Poured Concrete Retaining Walls

Poured concrete walls are a great way to improve the appearance of your landscape. They can also provide added support and stability for your landscape. A concrete retaining wall is an excellent choice to protect your property from soil erosion, landslides, and other soil-related issues.

Poured walls are easy to use and can be painted to any color, and a stone or brick veneer or stucco can be added as desired. Poured concrete can be used for creating either gravity or cantilever walls, although Xpress Engineering provides designs for only the more popular cantilever retaining wall style.

Poured concrete retaining wall

Poured concrete walls are very strong and durable, and can also be used to create decorative features like curved walls or terraced gardens. After pouring the concrete for your retaining wall, be sure to allow time for curing before removing it from the molds. Concrete is versatile enough for use in various shapes, sizes, and applications.

You can also paint concrete retaining walls to match the surrounding landscape. A veneer of stone or bricks is another option to improve its appearance.

Concrete Block Walls

Other Materials Used to Build Retaining Walls

In creating a concrete structure that is properly poured, various types of materials and reinforcement can optionally be used to keep the wall in place, particularly for very high or difficult situations. The most common types of materials used for retaining walls are:

Cinder Block or Interlocking Concrete Block Walls

Both cinder blocks and interlocking concrete blocks (often called CMU’s, or Concrete Masonry Units) are easy to use and come in various sizes, shapes, and colors.

Benefits Of Poured Concrete Retaining Walls

Now let’s talk about the advantages that poured concrete can provide:

Durability

Durability is one of the most important things when choosing the right material for your walls. It is a very strong and durable that can last a very long time.

Water, Rot, and Pest Resistant

Concrete is also resistant to water, rot, and pests.

Aesthetics

It wall can be stained or painted in any color you want. It means that you can easily match it with the theme of your landscaping design. You can also add texture or pattern to create a unique look.

Functionality

We can use poured concrete walls to create various functional features, such as curved walls, terraced gardens, or waterfalls. It means you can easily find a way to achieve your desired landscape design. We can also include a drainage system within or immediately behind a poured wall.

Cost-Effectiveness

Concrete retaining wall construction is very cost-effective. Concrete walls are are easy to build, require little maintenance over the long-term, and unexpected repairs are rare. As a result, you can save additional money due to lower long-term maintenance costs.

Easy Maintenance

You can easily maintain poured concrete retaining walls, because they are very easy to clean and there is very little that can go wrong with them.

Challenges for Concrete Retaining Walls

Some landscape contractors in areas of heavy rainfall, weather or frost line extremes avoid poured concrete work due to its challenges. When a concrete wall fails, it’s essentially over. You have to build a new wall to replace it.

Cracks can sometimes be a significant problem. Yes, you can patch them, but it’s not easy to do. Generally the entire wall is considered a loss if there is no long term fix for major cracks.

However, poured concrete retaining wall usage is growing, especially in mild climate areas such as Southern California, where modern design has brought a new wave of interest in this type of retaining wall.

Importance of Using Skilled Concrete Contractors

It’s also very important to use skilled concrete contractors. The forms have to be very clean. Otherwise you may risk a wave or bulge in the wall. Where strict geometric shapes are desired, this kind of variation can be a major issue.

Also, the concrete itself has to be tamped correctly if you want your wall to have a smooth surface. That can be difficult to do with retaining walls because there is so much rebar steel inside, generally tied into large footings.

FAQ’s for Poured Concrete Retaining Walls

Generally, yes. Overall, concrete walls typically cost about 20% less than cinder block walls. This is partially because the formwork for a poured wall is reusable, while the formwork for a block wall must be rebuilt for every wall. Additionally, less labor is required to pour a wall than to build one from CMU’s or cinder blocks.

The thickness of a concrete wall varies depending on the height of the wall. For example, a retaining wall 4 feet tall would require a base thickness of at least 12 inches. Similarly, a retaining wall 6 feet tall would need to be at least 18 inches thick at the base. In all cases, the base thickness should be 1/8th of the total height of the retaining wall. Designs provided by Xpress Engineering will indicate recommended wall thicknesses.

Most experts consider poured concrete walls to be better than cinder block or CMU retaining walls in terms of strength and durability. The primary reason is that the foundation of poured concrete is generally much stronger than a cinder block wall. That’s because we can reinforce poured concrete with steel rebar, which significantly increases its strength.

Whichever material you choose for your retaining wall, keep in mind that most local building codes require an engineering design for any retaining wall of four feet or more in height. And even for shorter walls, a design from a trained structural engineer is highly recommended to insure the security and longevity of your wall.

We can provide a certified engineer design for you within 24 hours for just $350 in most cases. Submit your Design Request here, or contact us if you have any questions or unique requirements.

Professional Engineering Retaining Wall Design – Fast and Affordable

Whichever material you choose for your retaining wall, keep in mind that most local building codes require an engineering design for any retaining wall of 4 feet or more in height. And even for shorter walls, a design from a trained structural engineer is highly recommended to insure the security and longevity of your wall.

We can provide a certified engineer design for you within 24 hours for just $350. Submit your Design Request here, or contact us if you have any questions or unique requirements.