Wood retaining walls remain a popular choice amongst homeowners for good reason. They’re relatively inexpensive, and they have natural good looks. They are also surprisingly durable. If you make the right choices and look after your retaining walls, a wood retaining wall will give you twenty years of service or more.
Drainage – a Crucial Element
Efficient drainage is a crucial element in the construction of any retaining wall. The weight of the water collecting behind the wall can create insurmountable horizontal pressure, destroying the wall.
With wood retaining walls, water is often an even bigger problem as wood can rot when exposed to water over the medium to long term.
Protecting Your Wood Retaining Wall
A professionally built wood retaining wall should not be vulnerable to rot caused by moisture for the following reasons:
- Drainage – a trained retaining wall engineer will take care of drainage issues above and behind the wall. They will ensure that water doesn’t get trapped behind the wall or in stagnant pools above or below it.
- Pressure treated wood – pressure treated wood is chemically treated to prevent mold and wood rot. Pressure treated wood is graded, and a trained builder will know to choose an earth-to-wood contact grade.
- Waterproof sheeting – some wood retaining walls are also lined with waterproof sheeting on the backfill side of the wall for added protection against water damage.
- Foundation drainage – ensures that water runs away from the wood retaining wall when it does rain. In some cases, a French drain directs water away from the wall. Unlike concrete walls, wood retaining walls don’t have weep holes. Holes in the wood create vulnerabilities where wood rot could start. The chemical treatment protecting the wood doesn’t penetrate the timber completely, so avoid holes at all costs.
Built to Last
There is no reason why wood retaining walls can’t last for decades. Still, you must take precautions upfront to ensure that it is properly designed and built to last. Call Xpress Engineering for quick and inexpensive engineering designs for wood retaining wall.