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Brick Buildings and Retaining Walls

What is a retaining Wall?

Retaining walls’ or also called as breast wall or revetment’s primary function is to keep materials such as soil, water, sand and stones from flowing to the other side because of lateral pressure. Retaining walls can be as simple as park plant boxes to grand walls for housing and buildings. In all these different functions, stability, prevention of erosion, curb appeal and aesthetic are prioritized in designing and picking a retaining wall.

Different Types of Retaining Wall

  1. Gravity Retaining Wall – Falling under this type are crib, gabions and bin retaining walls.
    Materials: Stone, poured concrete and masonry can be used as materials for gravity wall.
    Safety and Durability: The proper angles of setbacks and sliding wedges allow this wall to resist bearing pressure, sliding pressure and overturning pressure. Once the proper angle is calculated, the execution of building this wall is straightforward, with no mortar or pins needed. It can stand different weather, and needs minimal maintenance or repairs.
    Aesthetics: Since stones and bricks can be used in this type of wall, aesthetic and design can be achieved.
  2. Cantilever Retaining Wall – This design is known for its inverted T design called the stem/heel and the base slab/toe.
    Materials: This material is prefabricated using concrete, precast concrete and prestress concrete in factories before taken to site, which makes the building process faster and simpler than other retaining wall types.
    Safety and Durability: The heel and toe which are consist of concrete and steel and the consideration the proper angle of setbacks and sliding wedges to resist bearing pressure, sliding pressure and overturning pressure and horizontal are all checked to ensure wall stability.
    Aesthetics: Since this wall uses concrete, designers should consider redesigning it after building for visuals.
  3. Counter-Fort/Buttressed Retaining wall – This is like the cantilever retaining wall with counterforts for extra support. Materials: It’s made of concrete, precast concrete and prestress concrete prefabricated in a factory. Safety and Durability: This is very stable because of the toe slab, heel slab, face slab and the two counterforts supporting the whole wall. Aesthetics: Requires additional designing after construction for aesthetic purposes.
  4. Anchored Retaining Wall
    Materials: This wall is thinner than other walls. Its support is strengthened by the rods tied to anchors buried in the soil.
    Safety and Durability: If there is significant pressure on the wall, an anchored retaining wall is highly recommended. Any type of wall can be given added anchor for stability. The anchors and the cable rods are configured under the soil depending on the pressure the wall needs to resist.
    Aesthetics: This type of wall is recommended where thick walls cannot be constructed because of limited space. It also helps in the costs because lesser concrete will be used.
  5. Piled Retaining Wall – This type of wall is commonly used in waterfronts to aid beach erosion and shoring.
    Materials: This wall uses precast concrete, steel, vinyl rods or wood planks.
    Safety and Durability: The piles are driven to the ground at a stable depth. Anchors attached to the wall make it more stable, but this type of wall cannot really hold extreme pressure.
    Aesthetics: When used in a permanent setting, a piled retaining wall is quite aesthetic, but there is no need to consider this factor for temporary walls.

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