Construction of retaining walls includes more extensive works compared to freestanding walls. For this reason, the construction of retaining walls is highly regulated and requires adherence to a specific code of practice. The weight and density of soil must be analyzed before any construction can begin. This examination is carried out by a soil engineer and enables the engineer to recommend appropriate construction design and details ideally required to give structural strength to the wall.
Compared to the design of freestanding walls, many retaining walls are larger at the foot level. The steels bars used are also considerably thicker for extra tension and compression strength. The design of a retaining wall can be where the retaining wall holds 2 to 3 feet of the soil or a more complex wall capable of retaining 40 feet of soil. In instances where the soil is heavy, the designer might recommend drilling structural piles as deep as 50 feet in the ground for added opposition.
The block wall is one of the main structural components of a retaining wall. There are benefits of added finishes on the block portion of the wall in the form of facing and cap options. Apart from giving a good appeal to the exposed part of the wall, finishes will avert water seepage/wash water from causing damage to the surface of the wall. Common facing and cap options may include veneer of stacked stone facing or brick.
The color of the wall finish can be made to complement the color of the building or the entire project and give a consistent appearance for the whole property.
The wall can be crowned/covered with stone, brick or pre-cast concrete. The caps can also be poured into place on the wall. To increase designs for stone caps, they can be cut out into regular shapes or the natural shape can be retained with the uneven edges. Another option is brick caps.
One might also consider pre-cast concrete caps if neither of the caps options is appealing enough. Pre-cast concrete caps are prepared away from the site by pouring wet concrete into a pre-designed mold. This fabrication method allows pre-cast concrete caps to be prepared in a variety of shapes and designs.
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