Classification of Retaining Walls

Retaining walls are the structures that retain a huge landmass behind them and provide support to a steep slope from being collapsed. When a slope becomes unstable, the shear strength of the soil becomes poor and landslides take place. Retaining walls are usually constructed to those sites where the inborn stability of a slope cannot be guaranteed, and there is a possibility that the slope may collapse at any time. Today, we will describe about the classification of retaining walls with you.

Many homeowners are constructing retaining walls for the sake of enhancing the beauty of their backyard or to ascertain the stability of their lands. Retaining walls can be of several types, and here we will mention and describe some of those walls.

Classification of Retaining Walls

1. Block or stone masonry

These structures have a height of lesser than 7 meters, but for retaining a larger landmass, the height may reach 15 meters. The frontal slope, according to the vertical: horizontal, should be 1:0.45. These structures are built to protect the slope and to prevent a small collapse. These structures should not be constructed in those slopes that are too high, and the amount of the landmass is also huge. These walls are comparatively weak to withstand the magnitude of an earthquake.

2. Gravity retaining wall

This one is heavy and massive in size. In most of the cases, the height of this wall remains less than five meters, and the width of the base should be 0.6 (an average) times higher than the height of the structure. This wall provides enough support to the soil by counteracting its weight. Because of its huge mass, the builder should construct it on solid foundations. Remember that these walls are not applicable to the pile foundations.

3. Cantilever retaining wall

These walls are reinforced walls because of their additional support. The height of these structures ranges from 3 meters to 10 meters, and the width of the base is nearly 0.65 times higher than the height. These structures can effectively withstand the massive lateral force or soil pressure, and the weight of the backfilling materials on the heel slab provides additional support. The wall has two different sections – the slab and the stem. The slab is further divided into two categories – heel slab (supporting the backfilling materials) and toe slab (opposite of the heel slab). One can construct it for the pile foundations, and the precast mortar is used more often.

4. Counterfort retaining wall

This wall is similar to the cantilever retaining wall, but counterfort is supposed to be stronger and more reinforced. The additional support is provided by constructing a counter fort, which connects the upper side of the stem with the heel slab. The counter forts are constructed at a similar distance and similar height. If an owner needs more than 10 meters wall, then he should go for this one. The width of the base of this wall is important, and the width should be around 0.6 times more than the height. The vertical section and the bottom slab are supported on all three sides, and this is regarded as more beneficial than the cantilever wall.

These are the four common types of retaining walls that you can construct.


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