How to Build a Retaining Wall

With many types of building solutions on the market, it could be difficult to know what option would suit your needs, whether you are building temporary storage or a retaining wall. In this blog, we at PPC Concrete Products will be answering the question, ‘How to build a 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.

What is a Retaining wall?

A retaining wall is a structure designed to restrain soil 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.

There are a variety of blocks or gabion baskets that can be used to secure a retaining wall. Though another viable and time-efficient method that can be used is interlocking concrete blocks.

The function of the retaining wall is in the name, it retains its content (soil) 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.

How far can a wall lean without falling?

For the sake of safety, walls should not be leaning in any direction to any degree unless it was specifically made this way.

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.

And more.

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

How to build a retaining wall

The first factor before building an interlocking 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.

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.

Within this article we have made multiple mentions of using interlocking concrete blocks to make your retaining wall, below we will offer an explanation of this reliable and affordable building option that we offer.

The cheapest way to build a retaining wall

Ultimately, in the short term, the cost is completely dependent on the scale of the project. But manpower, equipment & supplies will be factors to consider, so we suggest contacting us for a more accurate price if you are considering using interlocking concrete blocks for your retaining wall.

That being said, in the long term, interlocking concrete blocks provide a heavy load bearing option that is also more resistant to weather conditions than wood. Even with protection, wood can degrade over time, especially outside being exposed to seasonal weather changes.

The likelihood of having to repair or refit a wood retaining wall is slightly higher, so on this basis, we would say that generally, a concrete retaining wall is cheaper than wood, especially if we consider the possible long-term costs.

If you want a simple and efficient method, Interlocking concrete blocks is the way to go. Below, we explain the building of a retaining wall using our blocks.

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.

Other concrete providers may offer “concrete Lego blocks” The differences between the two aside from their names are nominal. The functionality is the same, and the only variants will be the sizes, amount of studs/recesses or styles, such as the ‘rock face’ option we offer.

Other suppliers may offer alternative styles and sizes than us and as a result, you may be paying a premium price for it.

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, saving you money and time
  • 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
  • Flood protection
  • Push walls
  • Security barriers
  • Segregation bays i.e recycling centres
  • Retaining walls
  • Industrial buildings
  • Fire breaks
  • Counterweights
  • Roadblocks

And much more.

Contact PPC Concrete Products today

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 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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