Retaining walls are structures that are constructed to keep dirt, water, and other materials at bay. The main function of these walls is to prevent structures located at a higher level from falling on others at a lower level. Different materials can be used to construct these walls depending on the availability of materials, the amount of space you have available, as well as your budget. But a point to keep in mind is that retaining walls can also erode and fall down, leading to a need for replacement structures. This happens in cases when the retaining wall is not constructed properly. It is therefore important to hire a reliable contractor and continue to maintain the wall properly so that it lasts longer.
When a retaining wall fails, in addition to causing erosion that can damage the entire foundation, it also results in drainage problems. When water gets accumulated, it becomes harder for the wall to hold it back.
Options for Retaining Wall Materials
- Railroad Crossties- when railroad crossties are used to construct retaining walls, it is extremely important for there to be a solid footer attached so that the lower part does not slide out. Further, structures should be constructed perpendicularly to the wall to prevent it from collapsing. One disadvantage of using railroad ties is that they are made out of wood which is prone to rot and infection by termites.
- Treated Wood- while this is an option to consider, it should certainly not be your first option mainly because wood is at high risk from termite infestations and rot. The advantage of using wood is that it is lightweight and resilient. But, for it to withstand the weight of the wall itself, it is advisable to attach a concrete footer to it. Lastly, wood is a material that should be used for new retaining walls and not to replace existing retaining walls as there may be space issues
- Concrete- concrete is often considered the best material for retaining walls as it is extremely durable. But, in order for you to have a long lasting wall, you should find a reliable contractor who can engineer the whole thing properly. An advantage of using concrete for your walls is that there are a number of designs that you can choose from to give it a nice, aesthetic appeal. It is also easier to maintain concrete than other materials
- Blocks or Paver Stones- blocks or paver stones can be stacked one above the other to construct a retaining wall. However, these walls should be supported by a concrete footer so that the wall does not collapse. The blocks are more for aesthetic purposes than for structural ones.
- Rock or Brick- one of the most favoured appearances of a retaining wall involves the usage of natural stone or brick. These materials give the wall a more classy appearance and last longer. But, you may find it necessary to put in a concrete retaining wall behind the masonry wall for more support