Owning a home comes with a lot of responsibility. Everything from standard maintenance to adding curb appeal to your home. When it comes to gardening and enhancing your home’s curb appeal a retaining wall could be perfect. The moment the wall goes up and the soil, plants, and trees look so perfect is an exciting time. However, keep in mind that over time, items like retaining walls can buckle under pressure. If this occurs, you will want to call a professional wall retention company as they will know how to fix a retaining wall? Two options for retaining wall repair are demolishing and rebuilding, or hiring a retaining wall specialist.
Let’s take a look below at what’s involved and why a retaining wall would fail.
What Is A Retaining Wall?
The most basic explanation for what a retaining wall is would be a wood, concrete block, or rock wall built to hold back the soil that is on a sloped surface. The main purpose is to keep the soil between two different elevations that exist in the landscape from overlapping and creating a larger slope. They are structurally engineered walls meant to retain soil. Doing this creates additional curb appeal to a home and allows the homeowner added space to plant trees, shrubs, and flowers.
Why Do They Fail?
Believe it or not, there are a few reasons why your retaining wall could fail. Hiring the right contractor is vital to the long-term success of your retaining wall. Let’s take a look below at what those reasons might be.
- Poor drainage – If your retaining wall is installed without a strong drainage system, then water will get trapped and create an increase in pressure against the wall. Keep in mind that the heavier the soil, the harder the wall has to work. Be sure to drill extra weep holes in the wall and consider re-grading the area around the wall to keep the water flowing away from the retaining wall.
- Unexpected load pressure – Installing a shed or parking a vehicle on top of the landscaping that is being supported by a retaining wall is not a good idea. Most structural engineers take into account the load-bearing needs of the wall when an installation occurs. If added support is needed, an engineer would install anchors and tiebacks as well as pour a concrete collar at the footing to keep the base thicker and stronger.
- Foundation issues – Having a firm foundation is necessary for the retaining wall to be successful. Keeping the soil compact once the wall has been built is key. Before starting your wall, be sure to conduct an inspection of the soil, climate, and terrain that you are attempting to support. This will determine what materials will work best to stabilize the wall.
- Poor construction – Hiring the cheapest contractor is not always a good idea. Check with your contractor for experience and knowledge of the installation of retaining walls. The use of cheap materials and improper steel reinforcement placements will ensure that your wall fails.
If you want to keep your retaining wall from failing, ensure that your contractor uses helical tiebacks and helical anchors to keep the retaining wall failure at a minimum.
Other Recommended Maintenance
Now that you know how to repair a retaining wall you might want to also look into landscaping that keeps water away from your home. Retaining walls are great for re-organizing your landscaping and curb appeal. However, be sure that drains are installed properly to assist in keeping water away from your home.
Next, consider reading up on how to fix negative grading. This could be a solution that comes before installing a retaining wall. You want to give your home the best chance at keeping water away from your foundation.
Lastly, keeping water away from your home ensures that mold is not likely to take over. Mold loves damp and moisture-filled locations in your home. If you cannot keep water away from your home, you will likely end up needing mold remedation.
When Do I Call A Professional?
Dealing with a failing retaining wall can be rather frustrating. This is not a project that can be fixed overnight. There are only a couple of options to make this repair. Demolishing the wall and starting over is usually not what a homeowner is thinking. Just the idea of the craftsmanship going to the garbage can is rather disheartening. However, consulting a professional contractor with retaining wall experience is your best bet. Also, consider hiring your local home inspection team to inspect the grading around your home and ensure that the flow of water is going to drain properly away from the foundation of your home.
When it comes to retaining walls, hiring the right contractor is key. You want to invest in a professional company that has a lot of experience installing retaining walls. If you live in a coastal area, hiring a company with sea wall experience is also a great idea. Keeping up with building codes, the soil, and climate in your area, and curb appeal desires should all be areas followed by your retaining wall contractor. Before investing too much, reach out to your local home inspection team to determine areas where a retaining wall makes sense. Making sure that the retaining wall will keep water away from your foundation is key. Reach out to Advantage Inspections to have your landscaping inspected during a full home inspection here in West Central, Florida.