5 Common Types Of Retaining Walls

March 11, 2022


A retaining wall is a structural design that is constructed to restrict the lateral pressure of soil. They are used to provide support to the soil so that it can be retained at different levels.

Such walls are made to typically hold back any material such as the earth and stop it from eroding or sliding away. These walls are designed to resist the material pressure of the soil that it is holding back.

Typically they are used to bound the soil at two different elevations mostly in sloppy areas or in areas where the soil needs to be shaped more properly such as hillsides.

Building a retaining wall is a difficult task, therefore you should hire a professional retaining wall contractor to build your retaining wall.

Also Read: How To Build A Retaining Wall?

Retaining walls have several types that are used to meet people’s desired construction needs.

If you want to learn about the different types of retaining walls then keep on reading this blog as we will discuss in detail the 5 common types of retaining walls.

Gravity Wall

A gravity retaining wall uses its huge weight to restrict the material behind them and to achieve stability against failure.

These walls can be constructed from stone, concrete and brick masonry. Gravity walls are thicker in sections.

Gravity walls made for retaining landscape areas are usually made from concrete units or mortarless stone.

The geometry used to make these walls also helps to maintain the stability of the wall. Gravity walls can retain heights up to 3m.

Concrete Cantilever Retaining Wall

The cantilever retaining wall is the one that consists of a wall that is directly connected to the foundation.

These types of retaining walls hold back a significant amount of soil, so these walls need to be well constructed and engineered by professional retaining wall contractors.

Cantilever retaining walls are the most commonly used type of retaining walls. They typically rest on a slab foundation.

The slab foundation is also filled with back-fill so that the weight of the back-fill and the surcharge stabilizes the wall against sliding and overturning.

Buttressed Retaining Wall

Buttressed retaining walls, also known as counterfort retaining walls, are cantilever walls that are strengthened with counter forts monolithic on the base slab and back of the wall slab.

These buttressed retaining walls are used as tension stiffeners that connect the wall slab to the base in order to reduce shearing and bending stresses.

In order to reduce the bending moment between the vertical and horizontal walls of great heights, the buttressed walls are placed at a distance from each other.

Sheet Pile Walls

Sheet pile walls are made by driving steel sheets into a slope or excavation up till the required depth.

They are most commonly used in deep excavation projects. Sheet pile walls are considered to be the most economical in construction projects where the retention of higher earth pressure of soft soil is required.

These walls cannot be used in construction projects that require high-pressure retention.

Anchored Earth Retaining Wall

Any type of wall that uses facing units tied to strips or rods and has its ends anchored into the ground is called an anchored earth retaining wall.

An anchored earth wall uses anchors that are like abutments and the cables used for tying them to the ground are mostly pre-stressed and high strength steel tendons.

To aid the anchored earth wall all the ends of the strips are made into a shape that is designed to bind the strip at a given point in the soil.

Final Word

Different construction projects require different types of retaining walls but one thing that should be common among all the types is that they should be made by a certified retaining wall contractor.

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