Explore top Retaining Wall Materials for homeowners, including timber, mortared stone, poured concrete, and interlocking blocks to enhance your property.
What are the different types of retaining wall materials?
Timber Retaining Walls
Timber retaining wall materials are popular among homeowners due to their affordability and ease of installation. They can be made from stacked timbers, 6x6s, or pressure-treated timber. While they may not last as long as other materials, regular maintenance can help extend their lifespan.
Stacked Timbers for a Rustic Appearance
Consider using stacked timbers if you're looking for a rustic appearance in your retaining wall. This option is visually appealing and relatively easy to construct by stacking the wood pieces on top of each other and securing them with rebar or spikes.
Pressure-Treated Timber for Added Durability
Pressure-treated timber is another excellent option that offers added durability compared to untreated wood. It's treated with chemicals that resist rotting and insect damage, ensuring your retaining wall will withstand soil and tons and stand firm against the elements over time.
Mortared Stone Retaining Walls
Mortared stone retaining walls offer an attractive and durable option for investing in a longer-lasting solution. These walls require skilled masonry work but provide excellent stability and strength when properly constructed with the right footing.
Aesthetically Pleasing Natural Stone Look
One of the main advantages of mortared stone retaining walls is their natural beauty. Using various types, shapes, and colors of stones can create a unique appearance that blends seamlessly into your landscape design while providing essential support to prevent soil erosion.
Requires Professional Masonry Expertise
While some homeowners may attempt building a mortared stone wall themselves, it's essential to recognize that this type of project requires professional masonry skills. A well-built wall ensures proper drainage, prevents collapse under heavy loads, and maintains structural integrity over time.
It's best to consult an experienced contractor like Coquitlam Retaining Walls for expert advice on materials selection and construction techniques.
Poured Concrete Retaining Walls
Poured concrete retaining walls are known for their exceptional strength and low maintenance requirements. Although more expensive than some alternatives, these reinforced concrete structures provide reliable support without needing frequent upkeep beyond cleaning and inspection at regular intervals.
Interlocking Concrete Block Retaining Walls
Interlocking concrete block retaining walls is a popular choice for homeowners seeking an easy-to-install, cost-effective solution. These mortar-free systems use crushed-stone footings to create sturdy structures that suit various design preferences.
Maintaining an interlocking concrete block retaining wall is relatively simple as well -- just clean and inspect it regularly to ensure its longevity.
Still Need Help? Talk To Our Wall Pros
There are a variety of materials to pick from when selecting the perfect retaining wall. Regardless of which material you choose, it's important to consult with a professional contractor who can help guide you through the process from start to finish.
At Coquitlam Retaining Walls, we specialize in creating custom solutions that meet our clients' unique needs while providing exceptional customer service every step of the way.
If you're ready to get started on your next project using quality retaining wall materials, contact us today!
FAQs About Retaining Wall Materials
What is the best material for a retaining wall?
The best material for a retaining wall depends on location, soil type, and desired aesthetics. Some popular options include timber, mortar stone, poured concrete, and interlocking concrete blocks. Each has its advantages; consult with a professional to determine which suits your needs.
What five factors need to know when designing a retaining wall?
What material goes behind a retaining wall?
The standard material is a granular backfill material like gravel or crushed stone. This allows proper drainage while providing support against lateral pressure from the soil. Using geotextile fabric can also help prevent soil migration into the backfill area.
What are three common failures of retaining walls?
Retaining Wall Materials can sometimes result in failures when not correctly installed. These are the most common causes:
When you look at your wood retaining wall, what do you see? Is it leaning over in a way that suggests a lawsuit waiting to happen? Or is it simply becoming an eyesore in your neighborhood full of warped and rotting boards? If your wood retaining wall is looking worse for wear, it may be time to consider replacing it. Wood retaining walls can be repaired, but if you want to upgrade the look of your home with a retaining wall that will be hassle free for years to come, interlocking concrete block retaining wall is what you need.
What is a Retaining Wall?
Retaining walls are protective structures that have become eye-catching parts of yards in Coquitlam and in surrounding communities. When used in a yard, they serve as a border identifying the boundary of a home, as a decorative landscaping element, or to prevent erosion. One of the primary uses of retaining walls in residential settings is as a method of correcting the natural slope of the yard. This provides a flat areas for landscaping or building a patio.
Retaining walls need to be strong, weather resistant, and built to last. Retaining walls can be built out of several materials, but the most common are wood, brick, stones, and concrete blocks. Installing a retaining wall can improve the look of your home and increase the property's value. The materials used will determine the amount of maintenance required to maintain the look and function of your retaining wall. Wood retaining walls require more maintenance than a retaining wall made of concrete block or stone.
Repair or Replace? That is the Question.
