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Types of Concrete Retaining Wall Installation

Concrete Contractors Colorado Springs is essential for the sturdiness of any concrete retaining wall. Dig a trench in the desired location for your new structure and replace it with gravel, which is more compact than native soil.

Install drainage if necessary, which helps prevent water from pooling behind your wall and causing damage over time. Wear safety gear, including eye protection, ear plugs, and a dust mask.

concrete retaining wall

Gravity block walls use the weight and set-back of concrete blocks to resist the lateral soil pressure from retained earth. Typically used for walls less than 4′ high, they can be constructed using various materials, including stone, bricks, or concrete. Gabion basket walls are another form of gravity wall that uses large stones to create a more natural appearance and can be more economical than other options.

Like any other permanent structure, retaining walls must be properly prepared before construction begins. This includes digging a trench as deep and wide as the wall height for proper foundation support. A sand or gravel base must be poured and compacted in the excavated area. This will allow for a firm footing for the masonry units and provide adequate drainage. The sand or gravel must also be lined with landscape fabric to prevent the infiltration of silt, clay, and other debris.

Once the preparation is complete, it’s time to start constructing the wall. It’s best to build the first course of retaining blocks one at a time, starting on the bottom and working your way up. This ensures each unit is perfectly seated and will help you achieve the desired height of your wall. Using a level to check each block as you go along for consistency is a good idea. If the wall isn’t level, you must backfill and add more sand or gravel.

When building a retaining wall, leaving a space at the back of each block is important. If you don’t, the blocks may be pushed against each other and lose their structural integrity. You should also avoid filling this space up with sand or gravel that is too much at one time, as it can cause water to collect behind the wall and lead to failure.

While a building permit is usually optional for a low-height retaining wall, it’s always recommended that you contact your local council to find out their requirements. They may need an engineering report or a statement of opinion from a competent design professional (Producer Statement) if the wall retains more than 1.5 meters of soil.

Concrete block walls have a wide variety of finishes, allowing them to complement almost any landscaping design. They are also prized for their strength and versatility, which translate into much room for customization.

Steel reinforcement bars must be used throughout the structure for a concrete retaining wall that is expected to support a significant amount of weight. Installing these bars is a complex process that requires careful planning and coordination. In addition, the rebar must be properly secured to create a strong framework resistant to seismic and other forces.

Begin by excavating the required area for the retaining wall and laying out and preparing the footings. Then, line the excavated site with a layer of landscape fabric and fill it with a combination of crushed rock and perforated pipe for drainage. Add backfill and compact the material in 2-3″ layers until the base is 6″ thick. Set the first course of block units on top of the base, then backfill the spaces between blocks with a 3/4″ crush and run.

When adding subsequent rows, stagger the blocks in a traditional brick-laying pattern. If you are using a block style with a rear lip or a multi-piece unit, remove the rear lips and reorganize units to prevent “course bonding,” which occurs when joints begin to line up with those of courses above or below. If this happens, you can restore a proper course bond by removing the back of the lip on lipped block styles or using a masonry chisel to split multi-piece blocks into half and then reassembling them.

Once the wall is built, inspect it and ensure it is level and plumb. If it isn’t, it may need to be corrected by adding or removing shims. Also, check the alignment and spacing of the rebar. Secure the corner bars by tying them with rebar wire or ties if necessary.

Once the rebar is in place, apply a concrete finish to the wall’s surface. When using a finish, it is important to work quickly to avoid having the concrete dry before you can smooth and seal the surface. After the concrete finish is applied, allow it to cure according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

A wall must be structurally sound when it is built to hold back a lot of earth. Engineered concrete retaining walls provide the stability and strength required for such applications. These walls resist lateral earth pressures, base sliding, and soil-bearing capacity failures using an engineered design and steel reinforcement. Typically, engineers will coordinate the footing size and dimensions with paving or planting that runs along the face of the wall to avoid interference and to ensure the structure supports the intended use.

Before constructing a structural wall, the site must be excavated and properly prepared. The removed soil must be replaced with a gravel base to allow for drainage and help prevent pooling water behind the wall. The base should be compacted and leveled with a hand tamp or power compactor to prepare the ground for the concrete block wall.

Once the base is installed, it’s time to install the first course of blocks. Using a carpenter’s level, check that each block is perfectly level left-to-right and front-to-back before proceeding. Once the first course is set, lay a second row of blocks staggered from the previous row. This helps with drainage and gives the final wall a nice, finished look.

Depending on the height of the wall, reinforcement in the form of a rebar may be necessary. This is typically done at predetermined points along the wall and will be checked with a level and a carpenter’s level to ensure proper alignment and spacing. Additionally, corner bars are sometimes installed to help strengthen the corners of the wall.

When the concrete is poured, it must be allowed to cure and harden according to the manufacturer’s instructions. During this period, it’s recommended that the concrete be kept moist and protected from extreme weather conditions to help maintain its strength and durability. Once the concrete has cured, it’s ready for the final building of the retaining wall – applying a decorative finish.

Decorative walls are constructed from various materials, including stone, wood, and concrete. They add visual interest to the landscape and often provide structural support. Dec decorative walls can be relatively inexpensive depending on the wall size, design, and materials used. They can also be an ideal project for the do-it-yourself homeowner.

For example, a brick retaining wall can be constructed using readily available and affordable materials. However, the wall may need more durability than other retaining walls. For this reason, it is typically recommended that professional contractors build and install decorative walls.

A poured concrete wall can be constructed to resemble stone or masonry and can rise to heights of up to 10 feet. The construction process for this type of wall involves setting the forms, installing form liners to give the concrete texture, pouring and stripping the concrete, then staining it to look like stone or masonry. It takes considerable skill and experience to construct a poured concrete wall properly, so it is generally recommended that professionals use this type of wall for large landscaping projects.

One interesting and unique approach to decorative retaining walls is to use colored concrete. This is done by mixing a color additive into the concrete as it is poured. Creating various colors, including pastel shades perfect for many landscapes, is possible.

Another interesting retaining wall style is the use of an exposed aggregate finish. A layer of a special concrete mix is applied to the wall to do this. Once it is completely set, the top of the mixture is washed away to reveal the pebbles and other small stones mixed into the concrete. This is a great option for anyone looking to add a little color to their landscape without using brightly colored plants.

Once the retaining wall is built, it is important to backfill the soil. This should be done slowly and carefully to protect the wall’s integrity and help it settle. Replacing the soil with a heavier material, such as crushed stone, is also a good idea. This can be especially helpful if the soil is of better quality.