Retaining walls can fail for a number of reasons. However, the most common is that they can’t hold back the weight of the soil behind them. Soil- with the help of improper drainage and an excess of water- can cause damage to your retaining walls over time. They’ll weaken the wall bit by bit until there’s leaning, or even worse: collapse. Luckily, there are steps you can take before the structural integrity of your retaining wall is compromised. Additionally, if you’re in need of retaining wall repair, here are some dos and don’t to keep in mind.
Don’t Ignore the Early Warning Signs
With any man-made structure, there is the potential for failure. Look out for the early warning signs. When it comes to retaining walls, what seems like a small problem can quickly become a catastrophe. Depending on the location and size, its failure could mean anything from property damage to even personal injury or death. Don’t put off that retaining wall repair! Keep an eye out for:
- Tilting or leaning
- Water pooling around the base
- Soil separation
Never Remove the Retaining Wall
If a retaining wall was built, it must be retaining something. It’s all in the name! What will happen if the retaining wall is removed? The backfill that had shifted and caused your retaining wall to lean could end up exactly where you were trying to keep it from going in the first place. If your retaining wall repair gets delayed or can’t be fixed right away, you may need to reinforce the section that is damaged.
Avoid Doing It Yourself
Although you can find countless guides on the internet on how to perform retaining wall repairs, this is a job better left to the professionals. Unless you fully understand all parts of the retaining wall- from soil compaction to water drainage- there is potential for DIY disaster. You may be able to take apart the wall of interlocking stones. But will you be able to put it back together like some larger than life jigsaw puzzle? To keep yourself and others safe, call in the professionals when you start to notice that something isn’t quite right with your retaining wall.
Invest in Quality
There’s a lot you shouldn’t do when it comes to retaining wall repair. Luckily, the number one thing you should do, is incredibly easy! Invest in quality. This applies to not only the retaining wall itself, but every step of the building process: from drainage to backfill. A properly built stone or concrete retaining wall should last you well over 50 years. If you live somewhere that experiences frequent storms or harsh weather, this will have an impact on the integrity of your retaining wall. Make sure the proper drainage is in place before your retaining wall is built or repaired. Water will take the path of least resistance, and sometimes that means forcing its way through the joints of your retaining wall. If your retaining wall is not backfilled properly, this will also affect your drainage.
If you are looking to invest in a quality retaining wall, look no further! With over 25 years in business, Excel Retaining Walls has the dedication and know-how to get the job done right. Want more information? Request a call back!