The Fine Points of Constructing a Retaining Wall

retaining wall between a river and land

Whether made from wood, concrete, blocks or other materials, a retaining wall can enhance the appearance of a house, a commercial building or an open space.

However, a retaining wall serves more than providing aesthetic value. It creates enclosed spaces and blocks off areas to create a sense of privacy. A retaining wall also prevents erosion of soil, thereby protecting the structure.

Keys to a Well-Built Wall

The common impression about retaining walls is that they’re built to last. However, many installations fail prematurely. Here are components that contribute to a successful retaining wall system:

  • Soil Compaction

The stability of the soil behind a retaining wall is crucial, no matter what material used. After compaction, the soil is dense and less absorbent, thereby minimising hydrostatic pressure on the retaining wall.

  • Internal Drainage System

Moisture causes the soil behind the wall to expand, which puts pressure on the structure. An internal drainage system will ensure that moisture is diverted, thereby reducing the pressure which could cause damage to the retaining wall.

The consistency of the soil behind the wall is vital. Light, sandy soils and gravel are excellent choices for backfill, as they drain well naturally.

  • Use of Geogrid

Geogrid is a synthetic material used to reinforce structures. It comes as large pieces of flexible synthetic mesh, which are laid down in layers of backfilled soil. The material takes much of the weight off the wall by preventing the tendency of soil to flow downhill.

  • Installation of Anchors

Although the above-mentioned factors make a retaining wall strong, reinforcement is still needed. This is where earth anchors come in. Typically in the form of horizontal wires or rods, or helical anchors, they provide additional stability to the structure.

  • Building a Retaining Wall

The process starts by designing the wall and planning the layout. Determine the materials you’ll use to build the retaining wall. Most walls are made from brick, stone or concrete. It will depend on the purpose of the wall, the environment where it will be built and the client preference. Make sure that the structure complies withAustralia’s standards for earth retaining structures.

The construction starts with the excavation to create a trench. The depth of the trench depends on the wall, soil type and the weather conditions of the area. Non-mortared walls in warm areas where the soil drains well require a simple scraping of the topsoil to form a base. On the other hand, concrete walls in heavy-frost areas require footings dug below the frost line. After excavation, the soil in the trench bottom is compacted to keep the blocks level.

The next step is to replace native soil with gravel to create the backfill. Geogrids are installed on top of each layer to direct pressure downward rather than against the wall. Anchors are then set up to reinforce the structure.

Strengthen Your Structures with Meever Konnection’s Anchor Bars

Meever Konnection specialises in producing, distributing and renting of high-quality steel products to support building and engineering companies, government departments and contractors. We have established an outstanding reputation for delivering first-rate products quickly and efficiently. We are focused on giving the best solutions to our clients, so we also provide bespoke offers and flexibility in all aspects of service production.

For more information and enquiries, contact +61 7 3191 4426 or email info@mksteel.com.au.