What do Retaining Walls refers to?
Retaining walls are the structure that holds or retains soil behind it. There are many types of materials that can be used to create retaining walls like concrete blocks, poured concrete, treated timbers, rocks or boulders. Some are easy to use, others have a shorter life span, but all can retain soil.
Gravity Wall or Geogrid Reinforced Wall?
Several questions must be considered in order to build the proper type of retaining wall. As an example, is the soil sand, clay, or something in between? What is above the wall? is it a driveway or something heavier like a pool? Will the ground above or below the wall be level or sloped? What is the height of the wall? All of these factors will determine whether you will need a Gravity Retaining Wall or a Geogrid Reinforced Retaining Wall.
Gravity retaining walls are walls that depend on their own weight and setback to retain the soil and are typically shorter in height. retaining walls are ideal for this type of wall, because as they are stacked together they lock into place to form a setback. This setback helps the wall support the pressure from the soils behind it.
Reinforced retaining walls are walls that use some type of reinforcement to give more strength to the retaining wall structure, thus improving its ability to retain the soils behind it. For SRW’s (Segmental Retaining Walls), we refer to this reinforcement as geogrid or grid. Geogrid is placed between courses of blocks in the wall and rolled back into the slope or hillside during installation to create a stronger and more stable soil mass. In layman’s terms, the blocks, the geogrid and the reinforced soil mass work together to make one large, heavy retaining wall structure. Sometimes grid is not a usable solution on a project due to space or other site conditions, so alternative reinforcement materials need to be used – such as no-fines concrete, soil nails or earth anchors. These types of reinforcement typically require a local engineer for the design and a certified contractor for the installation