How to Build a Reinforced Concrete Retaining Wall

How to Build a Reinforced Concrete Retaining Wall

Building a retaining wall can be a long and complicated process, but did you know there is a time-efficient way to get all the benefits of a retaining wall hardly any hassle? In this blog, we at PPC Concrete Products will be answering the question, ‘How to build a reinforced concrete retaining wall’

Retaining walls are vital in order to organise land in order for development or to make it safer in a populated area, knowing how to build a retaining wall can be key for those who have the resources, or for those seeking to make alterations to their own land.

With the necessity of time and cost-efficient building solutions being needed, as construction output in Great Britain has seen an increase, alternatives to traditional brick-and-mortar builds are required for those looking to save time and money. Interlocking concrete blocks present an alternative to some construction, including retaining walls.

Retaining walls explained

Interlocking Concrete Blocks vs. Concrete Barriers

A retaining wall is a structure designed to restrain or land to a slope it would not naturally keep to. A retaining wall could be built in order to organise land in public places or around your own home. A retaining wall can also help to level any land that is on a slant or hill.

In terms of what can be used for a retaining wall, there are many options including gabion baskets, wood and metal, though it can be argued that the easiest and cost effective method would be interlocking concrete blocks.

The function of the retaining wall is in the name, it retains its content within a wall, and retaining walls are often used to alter the level of the land it is erected on, which usually means the land goes from being uneven, to even.

Want to know more? Click here for an in-depth look at retaining walls.

Can a retaining wall be leaning?

Unless this is the intended choice, then no. As a retaining wall is holding the weight of the land behind it, any leaning could signify the wall isn’t strong enough to support the weight. Eventually, a retaining wall that is leaning will topple over due to gravity.

What makes a retaining wall lean?

When a retaining wall starts to lean it can be due to a number of things including

  • Insufficient drainage, this causes additional weight to be added to the wall.
  • The wall’s material has become weak due to degradation over time.
  • External damage/purposely manipulating the wall.
  • Weak foundations or structure
  • Using sub-quality materials when constructing the wall
  • Natural changes in the environment that can happen over time.

We advise that as soon as you notice your retaining wall leaning, contact your construction professional to rectify this immediately, delaying this can lead to the wall falling, possibly causing injury and costing you more money to rectify.

Interlocking concrete blocks can be the most easiest and effective method when it comes to setting up a retaining wall, let us tell you some more about them.

What is an Interlocking concrete block?

As building regulations came into being in England, the requirement of having fireproof dwellings was compulsory, this was achieved by subsequent houses being made of stone and brick. Interlocking concrete blocks present a modern alternative.

Interlocking concrete blocks are a unique form of pre-cast concrete blocks that are designed to hold together by using pre-measured studs and recesses. Built with unique profiles and features, which allow them to fit perfectly into each other without the use of any mortar. Instead, the cementitious blocks simply snap together with each other.

Depending on the size of the block that is chosen will affect the number of studs that are on the block. In regards to the sizing, interlocking concrete blocks don’t need mortar to be held in place. This means the speed of building is improved, whilst using less manpower.

The advantages of interlocking concrete blocks

  • Longer lasting and more durable than a Gabion basket
  • Quicker and less hassle to install
  • No need for mortar
  • No need for steel reinforcement or shuttering
  • Resistant to extreme weather conditions
  • Fire-resistant properties, mitigating the spread of fire depending on the structure
  • Little maintenance required
  • Often, no foundation is needed before installing
  • Sound resistant
  • Sustainable
  • Ability to stack them upon each other
  • Flexibility in sizes
  • Appropriate for temporary and/or permanent buildings
  • Unlikely to be displaced due to the interlocking function
  • Can be moved with standard lifting equipment

What are interlocking concrete blocks used for?

As we supply interlocking concrete blocks, we can share with you what they are used for.

  • Material Storage bays
  • Blast walls
  • Salt stores
  • Crash protection
  • Push walls
  • Security barriers
  • Segregation bays i.e recycling centres
  • Retaining walls
  • Industrial buildings
  • Fire breaks
  • Counterweights
  • Roadblocks

And much more.

With that explanation, let us now tell you how to build a reinforced concrete retaining wall.

How to build a reinforced concrete retaining wall

Retaining walls explained

The first factor before building a retaining wall is determining the depth of the foundations otherwise known as the footings. If the soil is firm and well-drained, 300mm should be enough. Alternatively, if the soil is not as firm and unstable, 450mm would be suitable. (This will vary depending on the need for the foundation, size, project etc).

After the foundation has been measured, made and set, placement of the concrete blocks can take place to the desired height.

As there is no need for mortar or any binding facilitation, interlocking the blocks via stacking so their studs and recesses connect will be more than enough to guarantee a stable structure. This is what makes the concrete retaining wall ‘reinforced’

We must highlight that this is a very basic outlining of how to create a retaining wall using our Interlocking Concrete Blocks. We cannot account for all of the varying factors that may occur in the area you want to build your retaining wall. We strongly advise you to seek the advice & services of professionals before making any commitments. Alternatively, you can contact us directly for the best guidance.

Is a concrete retaining wall better than a wooden retaining wall?

Absolutely, the reason for this is that wood is generally weaker, it is susceptible to fire in dry conditions, not to mention rotting and general wear and tear. It can be broken with enough force applied, water also affects it over time.

On the other hand, concrete is weatherproof, resistant to fire and takes a much larger show of force to damage it. Additionally, depending on when you receive the concrete blocks, they may actually become more resilient structurally as concrete is known to cure over time.

Although the only issue with concrete is water retention, you must be sure to have a proper drainage system set up on your retaining wall to experience all the benefits that come with a retaining wall made with interlocking concrete blocks.

These factors clearly show that concrete is not only longer lasting but more resistant to external factors.

Contact PPC Concrete Products today

Interlocking Concrete Blocks explained

As an established supplier all over the UK, PPC Concrete Products is always happy to help, which is why we encourage you to get in touch with any questions you may have or take a look at our FAQ.

In this article, we hope to have answered the question ‘How to build a reinforced concrete retaining wall’ Whilst also providing extra information in regard to construction and the benefits of interlocking concrete blocks.

Take a read of our case studies to truly understand how we have provided solutions for business in the past with the use of our interlocking concrete blocks, and ultimately, how we can help you today.

Read our blog page for more insights into our passion, construction.


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