After completion of a recent project involving the maintenance and repair of a high retaining wall for a local client in Herefordshire, we saw a great opportunity to share some information about the unique nature of retaining walls, as well as the importance of keeping them in good condition.
Our Grounds Work department covers the whole spectrum of landscaping and groundworking. That includes concreting, kerbing, road surfacing, drainage clearance and essentially, keeping retaining walls safe, and looking their best.
What is a Retaining wall?
A retaining wall differs from a conventional wall structure because of the unique nature of what it needs to do…
If the ground elevations are different on either side of the planned wall then the wall needs to retain the soil laterally at levels, the higher one, but also the lower one.
Retaining walls come in a range of different types, such as gravity walls which rely on the sheer mass of concrete, stone or other heavy material to resist the pressures put upon them.
Other types might include:
- Diaphragm retaining walls
- Cantilever retaining walls
- Sheet pile walls
- Bored pile walls
- Anchored retaining walls
- Gabion cages/mesh walls
While many might consider self-building a retaining wall for the home or garden, for larger scale projects and for homeowners alike, it is essential to consult a company with experience – To both understand your unique needs and to avoid the risk of retaining wall failure.
When you consider the reasons for retaining walls, which might be anything from flood defences to boundaries between roads, walkways and higher ground. It is clear how important specialist help and advice can be, both for their construction and their maintenance.
Retaining wall repairs and maintenance
The average lifespan of a professionally built retaining wall might be as long as 100 years, but there are important factors that can alter that significantly. The conditions of the soil, the surrounding plant life, seasonal cold weather and the levels of groundwater at the site can have a dramatic impact on the wall’s structure..
Every retaining wall should be inspected regularly and any issues addressed sooner rather than later. If there are signs of cracks in the stone, mortar gaps, root ingress or bulges then these might be a sign of issues and must be addressed as soon as possible by a professional.
Maintenance is vital for retaining walls, as our video shows they are especially prone to vegetation growing through brickwork and disturbing the structure of the wall. Here you can see we were able to remove all the unwanted shrubbery, including considerable root structures. Then carry out full repairs and reinforcements on the high wall structure before finally re-pointing the existing brickwork to look as good as new.
In the majority of cases, your retaining wall will have some form of drainage installed to avoid water runoff gathering at the wall’s base. It isn’t uncommon for these drainage systems (typically pipes made from durable plastic) to become clogged over time and while plastic will not rust it may crack and deform due to cold weather or pressure.
Retaining wall repairs in Herefordshire
If you are considering repairs for an existing retaining wall at your home or business premises, or you’d like to add a retaining wall to your property, we can help. Contact us today and see how we can transform your property into a safer and more attractive space.