A Look at Retaining Wall Materials

Retaining Wall Materials - New England Enterprises - Marlborough, MA

The retaining wall has grown in popularity over the years as a way to transform the landscape of homes. There are retaining walls of all sizes made of all materials. Often they are used to stabilize earth while providing a beautiful addition to your landscaping.

Reasons to Install Retaining Walls

There are several good reasons to install a retaining wall on your property. Not only are they functional, they are also aesthetically pleasing. Here are some of the benefits of retaining walls:

  • Remove undesirable slopes
  • Change the flow of water and prevent flooding
  • Prevents erosion and helps maintain yard
  • Can protect property or other structures (such as pools)

Types of Retaining Wall Materials

Retaining walls can be made out of many types of materials. Here we’re going to look at four types of materials that cover the range from basic to rustic, simple to time-intensive.

  • Cinder block
  • Concrete blocks
  • Wood walls
  • Rubble or loose stone

Each of these retaining walls have their own place. Some are more functional, some are more decorative, but all are excellent choices under the right circumstances.

Cinder Block Retaining Wall

One of the most common types of retaining walls is the cinder block retaining wall. The biggest difference from between cinder and concrete (though they are often confused) is that Concrete blocks contain aggregates (a mixture of substances) with their Portland cement base. Cinder blocks do not include aggregates (with Portland cement base) but instead include cinder ashes. Cinder blocks are lighter than concrete and are hollow but are still strong and very easy to work with.

Concrete Retaining Walls

The most common size of concrete walls is about 4 feet high. However some concrete walls are as high as 30 feet. They are heavier than cinder blocks, but that extra weight works for them with a stronger and more durable wall. Concrete retaining walls have become popular over the years due to this reliability. They are built on gravel bases and secured with pins after being stacked. This allows for a small amount of flexibility as the ground shifts, while still maintaining strength.

Wood Retaining Wall

Wooden walls have seen a drop in popularity due to the increasing availability of alternatives, and the higher maintenance and shorter replacement times. However, if you have a rustic or old fashioned looking house this might be the right option for you, as the timber will accent well. It is also a cheaper alternative to its stone counterparts. As with other styles of walls, timber should be placed on a firm gravel bed and have a good drainage system behind them.

Loose Stone Retaining Wall

One of the more time-intensive types of retaining walls, loose stone or “dry stack” walls don’t use mortar in the wall itself. However, it’s more complicated than just stacking rocks. First a footer is put into place and then larger rocks are placed as steps or back-slanted before the face in front is stacked with loose rocks. Finding the right rocks and in the quantity to have a perfect fit means a lot of time and effort, but the payoff is a natural and beautiful looking retaining wall.

No matter what type of size retaining wall you want, here at New England Enterprises in Marlborough, MA, we’re experts in building walls. From concrete, to cinder, to natural stone, and wooden, we’ve got the tools and experience to build what you are looking for, on budget. Contact us to learn more and get a consultation on the job, including a detailed plan on your project and an estimation of cost.