What Are The Common Types of Retaining Walls?

Retaining walls are built to reinforce soil and/or land and prevent erosion and shifting due to gravity. You can learn more about their uses here.

While these structures all serve a similar purpose, there are different types: Gravity Wall, Cantilever Wall, Piling Wall, and an Anchored Wall.

Gravity Wall

This is the simplest type of wall as it uses weight and mass to hold the land and prevent erosion. Typically, a small trench will be dug, and the wall will be built into the earth to ensure that it remains in place.

Since the weight of the wall is key, these are built from any material that has high mass, stability, and longevity. Usually this means they will be constructed of bricks, stone, or concrete blocks.

It is important to note that this type of wall may become unstable, and potentially topple over, as the earth pressure changes. The change in the earth causes the wall piece built into the trench to shift; this is why we also add a small concrete footer to the base of the wall so that shifting does not occur.

Cantilever Wall

These walls are reinforced by steel bars that channel through the concrete or masonry stone in order to relieve some of the horizontal pressure from behind the wall. The beams will allow the force to be shifted from horizontal to vertical pressure which is then displaced into the ground below.

The Cantilever Wall is held in place by an additional slab of concrete that is under the soil in an “L” shape which takes the weight of soil and prevents any movement of the wall itself, as well as negates the risk of tipping.

These walls typically use less materials than a gravity wall, but are constructed from the same types of materials, with the addition of steel.

Sheet Piling Wall

Sheet Piling Walls are used in softer soils and are constructed from steel, aluminum, vinyl, or wood. The material is driven into the ground, at a 2:1 ratio of above ground to in ground. This means that for every ⅔ of the wall that is above ground, ⅓ of it must be dug into the ground.

The depth of the wall, in addition to a tie-back anchor, keeps the wall in place and prevents any shifting.

Anchored Wall

This last type of wall is used when high loads and pressures are expected, as it is reinforced by the use of cables and/or anchors to provide additional stability and strength. Once the reinforcements are driven into the ground, using heavy machinery, they are then expanded due to the addition of pressurized concrete.

Anchored Walls can be constructed in any of the ways above, but what sets them apart is the additional reinforcements.

Osborne Construction & Excavation Company can build any of the structures mentioned above. Please contact our team of highly trained and skilled professionals today to set up an initial consultation.

dave wilson
dave wilson
21:31 16 Dec 20
had them waterproof my foundation to eliminate a wet basement issue. squeezed their equipment into my backyard and dug... up the entirety of my back foundation. waterproofed, new weepers. did an excellent job. very professional and thorough. if i had known how easy and reasonable it was going to be i would have done it years ago. very happy with the work. would certainly recommend them.read more
s simpson
s simpson
23:17 19 Oct 20
After having three previous contractors guess what is causing a leak through my garage wall, Mark determined in 10 min.... where and how the leak was occurring. By simply placing a small twig in a hole at the base of the front wall, he was able to demonstrate very quickly the primary entry point of rainwater. Because of his expertise, the work was completed at 1/4 the cost of other estimates and on time. Steve (Waterloo)read more
Lisa Fletcher
Lisa Fletcher
00:43 09 Oct 20
Great job redoing sidewalks and courtyard, exceeded my expectations. Easy to work with, great communication, on time... and on budget.read more
Don Campbell
Don Campbell
10:52 30 Sep 20
Marc and I installed a large geothermal system in the fall of 2019. The hard, hard clay made it take longer than either... of us expected, which led to some scheduling conflicts. Marc handled this well and got everything finished with only a small delay. He was well prepared, worked long hours and at times went above and beyond to ensure a professional result. I would happily recommend Marc to anyone looking for light-duty excavation services.read more
Sandra Schizkoske
Sandra Schizkoske
11:31 23 Sep 20
We hired Mark to remove our inground pool and he did an excellent job. He finished on time and on budget. He rebuilt... our walk way and it came out better than we expected. We were very happy with him and his worker.read more
Denton Daley
Denton Daley
23:32 14 Sep 20
This was the best service hands down. They protected our property while driving over our lawn to get to the backyard. ... They took the utmost care and ensured we didn't have any worries with their work. I highly recommend Osborn Construction for any residential excavation!read more
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