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How to Fix Common Retaining Wall Failure Issues

Contractors fixing a wall

Retaining walls support a mass of soil laterally for purposes like roadway overpasses or hillside farming. However, they may cave under pressure of the materials they are supporting if they are not built properly.

This rarely occurs, but retaining walls can still collapse rapidly under the lateral forces. Failure may cause the complete collapse of the structure, so be sure to contact your trusted retaining wall contractor in Bay of Plenty immediately.

Here are common failure issues:

Poor engineering

Failure due to flaws in the design should almost never happen. Be sure to hire a reputable, trained and certified contractor to design and build your wall considering the specific conditions of the location.

Saturated backfill/soil

Water can significantly increase the current pressure on the wall. Grading the side, using drainage channels or tiles, and using a backfill material that drains well can ease the stress and remove excess water build-up.

Foundation settlement

Prior to construction, the contractor should compact the soil properly. This will reduce the risk of settlement that can result in cracking or collapsing.

There are many other factors that can contribute to the failure of a retaining wall. Often, they result from not taking into account the condition of the site. Experts recommend having yearly inspections to fix small issues before they cause further damage. Spring is the ideal season to do this since you will also find out if the wall can withstand snowmelt and rainstorms.

Look for signs of drainage problem such as the build-up of sediment at the base of the wall or materials sticking out. Maintenance is the key to preventing the complete excavation of the wall.

When designed and fortified correctly, a retaining wall can have a long lifespan. It can also provide functionality and aesthetic appeal on your site. Correcting failures is always an option for those who want to avoid costly excavation.