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The Do's And Don'ts Of Retaining Wall

Oct 8


There are many reasons to erect walls. They can reduce soil erosion, transform steep slopes into terraced areas, or establish focal points within the landscape. These walls are a popular way to address issues caused by hilly terrains. They can also transform inaccessible areas into gardens able outside spaces. Steadfast Custom Construction skilled builders and designers say that a retaining wall does not have to look the same as any other concrete wall.


Despite their modest appearance, these walls require careful planning and sometimes skilled engineering to keep them in shape. A simple retaining wall constructed with knowledge can hold up to 20 tons of soil pressure, due to the heavy soil, especially after rainstorms. With each foot, more soil pressure is added. 


If you make mistakes in your construction plans, you could end up with a weak wall, which can bulge or collapse. DIYers with basic construction skills can still build retaining walls. Do you fit this description? 


Steps To Building A Retaining Wall

1. Check with the authorities

Most towns require that homeowners obtain a permit before they start construction. This is because retaining walls can have an adverse effect on the natural flow and water flow. Ask any questions you may have about the project. You can narrow down your options later. Also, ensure you know the regulations surrounding retaining wall construction and that you don't begin building it without the appropriate approvals. The city of Portland has a web page with this advice.


You can also dial DigSafe (811), a worldwide program that notifies utility companies about your plans to dig on your property. They will help you locate any buried wires and can even label them. Get bids from at minimum three contractors before you start any work. Don't hire anyone without knowing how much they are willing to charge for their services.

2. Choose the best materials

It can be difficult and confusing to choose a suitable retaining wall material. Retaining wall repair Pittsburgh says there are many options, but it is possible to hire a professional to help determine the appropriate material. It is important to choose a suitable material for a durable retaining wall. You have various options: bricks, poured concrete, and natural stones.


Be aware that your choice of materials will impact your home's structure and aesthetic appeal. Brick is one of the most popular materials for retaining wall construction. Brick has a traditional, warm, and elegant feel. Brick is an excellent choice because it has many advantages over other materials. It also has a high durability level, making it an ideal material. Bricks are also resistant to water damage, unlike other materials.

3. Start with a solid foundation

Experts argued that a strong foundation is essential for any building. This is a must-have for any retaining wall construction. Please make sure the foundation is strong enough to support the weight before you begin building it. You will also be spending more time and money on the foundation of your wall if you choose the wrong material. If you do not pay attention, cracks may need to be repaired.


The strength of your retaining wall will depend on its support system. A trench containing 3 inches of crushed stone will keep a stacked-block wall from shifting or settling by keeping it no higher than 4 feet. The trench's exact depth will depend on how tall the wall is projected, but it's important to remember a rule of thumb: Excavate an area that's 1/8 the wall and 3 inches. Let's assume that your retaining walls are 3 feet high (36 inches). To accommodate crushed rock of 3 inches and approximately 5 inches to begin the structure below grade, you need to dig the trench 8 deep.

4. Do not place the bricks in an uneven manner

It is essential to align the blocks evenly, as the first block will be the foundation for subsequent retaining wall blocks. The rows not even in the first row will look unappealing and crooked. It is important to note that uneven gravel layers beneath the retaining walls can show up on the top of the wall. If the slope of the area you are going to build your fence is uneven, you will need to level it before you begin. Stability can be improved by preparing a solid foundation.

5. Have an intensive plan

Planning carefully for retaining walls is essential as they can make or break your outdoor space's aesthetic and practicality. It is necessary to carefully plan your wall layout, considering many aspects, such as its size, shape, height, location, function, and location. The Structural World recommends you consult certified architects or engineers to help you design a well-built wall.

For example, if your property is steeply inclined or on the top of a hill, you will need a detailed plan. A retaining wall can be used to protect your property from flooding and mudslides, and it can transform an otherwise unusable area into one that is functional. 


For many years, retaining walls have been used to create spaces suitable for planting. Without a plan and advice from a professional in this area, your retaining walls project may cost you money, time, and energy. Professional assistance is required for the permitting process of retaining walls and the engineering and construction.