Different Types of Retaining Walls

As the name suggests, retaining wall systems are built primarily for holding back soil while defining a property’s outer sections. They are designed in a way where the construction can withstand any lateral pressure that’s exerted by liquid pressure, the soil, and many other materials that the wall is holding.

The structures, as mentioned earlier, can be built to serve different functions for various properties. Thus, many kinds of wall systems are used to meet specific objectives. In this article, we’ll cover some of the most common retaining walls in construction. Continue reading to learn more.

Cantilevered walls

Many property owners primarily use a standard system. A cantilever wall comprises a base slab and stem. One of the reasons it’s popular is that it can be fabricated beforehand and transferred after or constructed on-site. In addition, the materials that make up this wall system can be prestressed concrete, precast concrete, or reinforced concrete.

It gets its name from being cantilevered to structural footings, enabling it to transform the materials’ horizontal pressure located at the back into a vertical force to be transferred directly towards the ground.

Counterfort walls

Similar to the abovementioned cantilevered walls — with the main difference being the support they require along the backside — counterfort walls or concrete webs are typically constructed at angles for more stability. They’re located at consistent intervals along the wall’s length, allowing it to handle the soil’s pressure. They can also improve the walls’ weight.

Gravity walls

This type of wall relies on its mass for withstanding the materials’ pressure behind it. That’s why they’re built mainly using heavy materials, such as masonry units and stone. In some instances, it can be made from the same materials it’s supposed to hold, improving the general stability in turn. Gravity walls tend to be massive as they need considerable loading for withstanding the lateral pressures that the soil generates.

Anchored walls

These are the wall systems anchored with driving rod cables that are sideways underneath the ground. The concrete material fills the rods’ ends to improve the anchor’s strength. These hardscaping structures tend to be utilised if the retaining wall’s erection has minimal space or requires small walls. Because they’re essentially anchored, tall retaining walls can be built with this system.

Piled walls

Piled walls usually have two forms: sheet or concrete pile systems. Retaining walls that are reinforced with piles of concrete are built by setting the piles, as mentioned earlier, adjacent to the other. They’re also driven to specific depths to ensure that they can withstand the pressure of the lateral earth that the soil exerts behind them. Because of its high resistance, it can also be used in more significant excavations.


These are just some of the many retaining walls available. However, before choosing the ideal system, make sure you perform a detailed and comprehensive evaluation of the site to know the type of soil, its requirements in drainage, the slope’s nature, and the current weather conditions surrounding the property. Doing so will allow you to make a more informed decision.


Tags: concrete, design, interior design, wall

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