Concrete Contractors

Concrete Retaining Walls

concrete retaining walls

Concrete retaining walls are sturdy, long-lasting, and complement the architectural elements of modern homes. Professionals at are often built in place of more costly and complicated poured wall systems.

Unlike poured walls, blocks allow for various design features and are simple to install. Block walls can be laid to a height of up to 10 feet.

Retaining walls add value to your property and can be a smart investment. They help stabilize soil, reduce erosion, and prevent problems with landscaping and structures like your home’s foundation. However, the price of retaining walls can vary greatly depending on the size and style of wall you’re building. The best way to get a cost estimate is to speak with a contractor.

The terrain where you’re building your retaining wall will also affect its cost. If the ground is sloped, your contractors may need to perform extra excavation to terrace the slope and build a safe retaining wall. This can increase your project’s cost by up to 50%.

Another factor is the type of material you choose for your retaining wall. Steel and railroad ties are more expensive than concrete blocks, bricks or poured concrete. Shipping fees can also add to the cost of these materials. In addition, a retaining wall with an exposed face of Corten steel can be extremely costly to install.

When choosing the material for your retaining wall, it’s important to consider its longevity and durability. Brick and cinder block retain walls can last for decades and are often the most budget-friendly options. However, poured concrete is more durable and long-lasting than brick or cinder block, making it an excellent choice for high-performance retaining walls.

You can also save money by limiting the height of your retaining wall. A retaining wall over four feet tall will require the services of a structural engineer, which can drive up the cost of your project. You can also reduce your costs by using a mixture of materials for your retaining wall. For example, some homeowners use a poured concrete face with railroad ties or stone for the rest of the wall.

No matter what type of retaining wall you choose, it’s important to include a drainage system in your design. This will help prevent hydrostatic pressure, which can cause the wall to collapse. In addition, a good drainage system will help reduce the need for tiebacks and other reinforcements, which can lower your overall retaining wall cost.


Retaining walls are built to resist the pressure of earth that would otherwise destroy landscaping and structures in the area. The strength and durability of a wall depends on the type of material used, its construction method and how it is maintained. Concrete blocks are the most common retaining wall material. They are inexpensive, durable and easy to install. They can also be customized with decorative features like flagstones or bricks. However, there are a number of other materials that can be used for retaining walls including wood planks, timber and poured masonry. Wood walls have the advantage of looking natural and complementing landscapes, but are prone to rot and can be a favorite food for termites.

Poured masonry walls made of cement, stone or brick are more expensive than block retaining walls but offer superior durability. They are also more stable than tiered systems and can be designed with curves or steps. They can be reinforced with steel to provide increased strength and stability. However, these types of retaining walls require a more substantial footing and are usually only recommended for very large retaining walls.

Concrete block retaining walls can be built by home owners with basic DIY skills, but larger projects should be left to professionals who are familiar with local building codes and engineering considerations. The design of a retaining wall is particularly important for slopes near bodies of water, where specialized drainage systems may be required to prevent flooding or erosion.

If a retaining wall is not properly constructed, it can be damaged by soil erosion or even collapse. Erosion can cause holes in the face of a wall that reduce its ability to support soil, while excessive ground movement or pressure can crack and deform the structure. Using proper excavation techniques, installing a sturdy footing and adding drain gates are key to ensuring the longevity of any retaining wall.

Routine maintenance can help ensure the longevity of a concrete retaining wall. Regular inspections can catch signs of damage early and prevent them from getting worse. Typically, the most significant cause of a retaining wall’s failure is soil saturation with water. This can increase the pressure on the wall, make it more difficult to maintain its height and can wear away at the blocks or concrete. Increasing the capacity of drainage systems or installing permeable soils can alleviate these problems.

Ease of Installation

When it comes to constructing a retaining wall, there are several methods to choose from. One of the most popular is concrete block walls, which are very easy to install and come in a wide variety of colors and textures. These walls are also durable and will withstand years of use. They are ideal for both residential and commercial landscapes, as well as a range of architectural styles.

A retaining wall is a great way to control erosion, level a hillside, create a garden, or simply add a seating area. They can be built in a weekend by any do-it-yourselfer with the right tools and experience. To get started, dig out a space for the footings and remove soil at least a foot behind the desired location of the retaining wall. This will give you the space you need to add soil back into place once the retaining wall is finished.

Next, mark the path of your wall from a solid reference point, such as a house corner or another landscaping feature. This will help you plan your retaining wall and ensure that it is constructed correctly. Use a level string line to draw a straight line that will serve as the guide for your wall. Finally, excavate the footings to a depth below the frost line and install drainage and backfill soil.

Once the footings are prepared, you can begin laying out your retaining wall blocks. It is important to follow all local building codes when constructing a retaining wall. You will also want to make sure that your wall is engineered properly, and that the base and slab are tied together to lower the effects of forceful impact.

You can use a hammer and chisel to knock the flange off each block you’ll be using for your first course. This will allow each block to sit more evenly on the ground and ensure that your retaining wall is perfectly even. Once each block is in place, lay it and check with your carpenter’s level to make sure that it lies perfectly straight both left-to-right and front-to-back. Repeat the process until your retaining wall is as tall as you want it to be.


As with any building component, retaining walls require regular visual inspections to monitor and address issues. This includes observing for cracks, shifting or leaning, erosion problems and the condition of landscaping on either side. It also means ensuring that the wall has proper drainage and checking for any water pooling at the base of the wall, which could weaken the structure.

Concrete retaining walls are an excellent option for resolving soil erosion and sloping land problems on properties, and are particularly useful in preventing sinkholes that can affect homes. They also provide a great aesthetic and can be designed to complement the overall landscape design of any property. They are also very durable and can last for a long time, and can withstand even the harshest weather conditions.

When planning to construct a retaining wall, you will want to hire an experienced contractor with the right tools and equipment for the job. This will ensure that the work is completed in a timely manner and according to industry standards. A reputable contractor will also use high-quality materials, including steel and concrete, to build a strong and stable structure.

Before construction begins, it is important to prepare the area for work by removing any existing plants, top soil or debris that could be in the way of the new retaining wall. This is referred to as grubbing. The site must then be graded and leveled in order to create a stable foundation for the wall.

Following this step, the retaining wall must be constructed using an appropriate mix of concrete and steel reinforcement. The construction process can take several weeks, and once it is finished, the concrete will need to cure for at least two weeks before you can start landscaping.

While your retaining wall is curing, it is important not to plant any flowers or shrubs near it, as these can cause damage to the concrete. It is also a good idea to avoid using salt-related de-icing products around the wall, as they can lead to erosion issues and damage the concrete.

Once the retaining wall is complete, it is important to regularly inspect it for any signs of movement or shifting. You should also check the drainage system, as any clogs in this will impact the performance of the entire retaining wall system. Finally, you should replace any eroded areas of the landscaping, as this will help to keep the wall stable and protect it from further damage.