Wooden retaining walls naturally weather. That is part of their charm. As a homeowner, it is important that you are aware of the point when charm turns to unsafe. Wood retaining walls will provide visual cues when it is time to focus some attention on its maintenance. Some of those visual cues are:
If the wall is structurally sound and you are looking to save a little money, you can try replacing the boards that are damaged with new ones. If you do attempt to replace damaged boards, you will need to ensure you are replacing them with boards that are treated so they can withstand the moisture from the soil. Keep in mind that you are using wood, and no matter what it is treated with, water will seep into the wood, eventually.
Treated wood just slows the processes that can cause damage to wooden boards. One other note about treated wood is that it can be bad for your health and the environment. The chemicals used to treat the wood are known to cause cancer, so long-term exposure to the wood can be bad for your health. The chemicals in the wood can also leach into the soil, which can be bad for the environment. If you inspect your wall and determine the structure to be damaged, you may want to replace the wall instead of trying to repair it.
Interlocking Concrete Block
There are several advantages to replacing an old wood retaining wall with one made of concrete blocks.
For all of its advantages, there are a few potential disadvantages to be aware of. First, you will want to give some thought to the design. Stacking concrete block may seem like an easy weekend project, but you will want to give some thought to the design ahead of time so you purchase the right amount of block.
If you decide to go with poured concrete, hire a professional, as building the forms and ensuring your concrete is poured and cured properly with enough strength and drainage is a bit beyond an average DIY project. Second, concrete block retaining walls do not have footings. The lack of support footings limits the height of the retaining wall to four feet. If you need to go higher than four feet, you will need to discuss other styles of concrete retaining walls with a contractor.
Retaining walls are great ways to improve the look and function of your yard. If your home has an old wood retaining wall that needs to be replaced, seek the retaining wall pros from Coquitlam Retaining Walls for a second opinion.
Unfortunately, not every home was constructed on a perfectly level lot. Drive though almost any neighborhood in Coquitlam, B.C., and you’ll see that many yards are on hills. Mounds and slopes create a challenge for both maintaining and preserving the soil. It’s also difficult to design a landscaping plan for the slopes and slants, and the effort to maintain an even supply of water is an ongoing struggle. One such suggestion to counter these challenges is using a retaining wall.
A retaining wall is simply a structure built up against the earth to hold back the soil and create a level space of ground for flower or garden beds or a yard area. Could a retaining wall be the solution for your home? It’s important to understand how the retaining wall works to determine if it would accomplish the goal held by the homeowner.
The primary focus of a retaining is wall is to a create a vertical barrier that the soil can sit against. It is used on properties where additional support is needed to prevent the ground from being washed away. In other words, a retaining wall keeps large quantities of the earth from being removed from the grounds.
Another indication a retaining wall might be required has to do with water drainage. On one hand, a sloped property has the problem of all the water following the slope to the most downhill portion of the property. This creates a problem of lost water in the uppermost areas and flooding in the lower areas.
But a retaining wall is no small project. Construction of a wall requires a specific skill set and understanding of the potential pitfalls. Consider the pros and cons to help you decide if a retaining wall could benefit the layout of your property.
The Pros and Cons
As mentioned, a retaining wall is not a quick and easy project. When weighing the risks and benefits of constructing a retaining wall, weigh these considerations to determine if this is an appropriate place for a wall.
All home improvement projects are based on cost vs. benefits decision-making. Here are some of the most notable reasons to add a retaining wall to a property as well as some reasons that may prohibit a wall as an option.
Reasons For A Retaining Wall
After considering the pros and cons, it comes down to necessity. If you have a soil erosion problem, you are in a race against time to capture the soil and structure a retaining wall to avoid further loss.
If you have unstable soil in a location uphill from your property, there is the possibility that a sudden shifting could send significant amounts of earth further downhill and off of the property.
If your property has any areas that are prone to flooding, a retaining wall could likely help. The wall would provide a method for the precipitation to wash through without carrying out the soil.
Would you like to structure the landscaping into a level beds around the home? If so, a retaining wall can be used to fill in areas where slopes make it difficult to create a uniform landscaping plan.
Which Type And Material?
If you’ve concluded that a retaining wall is necessary, the next issue is which kind of wall and which material to use. Retaining walls are constructed from a variety of materials. If you must make use of a retaining wall, it should complement the overall look of the property. Common choices of materials often include wood, stone, concrete, or brick.
There are factors that are unique to the project location that could limit the options. The type of soil, whether it is heavy or light, could necessitate a specific materials choice. This is because the wall will be holding back the soil and, over time, the pressure of the soil could overwhelm the wall. How tall is the wall expected to be? The retaining wall has to be able to accommodate the angle of the slope. The steeper the slope, the more likely it is that the wall will have to be built to greater heights. Again, this detail can limit the types of materials available. Both of these issues are easily overlooked or miscalculated.
