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How retaining walls work

There are many retaining wall systems currently on the market. Most fall within the four main categories: gravity retaining walls, cantilever retaining walls, anchor retaining walls, and sheet pile retaining walls.

Retaining walls are designed to resist the lateral pressures that act on soil so that the slope or height of the soil can be manipulated. This creates useable space on top of and/or below the retaining wall. Lateral earth pressures are typically smallest at the top of the wall and increase towards the bottom. The most important contributor to lateral earth pressures is gravity. It can cause the retained material to move forward and slope downward. Together, these pressures push the retaining wall forward and may overturn a poorly designed wall.

If there is groundwater behind the retaining wall that cannot drain it will create hydrostatic pressure on the wall. This will affect the performance of the retaining wall. It is important to backfill behind the retaining wall with proper drainage material. These materials will reduce or eliminate the hydrostatic pressure acting on the wall and improve the stability of the retained soil. The final grade should prevent runoff from pooling on top of the retaining wall.

Do you have a retaining wall project over 3 feet in height? If so, contact us today for a free consultation and we would be happy to provide you with a customized design plan. We are fully equipped to service commercial and residential clients in Burlington, Etobicoke, Grimsby, Hamilton, Mississauga, Oakville, Richmond Hill, Toronto, Vaughan & the surrounding areas.

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