Exterior wall designs play a crucial part in the aesthetics of a house. Along with their many benefits and features, the mere fact that you have a well-maintained and properly planned retaining wall at your property speaks volumes about your intentions in keeping your household in top-notch conditions. Retaining walls can be found in many Canadian properties, especially in the Markham region.

These walls need care and attention after installation. Bear in mind that retaining walls are part of your house’s blueprint and thus should be taken seriously. If you are about to install a new retaining wall, we suggest you gather proper information regarding this matter first. There are various types of retaining walls that work best under certain circumstances. This article focuses on these wall types and suggests the situations where each works best.

What Is a Retaining Wall?

A retaining wall is an extremely sturdy walled barrier that is built to hold (or retain) soil behind and on top of it. The most popular materials used in building retaining walls include treated timber, boulders, rocks, large stones, concrete blocks, and a few more. Each has its features and works best under certain conditions.

The primary function of a retaining wall is to prevent erosion in locations where growing greenery to stop erosion is not possible. The way you build your retaining wall can also contribute to the property’s overall curb appeal. You can devise a way to position these walls to fashion a small living quarter behind it. The possibilities are seemingly endless when it comes to aesthetics. Retaining wall repairs are also relatively straightforward and can be done with the help of professionals.

Hardscaping in Markham, Ontario

Hardscaping is essential in regions where the landscape is not entirely even. However, it can be done on any property if needed. If you are a property owner in the Markham region of Ontario, we believe you are well aware of various types of hardscaping in the area. Some of the biggest benefits of hardscaping include low maintenance costs, bump in the property value, reduced erosion, water efficiency, extension of usable space, and so on.

If you need of help regarding retaining walls, taking help from hardscaping professionals is the way to go. Building a retaining wall requires expertise, as well as a license! Companies like Markham Hardscaping specialize in dealing with designing, constructing, and installing hardscapes. Make sure you do your research before hiring a particular organization to help you out.

Types of Retaining Walls

There is a good variety of retaining walls that you can choose from, although the choice will mainly depend on the location and potential use. Below is a list of retaining wall types that are the most popular, especially in the Markham region.

Gravity Walls

Gravity walls implement their weight to keep the soil in place. No digging is required, reducing installation costs in the process. Gravity walls are generally made of massive stone blocks, concrete slabs, or cast-in-place concrete. They are built to slightly lean towards the soil so that they do not topple over, even under sheer pressure. The edges are attached so that the entire structure is held tightly in one place. The standard height of gravity walls is 4 feet. If you want to extend it, you can go up to 10 feet, although government permission would be required in such a case.

Cantilevered Walls

Cantilevered walls are significantly more rigid compared to gravity walls, mainly due to their construction and installation procedures. They implement the science of leverage for keeping the soil in place. The general shape of a cantilevered wall represents an inverted “T”, with the horizontal portion inserted in the ground. They can also be constructed on-site by using cast-in-place concrete. The base slab is built to withstand both the pressure from the soil above and the weight of the concrete extension that acts as the “wall”. The standard height of a cantilevered wall is 18 feet, although they can be extended to 25 feet if needed.

Segmental Retaining Walls

Segmental retaining walls, or SRWs, in simple terms, are larger versions of gravity walls. Some of the tallest ones can have heights exceeding 40 feet! The installation procedure is also similar to gravity walls. They are stacked beside each other, forming a wall. The sheer weight of SRW blocks ensures that they remain in place, although they do have attachments between each other. Sliding and toppling are prevented. One of the key differences between these retaining walls and gravity walls is that the former is usually manufactured in a factory plant, meaning they usually come in uniform sizes, shapes, and colors.

Counterfort Walls

Counterfort walls are similar to cantilevered walls in the sense that both wall types involve leverage. These walls are also manufactured in the form of an inverted “T”, where the base is installed underground. The key difference is that counterfort walls have substantial support on their backs. Rigid concrete webs, or counterforts, are installed along the perimeter of the wall to keep it vertical despite a mountain of pressure. The ideal scenario is to go for the cantilevered variant if you do not aim to cross 25 feet in height. If you do, counterfort walls are recommended.

Honorable Mentions

Below is a list of retaining wall types that are also greatly popular, especially in the Markham region of Ontario.

  • Sheet or Bored Pile Walls: Used in intense excavation sites like seawalls, marine regions, pier pillars, and dams.
  • Panel Walls: Used in compact places requiring perfect architecture, such as highway ramps and heavy load carrying escalators.
  • Gabion Mesh Walls: Used where erosion is a major concern. Both commercial and residential properties are fine settings for these wall types.

Final Words

There are various ways to improve a property’s exterior. Ranging from a color change to the installation of new features, the possibilities are endless. Installing retaining walls in your property will certainly raise its curb appeal. Hence, choosing the right retaining wall is essential. Make sure you have sufficient knowledge of these wall types before you finalize your choice.

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