Who Can Help?
This level of home improvement is best left to an experienced hardscape professional. The contractor should have years of experience with these types of challenges and a number of ideas to offer as possible solutions. A failed DIY retaining wall can end up causing even more problems. If this happens, the cleanup and the cost to rebuild will be substantially more.
You must consider if you have the time, energy, and expertise to attempt to install a retaining wall yourself. Most property owners will find the answer to that is a resounding no. In that case, Coquitlam Retaining Walls is available to assist you in accomplishing the project. Our team of hardscape professionals has a wealth of experience in landscaping and construction.
Looking to revamp your driveway? The appearance of your driveway can add a lot of curb appeal and value to your property, so the materials that you use to pave it make a world of difference. The two most common options for this task are concrete and pavers.
Many of us have heard of concrete for paving driveways, but you may be asking yourself, what are pavers? Pavers are small stone slabs or pieces that are compiled to create a layer of outdoor flooring; in this case, a driveway. They can also be used to create pathways or patios.
While many people consider driveway pavers to be more attractive aesthetically, some of the myths surrounding the functionality and lifespan of pavers have deterred homeowners from going down this route.
We’re going to take a look at some of the different elements of concrete driveways versus paver driveways, as well as debunk some of those myths surrounding pavers so that you can imagine your driveway as beautiful as ever and bring your dream to fruition.
In this article, we’ll examine some key elements of driveway performance including maintenance, durability and strength, cost and value, as well as appearance.
Note: when doing a driveway repair or installation, it’s imperative that you hire a professional. Regardless of whether you use concrete or pavers, the complexity of the job as well as the technical knowledge of laying a driveway can have devastating consequences for your property if not executed properly.
When it comes to maintenance, concrete driveways are typically thought to have less maintenance overall, but this can be untrue. If your concrete driveway can’t support the load, over time small cracks and breakage will occur. Furthermore, you’ll start to notice weeds and other unwanted plants that can pop up through the breaks in concrete, which makes for an unsightly driveway and deteriorates all the work that was done. Over time, this is inevitable.
One benefit to pavers is that while impact can sometimes cause cracking, individual pavers can be replaced, which makes long-term maintenance much easier. Pavers also stand up very well to a variety of temperatures and weight loads.
You may also experience weeds that pop up between the pavers, so a good weed killer is a great way to minimize and control this.
Stains are also likely to appear on both types of materials, but are less noticeable on pavers due to their natural appearance and stone patterns. You can use power washing on concrete to try and remove the stains, but they are generally more noticeable on concrete than on pavers.
Durability and Strength
As we saw in maintenance, both concrete and pavers are likely to experience wear and tear, but concrete is more susceptible to disruptions from ground movements and temperature, and can be more difficult to sustain over time. This can also cause the ground to lose it’s stability and become unlevel over time.
Pavers, on the other hand, are easier to replace and oftentimes are backed by the manufacturers or a warranty so that you don’t have to worry about removing and replacing parts where your pavers may have deteriorated.
Also noted above, pavers have a higher resistance to weight and traffic over time. Pavers actually offer roughly triple the endurance of concrete when considering pound per square inch. This is a huge benefit as over time, vehicles and pedestrians will wear away at concrete, causing cracks, whereas pavers can withstand the pressure much better.
Cost and Value
Looking at upfront costs, concrete is going to be a bit easier on your wallet. That being said, the long-term cost of concrete ends up being more due to the maintenance and durability of the material. Pavers are more durable and while they may cost a bit more at the beginning, the maintenance of the pavers and the durability over time will bring your costs down in the long run.
When considering value, pavers not only hold a lower long-term cost, but also add more value to your home. They are likely to attract homebuyers and add additional aesthetic to your curb appeal, which adds value to your investment. Concrete won’t hold this added benefit.
We’ve mentioned that curb appeal can be increased through the use of pavers, but why would that be?
Since there are many varieties of stones and colors, as well as designs, pavers offer much more versatility than a standard concrete driveway. You’re able to create accents, borders, as well as patterns throughout the pavers, which adds a huge aesthetic to your driveway and can also tie into other landscaping elements that will also enhance your curb appeal. Pavers will also add texture to your aesthetic, affecting the way the light accents your property.
You can customize your pavers to look exactly as you wish, and working with a professional, you can integrate those ideas with your current landscaping. Over time, pavers won’t fade away or change in color, which helps to keep your design’s integrity as the years pass. Who would have thought that driveway design could be so creatively intuitive?
Concrete doesn’t allow you to have these options; in fact, concrete is more likely to stain or crack with limited options for cleaning or repair. When your concrete becomes stained and cracked, your curb appeal will actually depreciate. If appearance is your pivot point, pavers are definitely the way to go.
