Understanding Retaining Walls and the Types of Retaining Walls

Retaining walls are a physical barrier used to retain soil, water, or other materials on the side where they are higher. They may be constructed in various shapes and sizes, depending on what their purpose is. Retaining walls can be made out of many different types of materials, including steel-reinforced concrete, polyurethane foam blocks, wood planks, or even earth if necessary. This blog post will discuss how retaining walls work and the different types of retaining walls minnetonka mn.

Gravity retaining walls: A gravity retaining wall is built to resist the lateral pressure of soil by stabilizing it with friction or sheer vertical weight. A gravity retaining wall creates a positive angle that forces outward against its foundation, which is how it can maintain its position.

Crib retaining wall: A crib retaining wall is constructed similar to a gravity-type retaining wall. It may be built either by stacking precast concrete, steel-reinforced panels, or stacked and mortared stone in an open grid arrangement that forms small compartments. The weight of the soil then holds the wall in position against lateral movement.

Cantilever retaining wall: A cantilevered retaining wall is designed to retain backfill only on its non-cantilevered side, with no support from the opposite face. Cantilevers are most effective when they project well beyond their footing so as not to form an earth slice if they fail under load. This, however, increases the construction time. As such, it is usually used for shorter heights, e.g., under a window or door. Traffic passing near the edge of such a wall is not impeded, making this an efficient design for busy roads and railways.

Gabion retaining walls: Gabion retaining walls are a form of a gravity-type retaining wall constructed with wire baskets filled with stones and sometimes concrete. Gabions can be used both as free-standing units (like blocks) or to reinforce an existing wall. It is also used to stabilize against erosion and steep slopes.

Counter-fort retaining walls: Counterfort retaining walls are a type of gravity-type retaining wall constructed by installing vertical posts or columns into the ground, then filling between them with crushed stone or concrete to form an integral whole. These are typically limited to about six feet (two meters) high in most cases. Taller structures require deeper foundations and more complex construction methods that increase costs.

Pier & Beam Retaining Wall: Pier and beam style retaining wall supports soil on a small strip of land between its footing and the back wall. The soil on the other side is held in place by rows of vertical wooden beams, placed at regular intervals along the length of the wall.

Column & cap style retaining walls: Under this method, columns spaced 13 feet or less apart are built, which allows you to build longer walls with shorter footings. This approach may be used for height up to 20′ tall, but larger heights require deeper foundations and more complex construction methods, which increases costs.

Arches Retaining Wall: Arched Style retaining walls have been around since Roman times. They create an arched effect that prevents the earth from sliding downward while allowing water through. To work properly, they require adequate drainage to accommodate the water flow.

Multi-Lap Steel Retaining Walls: Multi-lap steel retaining walls have been developed for highly steep slopes and stream bank applications where traditional methods fail or provide only temporary solutions. These systems can be installed on more extreme angles than other types of retaining walls. This system uses a series of vertical posts anchored into your foundation with horizontal plates attached at various heights which extend past this foundation to prevent erosion from occurring.

Anchored Retaining Walls: The anchored retaining wall system is a unique and versatile solution to the challenges of steep slopes. It provides many benefits, including cost savings resulting from fewer footing excavations and reduced construction time due to lower foundation costs.

Piled retaining walls: Pile-driven retaining walls are a type of gravity wall that uses steel H beams, or I beams driven into the ground as vertical elements and then stabilized against lateral movement by horizontal tieback cables.

Galvanized plate embedded in soil: Galvanized plates can also be used to provide additional support for an existing retaining wall. As with other types of reinforcement, these may require some preparation work to ensure they fit correctly before being filled with concrete.

Braced Retaining Walls: Braced style retaining walls have been developed where traditional methods fail or provide only temporary solutions. This system uses smaller footings than most styles which allows it to be installed on highly steep slopes without compromising stability. The bracing provides added strength and surface stabilization while allowing for drainage and water flow.

One-way slab: One-way slabs are a type of retaining wall that can be used to support the soil on only one side, creating what is essentially a bridge over an obstacle such as a creek or ravine. Counterforts can also provide this function; however, counterforts require deeper footings.

Mechanically Stabilized Earth Retaining Wall: Mechanically stabilized earth (MSE) retaining walls are used on slopes where the soil is too soft or unstable to retain the wall’s full load. MSE walls consist of a core reinforced with steel bars, welded wire fabric, and geosynthetic reinforcement.

Retaining Walls can be used in many situations where the soil needs extra support to keep it from sliding downhill. Some styles even use steel beams which makes them more robust than other types but also more expensive. These systems typically have smaller footings due to slope requirements which helps reduce construction costs while still giving you a sturdy foundation. If you are planning on building retaining walls, talk to a foundation expert.