Retaining Walls: Concrete Block or Poured Concrete?

If you’re thinking of having a retaining wall installed, consider the advantages and disadvantages of concrete block versus poured concrete.

Having a retaining wall installed is a good way to improve the curb appeal of your home, control your yard’s landscapes, and to combat soil erosion. There are many considerations to take into account when deciding what type of retaining wall you want. Explore the benefits and drawbacks of both a concrete block and a poured concrete retaining wall.

Concrete Block Versus Poured Concrete
Concrete block is one of the most common materials used for retaining walls. Blocks are placed on top of one another for height, and their interior cells are reinforced with rebar and filled with concrete for strength. Concrete block retaining walls can be as high as about four feet, and the retaining wall can have curves and right angles. They are a structurally sound option, but concrete block retaining walls must incorporate footings to ensure optimal strength. 

There are a number of different types of blocks to choose from, such as the basic “cinder block” and interlocking blocks. While standard concrete block is visually unappealing, options like split face blocks—concrete blocks with a face that resembles broken stone—or adding a veneer resembling stone, brick, or other decorative masonry can add interest and match a home’s style.

Poured concrete retaining walls utilize rebar and poured concrete to create a smooth, sleek wall, and there are numerous design options. While poured concrete retaining walls are stronger than concrete block retaining walls, there’s a lot that can go wrong with a poured concrete retaining wall. It takes a great amount of knowledge and skill to install a poured concrete retaining wall; the process is unforgiving of mistakes. Waves or bulges can form, as can cracks. Generally, there are few to no options for fixing problems like cracks with a poured concrete retaining wall, and the entire wall must be replaced if one part of it fails.

Tucker Paving has over 25 years of experience in the concrete and asphalt paving construction industry, and we’ve been serving Central Florida for over 50 years. We offer site clearing, site grading, stabilized subgrade, base work, asphalt paving, underground utilities, and concrete curbs, sidewalks, slabs, and tie-beams. Call us at (863) 299-2262, or contact us online, for your next concrete project!