Which Option Is Right For Me?
A driveway is one of the first things that people will notice when stepping up to your home. Making the decision between a concrete driveway and a paver driveway comes down to the factors that we’ve mentioned, including maintenance, durability and strength, cost and value, as well as appearance. Assessing your needs and priorities is the first step in making the decision.
All things considered, pavers are going to be the best option when looking at all of these categories mentioned above. While there is a slightly higher investment cost initially, in the long-term, pavers will not only age better, they will be easier to maintain and replace in the event of damage. They will also give you a higher property value and curb appeal, which is ultimately a return on your initial investment. Remember to always seek the advice of a professional like the team from Coquitlam Retaining Walls to help you with all of your driveway repair needs.
Retaining walls serves both a practical and aesthetic purpose; it adds beauty to your landscaping design through customization and usefulness while at the same time protecting your soil and adding functionality.
Even though the concept of a retaining wall may sound very technical and confusing, it’s actually one of the most common and enjoyable landscaping elements for property owners. It serves both a practical and aesthetic purpose; it adds beauty to your landscaping design through customization and usefulness while at the same time protecting your soil and adding functionality and multi-level landscaping design possibilities that may otherwise be impossible.
Retaining walls can be made from a variety of materials, including concrete, bricks and mortar, wood, as well as natural stone. While these options may be a quick-fix for your retaining wall needs, it’s no surprise that using stone pavers can add aesthetic value as well as extended durability to your retaining wall.
A main benefit of paver retaining walls as opposed to concrete or rubber is that you will have yourself an eco-friendly retainer wall that is more durable, lower maintenance, and chemical-free.
Let’s take a closer look at why paver retaining walls are better for your property and examine some of the benefits they will provide.
Do Retaining Walls Help Deter Erosion?
On the practical side, retaining walls offer a vital element of protection to your landscaping design by helping to avoid soil erosion and flooding problems.
Lawn and landscaping maintenance requires a variety of things, including fertilization, weed control, trimming and pruning, among others. Investing time, energy, and money into these areas can be frustrating if you find that you begin to have problems with flooding and soil erosion, as this grave issue can easily overturn all of that hard work you’ve put into your property.
Retaining walls, when designed effectively, helps deter this by redirecting the water during storms so that it doesn’t create damaging puddles or pools on your lawn or around your home. Over time, this erosion can even affect the foundation of your home, weakening the stability of the land on which your home is built. This can cause even more distress down the line. If your home aesthetic isn’t your priority, retaining walls can help to protect the foundation of your home, making them a valuable addition to your property.
While we normally think of our lawn as “landscaping,” retaining walls are designed using hardscaping materials, and some of the best of those are pavers, which allow for an interlocking design which adds to both aesthetic and functionality. The principal design element is the interlocking block or paver design. Interlocking paver retaining walls are extremely durable in all climates and will offer your property more protection over time as weather can wear on your landscape without a solid foundation.
Why Are Paver Retaining Walls Better For Design?
Now that we’ve discussed an important practical reason for paver retaining walls, let’s discuss how they might offer your property a better aesthetic than synthetic materials.
Using interlocking bricks or stones for retaining walls offers a more seamless experience in terms of blending the wall in with your landscape. The look of your yard will appear more natural and more cohesive as a whole. Because you are able to customize the design of your interlocking paver retaining walls, working together with a design expert is an enjoyable experience and they can help you to create exactly the landscape you’re looking for and make sure that it’s doable on your property.
Not only that, there are many practical benefits to using pavers for retaining walls.
As we can see, there are many ways that using paver stones or bricks for retaining walls can add not only an element of beauty and congruity but also practicality to your property. Working together with a skilled retaining wall designer will add huge value to your outdoor spaces.
Can I Build My Own Paver Retaining Wall?
The benefits of retaining walls with pavers are plentiful, but trying to create a fun D-I-Y project can actually end up costing you-- and your property-- in the end.
One issue you may run into is the proper building permits. Without the proper knowledge on this, you may find yourself in a world of trouble. Hiring a professional to take care of these issues is a huge benefit and can save you a few headaches.
You’ll also have to buy a variety of tools in order to do the job, which can end up being unnecessary if you don’t plan on doing this kind of work in the future.
Furthermore, if you aren’t knowledgeable enough about how to properly angle your retaining wall, the compaction of soil using a plate compactor, or properly creating drainage, you will cause insurmountable damage to your property, which will then end up costing you more time, energy, and capital to restore your land.
All in all, hiring a professional from Coquitlam Retaining Walls to design and build your retaining wall with pavers will save you time, add valuable knowledge to your property and landscaping design, as well as avoid costly restorations in the event you cause damages in your building process.