Retaining walls are usually fairly solid walls utilized for supporting soil lateral to its back slope direction so it may be retained in different levels on either side. Retaining walls can also serve as part of the fence system for a yard, and their primary function is to strengthen a soil foundation against hydrostatic pressure. In this article we will discuss the basic functions, installation methods, materials used and some relevant regulations. After reading this article you should be able to decide whether a retaining wall may be right for your landscape.
Retaining walls were initially made from stone or other solid material to act as a shock absorber for the earth underneath it. They can also be made of reinforced concrete or paving slabs. The most commonly applied material for retaining walls is concrete because it is the easiest to form and install. However, the weight of an uninsulated concrete footing may cause the wall to crack. Paving walls are more often reinforced with steel.
There are a number of ways in which to install retaining walls. The first way is called the free-standing wall. In this installation, a dirt wall is placed on top of the retaining wall and held up by wooden ties or hooks. The second way in which to install a retaining wall is called the pitched wall. In this installation, a concrete footing, which is slightly higher than the wall, is placed between the retaining wall and the soil behind it.
Retaining walls may also be constructed with a metal plate fitted directly to the wall, which serves as the bottom of the wall and also acts as a buttress. Wall claddings are then added above the plate, allowing a layer of soil to be between the wall and the bottom of the wall. Many people choose to install a retaining wall using gravity walls. These are wall systems made up of two parallel walls that are attached to each other, with each wall anchored into the earth by wooden ladders.
Some retaining walls are constructed using steel plates that are tied to the bottom of the wall, while others are constructed using concrete plates. In a gravity wall, the wall is rooted to the ground through steel plates inserted into the earth at specific intervals. A retaining wall constructed with a steel plate is known as a ball and chain system, and these systems are extremely effective in holding soil back. However, they are also the most costly type of wall system, because the plates have to be replaced frequently.
Certain types of retaining walls need to be angled for increased stability, and this increases the amount of work required to install them. Slopes are especially tricky, because even a slight slope can increase the amount of pressure that is exerted on the foundation. Because of this problem, many landowners choose to install retaining walls along side of sloped land. When these walls are pitched to the right degree, they help prevent the amount of pressure that is exerted on the foundation from increasing, thereby reducing the risk of foundation damage. If an angled wall is installed properly, it is nearly impossible for it to be pulled backwards, thereby protecting the foundation from being damaged.