The retaining wall, also called retaining wall, names that already give an idea of its function, is a continuous structure built to ensure stability and security to the land, which in most cases has irregular topography, this It is not flat, inclined or uneven.
In terrain where there are differences in level, it is necessary to build the wall to prevent from infiltration of the property to collapse.
The foundation (structure that “holds” the wall and the earth) of the wall can be shallow or deep, and can be made with various types of materials.
Of course, given the importance to your safety and that of your family, the safest way to make a retaining wall is with the design and supervision of a civil engineer or architect who will be responsible for the service.
He will be able to analyze exactly what type of retaining wall the terrain requires and will indicate the best material to use in building the wall.
There are two basic types of retaining walls:
1) Por gravity
It is the oldest and most common structural solution: The retaining wall (I have seen that many call this type of retaining wall only) runs vertically or almost vertically along the slope. The void between the wall and the slope (sloping part of the ground) is filled with earth. Simply put, it performs soil containment by combining its own weight and its geometric characteristics.
(design: design modification found on the guided engineering site, simplifying a gravity retaining wall)
This prevents landslide and prevents landslides. This solution is heavy and large and can use the following materials:
- Plain or reinforced concrete;
- Stone blocks, mortar stone;
- Brick masonry;
- Bagged soil-cement.
One of the main precautions in carrying out this type of work is the waterproofing and drainage layers (see below) so that the ground does not soak and accumulate water, impairing its function, with danger of collapse.
2) By flexion:
This type of wall (which is what many call a retaining wall) acts like conventional walls, having the same ratio of base to height. They are usually run on landfills and backfills because they need extra weight. Another feature is that they are lighter than gravity ones, having a geometric feature with a bottom slab and a vertical slab with an “L” cross section. In general they have a width between 50 and 70% of the height of the wall.
Bending wall without buttresses (photo: site concrelaje)
This structure is usually made of reinforced concrete, with or without buttresses. Stiffening beams are used for higher heights, or can be anchored to the base with tie rods or anchor bolts.
(photo: Detail of a retaining rod)
We highlight two precautions for this type of work:
- Maintain the verticality of shapes;
- Execution of the risers and buttresses.
(photo: Wall with buttresses – website: guideeng engineering)
And an important issue regarding retaining / retaining walls is the DRAINAGE Water: Rainwater soaking the earth makes it weigh much more than when it is dry. Therefore, in addition to calculating the weight of the wall to consider this extra weight, it is important that the construction be done in such a way as to remove as much water as possible from the back of the wall. And that’s what makes one drainage system: Drains (pipes or pipes) carry water to one or more exits beyond the wall, crossing it or not, according to the design of the responsible professional.
Design (from geofocus site): example of a drainage retaining wall system
AND ATTENTION: Structural works must be taken seriously at all times! The construction of any work whose purpose is to contain, hold or support a slope over 1.00 meters high, as a Retaining Wall, involves issues of Civil responsability, this is, the builder and the owner of the property may be held liable in the event of collapse and its consequences.
However, be sure to consult a professional to analyze your terrain and always opt for quality materials, regardless of which you will use in your work.