design and professionally construct barriers that are taller than 4 feet tall.