Four Types of Retaining Walls and Their Uses

By installing a retaining wall, land can be sculptured to suit the purposes of the landowner. Here is a brief description of the four most common types of retaining barriers and what they are used for. Gravity Wall

A gravity barrier is one type that uses it’s own mass to resist the pressure from the soil behind. This type of wall is often made of heavier materials such as stone, brick and concrete. Gravity walls are often thicker at the bottom and slanted on one side, as if they are leaning toward the wedge of land behind it. Gravity walls may be made with mortarless stone or blocks of concrete masonry. For short landscaping walls, rigid footing is not required, and the job can be a great DIY project. However, taller and more expansive gravity barrier require concrete footing, so it’s a good idea to hire the services of a professional to do the excavation and digging of the trench in which the barrier rests. Sheet Piling A sheet pile retaining wall is constructed of steel, vinyl or wooden planks, also known as piles, which are driven deep into the soil. Only ⅓ of the plank is usually visible above ground, so piling barrier create strong and deep foundations. Good equipment is necessary to make sure piling barriers are installed correctly. Depending on the height of the wall, extra anchors may be connected to the wall from a distance as extra support. Cantilever Wall A cantilever retaining wall is made from steel reinforced masonry, and is most often formed in the shape of an upside down “T”. The cantilevers load the pressure against the wall into the ground below, keeping everything steady. Cantilever walls may include buttresses, or short wing walls, at right angles on the front, or counter-fronts attached on the back to keep the load evenly pressured. The advantage of a cantilever wall is that the wall itself does not need to be as thick, because it depends on the counter pressures to hold it up rather than depending on gravity and it’s own weight. Anchored

An anchored wall, also known as a tieback, is built in any manner of styles with additional anchoring support. This extra support is often in the form of cables that are anchored into the surface behind the wall. The anchors themselves are placed with an incredible amount of strength, using boring, expansion, or pressurized concrete to keep them in place. This type of retaining barrier is necessary only when very high loads are expected above the retaining wall or when the barrier itself is very thin. A professional concrete contractor is highly recommended for this type of job. Choosing the Right One For You The type of retaining wall you decide to build depends on the purpose, the materials you have available, the type of load weight expected, and the look you desire. Resources to help you with your retaining barrier include local home improvement stores, and reliable DIY instructors. For more complicated retaining walls and high value projects, be sure to contact your local concrete services company for help in determining the best type of wall for your needs.