You have probably seen a retaining wall going down the road, in someone’s garden, or at a local farm. There are often retaining walls on river banks, at the beach, and even on the border of many people’s ponds. Retaining walls are an amazing piece of engineering that helps keep the soil on a slope from falling into the road or onto another part of the terrain. They help prevent soil erosion, destruction of plant life and more. Hillside farming and overpasses on the roadway are two of the most common areas where retaining walls are built. Though there is one common use for a retaining wall, there are several different types of retaining walls. In this article, we will review the different types of retaining walls and what they are used for in the world. A good retaining wall designer chooses the right type of wall for the terrain and needs of the project.
Timber Retaining Walls
Though timber is common, timber retaining walls are not the first option for engineers. Why? Well, timber retaining walls tend to fail quickly. They do not typically have any anchor on the ground, making them weaker than other options. Timber also tends to be weak in some places and stronger in others. Since soil can become heavy when wet and shift, timber does not adequately hold back a load of earth as strongly as other options. Usually, timber retaining walls are short, since they pose quickly a bit of risk for failure in a short amount of time. Timber retaining walls are also older options, meaning they are used less often today than in the past.
Gabion Retaining Walls
Usually seen near rivers or lakes, gabion retaining walls do an excellent job of helping prevent erosion of the soil banks and prevent any degradation of the slope near the body of water. The gabion retaining walls are built with a wire basket that is filled with large rocks on site. The wall is then built with multiple rock baskets to create a natural look that helps prevent erosion. These walls are typically strong, though they are not often used in a residential area. They do effectively hold back the soil from eroding into the river, lake, or pond, though.
Earth Stabilizing Mechanical Retaining Walls
The most common option for retaining walls is the earth stabilizing option. Typically, these are made with a variety of designs including shapes, colors, and patterns. These walls are often made to blend in naturally with the surroundings by adding trees, grass, and architectural additions. Usually, these walls are perfect for homes since they can be created to use as a family area in the backyard while still being just as functional as before. Engineers choose these walls often because they hold up better than some, they retain the soil as they should, and they are economical for both the engineers and the families or businesses using them.
Natural Stone Retaining Walls
Just like timber, natural stone is not the first option for engineers. The stones most often used for these retaining walls are made from a softer stone that is prone to cracking, splitting, or breaking. When this happens, it leads to failure, and they tend to fail within just a few years of being built. Some natural stone walls are made with a mix of softer and harder stone, but these are rare. Usually, engineers steer clear of these retaining walls. These retaining walls are older designs as well, making them similar to the timber retaining walls mentioned at the start of the article.
Sheet Piling Retaining Walls
Sheet piling is most often found in areas like harbors, ports, or oceanic areas. These walls are useful because they require a bit of the sheeting material to place into the ground, which holds better in sandy areas. Usually, these types of retaining walls are used for temporary fixes, though some places use them permanently. They are effective because the ripple in the sheeting material has a great amount of strength to help hold sand and soil in place in case of any emergencies. Sheet piling is often made from a variety of materials from wooden poles to metal poles. You most often see these retaining walls at the beach.
Retaining walls are incredible. They have been created by engineers everywhere to help with soil erosion, mudslides, and more. Retaining walls come in all shapes, sizes, color, materials, and patterns. There is no limit to the options for those needing a retaining wall built. Before you get started, you should talk with a professional to ensure that you are getting the right materials, building the wall the right way, and more. If you prefer, it is always easier to hire a professional to build your retaining wall for you because they will know the best type of retaining wall for you. These are common in the world today, and they are extremely useful. It is always important to know which type of retaining wall is the right one for your needs.