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Retaining wall construction

On the face of it, retaining walls are uninteresting structures that hold back soil from garden beds to hills. But when you look deeper and peer behind the facade, you will realize that retaining walls are more complex than meets the eye.

Retaining walls are designed to resist the lateral pressures that act on soil. By building a retaining wall, you can manipulate the slope or the height of the ground and create usable space on top of or below the retaining wall. However, gravity causes the retained material to move forward and slope downward. These lateral pressures – typically smallest at the top of the wall and increasing toward the bottom – push the retaining wall forward and may overturn a poorly designed wall. Generally, retaining walls have four separate but intertwined components: the foundation, the load-bearing element, the drainage field, and the facade. Each of the four components is critical to the wall’s structural integrity and longevity, so you should consider its design carefully.

If your proposed retaining wall is less than 1 meter tall, the materials available for construction are endless, from discarded tires to reinforced poured concrete. However, the taller the retaining wall, the more factors you need to consider when designing your wall. In the list of articles below, we will address the general steps you should take before and during the construction of your retaining wall. We will also cover the methods and components that affect the structural integrity of a retaining wall.

If you need to replace a retaining wall over three feet tall, contact us today for a free consultation. We will happily provide you with a customized design plan. We are fully equipped to service commercial and residential clients in Hamilton, Burlington, Oakville, Mississauga, Etobicoke, Toronto, & the surrounding areas.

  1. So, you need a retaining wall; what now?
  2. Is your retaining wall in an area regulated by a Conservation Authority?
  3. How to choose the right Retaining Wall Design and save money in the long run.
  4. How to pick the right products for your retaining wall design.
  5. How to choose the right precast block and why it matters (a lot).
  6. How to select the right Retaining Wall Contractor.
  7. What is a Gravity Retaining Wall, and when should you NOT build one?
  8. What is a Reinforced Retaining Wall?
  9. What is a Soldier-Pile Retaining Wall, and when should you consider using one.
  10. What is a Slope Stability Assessment, and do you need one for your retaining wall project?
  11. What is the Failure Plane, and how can it cause your retaining wall to fail?
  12. What is the Sliding Wedge Theory, and why is it a core principle of retaining wall construction?
  13. What is Geogrid, and how does Geo-grid strengthen retaining walls?
  14. What are Helical Piles, and how do they contribute to retaining wall construction?
  15. What are Caissons, and how can they help you build an indestructible retaining wall?
  16. How to install proper drainage behind a retaining wall and why it’s crucial for the longevity of your retaining wall.
  17. Load surcharges, how they can ruin your retaining wall.


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