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What are the Different Types of Retaining Wall Systems?

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  • Written By: Dan Cavallari
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 29 June 2018
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2018
    Conjecture Corporation
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When building a retaining wall, it is sometimes easiest to use retaining wall systems that come with all the necessary materials to build an attractive and strong retaining wall. The materials may range from stone to brick pavers to wood. The type of material used and the style of retaining wall systems available will depend on the size and function of the wall being built. Some walls will focus more on strength than on aesthetics, while others will focus on the exact opposite. The best retaining wall systems will keep the focus on both strength and aesthetics when possible.

Brick or concrete pavers are often used for retaining wall systems because they are relatively easy to install and they allow moisture to vent properly from the wall. These types of block pavers allow the builder to form a variety of different shapes, and curves are quite easy to construct with such blocks, as opposed to wooden walls, which are usually straight with no curves. Brick or concrete blocks will also last a long time while still maintaining a visually appealing aesthetic. Brick and concrete blocks also add an aesthetically pleasing texture to the wall, making it an attractive choice for yards.

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Wood retaining wall systems often require the builder to have carpentry skills. Wood walls can be built to suit a particular space since wood is easy to cut to length, though curves are more difficult and special care must be taken to choose the right type of wood for the job. The wood must be pressure-treated to keep it from rotting, warping, or becoming infested with bugs. Cedar is a good choice because it is naturally resistant to moisture and mold. Wood systems are fairly easy to build, and they are quite strong if built properly, but for larger walls, one should consider a stone or brick retaining wall.

Some retaining wall systems are meant to be decorative only, while others are meant to bear the weight of the back-filled soil. This means some systems will include a method for ensuring the wall can bear the weight of the backfilled earth, while others may not require such heavy duty plans. One should be sure to choose a retaining wall system that fits the needs of the builder; if the wall is being built on a slope or at the edge of where people will be standing or sitting frequently, a system with an adequate method for bearing weight will be necessary.

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