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, ‘Should I put gravel behind my retaining wall?’
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 are a popular and effective option to use in order to help create your retaining wall, but first, let us explain a little about what a retaining wall is.
Retaining walls explained
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 a road by a small hill.
A variety of blocks, materials or gabion baskets can be used to secure a retaining wall. Though another viable and time-efficient method that can be used is interlocking concrete blocks.
If you want a simple and efficient method, Interlocking concrete blocks is the way to go. You do not need to fill a retaining wall when using our interlocking concrete blocks. Below, we explain the building of a retaining wall using our blocks.
Building a basic 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, or whatever material you choose, 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 understand retaining walls can come in different lengths, shapes sizes and for clients who have different needs. So to show you our abilities and expertise, we have a review for you to read that highlights and reviews a job we did for JO Transport.
Should I put gravel behind my retaining wall?
Yes, gravel is a good option to have to optimise the drainage of your retaining wall. A retaining wall should contain a level of drainage in order to stop the consolidation of water in the soil that may already be too wet, if there is no drainage available in a retaining wall it can result in bulges and damage to the wall over time.
There should be ideally a foot of space between the wall and soil, with the space being filled with gravel alongside drainage piping along the inside, or backfilled at the bottom of the wall. Weep holes also help to facilitate proper drainage of a retaining wall.
Is sand or gravel better for backfill?
In this circumstance, gravel is the better option, this is because gravel does not retain water, whereas sand will collect the water and become almost mud-like after a certain amount of water.
Water will not be able to travel through the sand in the same way it can with the gravel and is therefore inferior to gravel for backfill.
Interlocking concrete blocks
Interlocking concrete blocks present a brilliant alternative for creating your retaining wall, let us tell you a bit about them.
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
- 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 at PPC Concrete products 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
And much more.
PPC Concrete block options
If you are interested in using our interlocking concrete blocks for your latest project, you should know that we have some options available to you in terms of style and type.
The way our blocks are made is by having a casting of the dimensions mentioned below and depending on the option chosen, the cast is then filled with concrete. Each block has a Lifting pin anchor system embedded in the concrete at the point of casting – this is how the blocks are moved once the concrete is set.
After setting, the cast is then removed and the blocks are transported to their destination.
we offer the option for your block to be:
- Standard Blocks
- Flat Top Standard Blocks
- Rock Face Block
- Rock Face Flat Top Block
To view what these options look like, take a look at our gallery.
Here are our size options:
- 300 x 600 x 600
- 600 x 600 x 600
- 900 x 600 x 600
- 1200 x 600 x 600
- 1500 x 600 x 600
- 1800 x 600 x 600
- 400 x 800 x 800
- 800 x 800 x 800
- 1200 x 800 x 800
- 1600 x 800 x 800
Half and thirds of the sizes displayed are also offered with your order if needed.
In regard to the weight of the blocks, it will vary from size to size, and from the concrete being used. But as an example, an 1800 x 600 x 600 concrete block can weigh 1560 kg, this can fluctuate as different types of concrete have different levels of density.
Although it is almost impossible to move these without heavy machinery, the weight of these blocks serves to reassure you of their stability.
Get in touch with PPC Concrete Products today
In this article, we hope to have answered the question ‘Should I put gravel behind my 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.
The Old Gasworks,