Retaining walls are made to hold earth in place and to overcome vertical slopes and make them functional. They serve multiple purposes: land and homeowners use them for additional space (sometimes for aesthetic purposes, too), while civil engineers use them to make roads easier to navigate through.
But basically, no matter the purpose for which they are created, retaining walls are in a constant battle with gravity- and over time, they are certain to acquire cracks and holes, and eventually give way to the earth. So you must be wondering: when that time comes, how will you be able to address it? Here are a few tips on repairing retaining walls:
What you shouldn’t do
Don’t ignore signs of damage. As the old adage goes, prevention is better than cure. If you see signs of damage early on, have it checked by an expert immediately. Not only does this save you cash, but effort and stress, too!
These are the signs that your retaining wall already needs fixing:
Don’t remove the retaining wall. This is a common mistake most landowners do. In most cases, only segments of the wall need intervention. So unless an expert told you to take it all down, think twice!
Don’t do it all by yourself. Although repairing a retaining walls seems pretty easy to do on your own, there’s actually a lot more factors and technicalities to consider- earth retention, soil compaction, water drainage, structural support, and the like. So unless you’re familiar with all these, it’s always best to consult an expert who specializes in soil stabilization and/or foundation repair.
What you should do
Take good care of your retaining wall. Even though retaining walls are designed to be low maintenance, giving it a bit of attention won’t hurt. Regularly check for cracks and always clear out the weep holes (these are the holes that allow water to drain through the wall base).
Read up on the different types of retaining walls. If you still wish to do the repairing yourself, know that different walls call for different repairs. For example:
Check the height of your wall and how steep your slope is. This goes back to consulting an expert before doing anything on your own, as retaining walls higher than three feet need to be checked first for soil strength and slope stability. Also, constructing high retaining walls might require building permits in some places, so check with your local authorities!
Invest in quality materials. As a part of your land, treat retaining walls as an investment, too. Sacrificing the quality of materials for a few extra bills may only cause you more problems in the future.
And that’s pretty much all the do’s and don’ts in repairing a retaining wall. Now that you have all these tips in mind, your retaining wall will surely last you a while!