Not All Retaining Walls Are the Same

Many engineering issues should be considered before you tackle a retaining wall.

Retaining walls seem like a simple concept in theory, but there are some engineering issues that need to be addressed with most retaining walls.

Retaining walls are any structure that holds back dirt and soil from spilling into another area, usually due to a slope. Retaining walls can be made of a variety of materials, but concrete blocks are the most often used for commercial construction. Most smaller retaining walls—those less than 4 feet—can be done by a layperson, but anything more than 4 feet should be constructed with the aid of an engineer. Utilizing a preconstruction team is a good idea as well.

There are many different aspects about retaining walls that need to be considered from an engineering standpoint, right from the beginning with drawings and conceptualizations of large retaining walls. Tucker Paving has the knowledge and experience to help you know everything you need to know about a retaining wall.

Aspects of Retaining Walls to Address

  1. The slope of the area behind the retaining wall. The severity of the slope behind a retaining wall will help to determine aspects like the height and thickness of the retaining wall.
  2. The material the wall will be holding back. The nature of the material the wall will be retaining—its weight, what it’s composed off, how much water it holds, and how much vegetation there is will determine the dimensions of the retaining wall.
  3. Need for terracing. An engineer can determine whether a retaining wall needs to be stepped up, like a terrace, to be effective.
  4. Materials. Some materials that are attractive may not be strong enough for a large retaining wall; an engineer should be able to assist with the materials that can meet both construction standards/codes and aesthetics.
  5. Base materials. Retaining walls require a filler base like any other structure; an engineer should be able to identify options that meet requirement and budget, such as gravel.
  6. Drainage. Water running down the slope will need a place to exit when it meets with the retaining wall. Drainage will need to be considered and built into the wall’s design.
  7. Supports and backfill. An engineer will be able to determine what sort of supports the retaining wall will need, and the best options for backfilling it.

Our team here at Tucker Paving can help you with jobs both big and small.