A well-built concrete block retaining wall can last for decades—with little upkeep. When built properly, this type of wall will resist the lateral pressure of soil, providing support for the soil behind it. If you’re planning on installing a concrete block retaining wall, here are a few tips from the experts at Frank’s Handyman Company in Portland, Oregon.
Concrete block retaining walls are built using modular concrete blocks that are stacked on top of one another. The blocks are interlocked with pins, or rebar, that runs through the core of the blocks. This type of wall is often used to create terraced gardens, or to retain soil on a slope.
When planning your retaining wall, it’s important to consider the height, length, and purpose of the wall. You’ll also need to determine the type of block you’ll use. There are several types of concrete blocks, including solid, hollow, and vented. Each type of block has its own advantages and disadvantages.
Once you’ve planned your wall, it’s time to start excavating. The depth of your excavation will depend on the height of your wall. A general rule of thumb is to excavate to a depth that is one-third of the wall’s height. So, if your wall is 3 feet tall, you would excavate to a depth of 1 foot.
After excavating, you’ll need to install a gravel base. The gravel should be compacted with a plate compactor. The thickness of the gravel base should be at least 6 inches. Once the gravel base is compacted, you can begin installing the first row of blocks.
When installing the blocks, be sure to use a level to ensure that each block is level with the one before it. The first row of blocks is critical, as it will set the foundation for the rest of the wall. Once the first row is in place, you can continue stacking the blocks, using a level to ensure that each row is level.
As you stack the blocks, you’ll need to fill the core of each block with concrete. This will help to interlock the blocks and increase the stability of the wall. To fill the core of the block, use a small trowel to scoop concrete into the block. Be sure to vibrate the block as you fill it with concrete to help remove any air pockets.
Once the wall is built, you can backfill the excavated area with soil. Be sure to compact the soil with a plate compactor to prevent the wall from settling.
If you follow these tips, you can build a strong, durable concrete block retaining wall that will last for many years.