Retaining walls are a special kind of wall made to handle projects where a large amount of earth needs to be excavated and moved and then held in place so that the earth can be kept at two different levels on either side of the wall. One of the most typical situations where a retaining wall would be needed is a driveway, where you will need to remove land to pave a flat surface for your car to be parked. If your house is located on a hill it will likely require you to have to build a retaining wall to get your driveway put in place. Cities and farms also use retaining walls for highways and setting up fields for harvesting. Understanding how retaining walls work and what types of retaining walls you have to choose from can go a long way in helping you make the right decision when it comes to building your retaining wall.
Gravity walls are designed to resist the pressure of the earth pressing against them by being extremely heavy. They rely on gravity to keep them in place (maybe that’s why they get that name). There are many different materials used to build these walls, from stone to concrete to geosynthetics are all viable options when it comes to building a gravity wall. The wall will be flat on the side facing the earth and have a slope on the exposed side that’s wider at the base. This base will then be lowered beyond the exposed side so that it’s embedded into the ground.
A cantilevered wall is an offshoot of the gravity wall with the addition of an anchoring section of the base that is dug into the earth to provide even more support. These walls can even have more support placed on the cleared out side of the wall to improve stability. Giving the extensive nature of the support options given to a wall like this, it’s a wall that requires less materials to be made than a typical gravity wall.
Anchored retaining walls are walls that have supports driven into the earth to help them be kept in place. These retaining walls are likely a last ditch option for a home renovation project as the engineering needed to set up a proper anchored wall is high tech and pretty expensive, but if you need a thin wall to handle the job this is the kind of retaining wall you’ll be looking into getting.
Sheet piling retaining walls are best used for soft soil situations or situations where you have a tight space to fit your wall into. Steel, wood or vinyl are all possible material options for these walls. You’ll want the wall to be two thirds below the ground and a third above the ground to get the proper level of stability needed to make sure the wall doesn’t break under the pressure.
Whatever retaining wall option to decide to go with having a good retaining wall will give you the peace of mind that the project was done right and your property looks better than ever.