Retaining walls assume essential functions in your landscape. They hold the soil to control erosion, create a boundary between two adjacent sections of your lawn or form a terraced yard to reduce maintenance.
Over the years, they will undergo wear and tear until they reach the end of their service life. Even the best-installed walls don’t stay up forever. When your retaining wall gets too worn out, some parts of the wall may give in, making a mess of your landscape and ruining the carefully tiered slopes.
If you must replace a retaining wall, we encourage you to call the retaining wall builders at Green Oasis. We have the expertise to choose the best materials for your garden and install them professionally to maximise the new wall’s service life.
Why Do Retaining Walls Fail?
Exposed to the gruelling elements of nature while holding back the pressure from huge mounds of soil, retaining walls lose their strength over the years. Here are some common culprits behind retaining wall failure:
- Environmental Factors – If you live in a rainy or windy area, your retaining wall takes a beating from the constant pitter-patter of raindrops and impact from gusts of wind. It takes a toll on their composition, which could break apart over time.
- Poor Drainage – Water undermines the structural integrity of retaining walls, so if they are exposed to high levels of moisture because of poor drainage, your retaining walls could deteriorate faster.
- Improper Installation – If the retaining wall does not have a sturdy foundation or if it is not installed correctly, it deteriorates much faster.
- Degradation of Materials – Materials naturally degrade over time. Timber walls rot, concrete walls crack, and stone walls come loose.
When Should You Replace Your Retaining Walls?
In many cases, retaining walls can be quickly repaired by a professional. However, some retaining walls have dire issues that merit a replacement. A professional can determine if a replacement would be more cost-effective in the long run. Having your walls replaced professionally will assure you that they won’t give in any time soon, and you will save a considerable sum on repairs.
Here are some tell-tale signs you have to replace a retaining wall:
You notice loose pieces or crumbling mortar.
If small fragments or crumbs of the wall are littering the space, it’s a sign that the material is quickly deteriorating. The wall might give in soon.
The walls and adjacent flooring have cracks.
If the cracks on the wall and adjacent floors (if any) are growing and spreading, they might indicate an underlying structural issue.
The wall is leaning or warped.
This is the biggest indication that you have to replace the wall. A wall that is leaning to one side or has a bowed look means it is giving in to the weight of the soil.
How to Replace an Existing Retaining Wall
The replacement process varies according to the size and material of the wall, and the extent of the damage. We strongly encourage you to let a professional handle the project because they know precisely how to replace an existing retaining wall:
1. Remove the Retaining Wall
For relatively low and small retaining walls, we quickly remove chunks and pieces without disrupting the soil too much. Because these walls hold relatively small mounds, they can be removed without much fuss.
We exercise extra caution when working on large and thick walls because these hold large amounts of soil. Often, we remove some of the earth that the walls are keeping before we dismantle the wall itself. In some cases, we erect small, temporary support structures to hold the soil back while we remove the old wall and install the new one.
Our team uses specialised tools to break apart the wall. We also follow safety measures to eliminate the risk of worker injuries.
2. Check the Foundation
If the existing foundations of the old retaining walls are insufficient, we will rectify it. For instance, concrete walls would require a sturdy foundation — around one-third of the full height of the wall. A strong foundation ensures that the wall will be able to hold back the soil and that it won’t give way to the weight of the mounds.
3. Install the New Retaining Wall
Once we’ve strengthened the foundation, we start building the new wall according to your landscape requirements and preferences. We remove temporary support structures and replace the soil we removed when we dismantled the old wall. Our team also clears the debris for a neat and tidy finish.
The timeline for retaining wall replacement depends on the material and the size of the project. In many cases, it would take about three days.
Call Us for an Inspection
If you think your retaining wall needs replacement, schedule a free consultation with our landscaping experts. We will walk you through your options, give you a timeframe and provide a free quote.