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The Best Types of Retaining Wall Panels

  • 13.12.23
  • Construction Products

Discover the different types of retaining walls with the cheapest, strongest, and easiest solutions across materials and installation that can best support your next construction project.

Whether building a bridge, ramp or underground cellar, all infrastructure within sloped gradients must provide adequate construction to support your structure while withstanding the weight of the landscape.

Therefore, creating a level surface within banked conditions requires the assurance of retaining wall engineering. But what is the best type of retaining wall for your project?

In this blog, we discuss the various designs and materials for retaining walls so you can find the most durable and cost-effective solution that best serves your construction requirements.

Discover the different types of retaining walls with the cheapest, strongest, and easiest solutions that can best support your next construction project.

Retaining Wall Panels - Hickman & Love

What is a Retaining Wall?

Retaining walls are built to create, separate and maintain a level surface area against a higher point/weight on the corresponding side. So, unlike standard walls, retaining walls must withstand pressure horizontally rather than vertically. Often seen outside to create level areas on sloped sites, retaining walls provide the necessary infrastructure for construction projects while maintaining the landscape of hills, mounds, etc.

For example, take a road or railway line installation in a mountainous environment. For the sloping landscape to remain in place while a level surface gets installed, we require building retaining walls to bear the pressure of the weight above.

Therefore, the purpose of a retaining wall is to endure the lateral load of earth, soil, rubble, or other materials, such as industrial waste, agricultural products, and recyclables. By resisting and supporting this lateral pressure, retaining walls increase the overall bearing capacity for your construction project.

This unnatural manipulation of the earth often requires the retaining walls to withstand immense pressure that demands high construction standards in application and regulations. However, retaining walls are also used inside buildings and are essential in basement design, particularly within deep underground structures comprising multiple storeys.

What Are the Different Types of Retaining Walls?

Retaining walls can be made from various materials in different shapes and sizes to resist numerous environmental conditions and support multiple projects.

We can divide retaining walls into four main types:

Gravity retaining walls
– Cantilever retaining walls
– Embedded retaining walls
– Reinforced soil retaining walls

Depending on the purpose of your retaining wall, here are the different types and materials available:

– Concrete/Reinforced concrete
– Brick
– Gabion
– Masonry
– Deep foundation (Wood, reinforced concrete, or steel)
– Sheet piling (Steel, vinyl, aluminium, fibreglass or wood)
– Piled retaining wall (Concrete)
– Diaphragm retaining wall (Reinforced concrete or sheet piles)

Before investing in the material and design of your retaining wall, you must consider the various factors, including the site conditions, terrain, installation and maintenance.

What is the Cheapest Type of Retaining Wall?

The most affordable material to build a retaining wall is poured concrete. However, you still must account for labour costs, the overall installation and whether you’re reinforcing your retaining wall with steel rebar.

Concrete retaining wall panels are another affordable option but more expensive than poured concrete as a material. Poured concrete will set you back as little as £1.50 – £4 per square foot, whereas concrete panels can cost up to £20 – £30.

While this shows a significant difference, that’s the cost of the material alone and not the installation. Poured concrete requires the necessary formwork, equipment and machinery alongside labour costs. Financially, these are all critical factors to consider before you invest.

Other options include pressure-treated pine for wood and granite for stone. But ultimately, the cheapest retaining walls are made from salvaged materials you can gather for free, such as stone or reusable concrete, bricks, etc.

What is the Strongest Type of Retaining Wall?

As with the cheapest option, the strongest type of retaining wall is concrete. But rather than just poured concrete or a precast mould, you can reinforce its durability and apply greater tensile strength with reinforced steel.

Because while your concrete can remain incredibly dense, it lacks the flexibility to withstand heavy weight and pressure without proper steel reinforcement.

What is the Easiest Retaining Wall to Build?

The easiest way to build a retaining wall is with concrete retaining wall panels. You can insert these concrete retaining wall panels between steel columns, such as those used for fence post reinforcement. Each panel can be positioned in a web of steel columns or attached to the outside face using bolts and plates.

Having your retaining wall panels preordered and delivered to your site means it’s just a simple case of installing each panel one by one rather than mixing and pouring concrete into a pre-established mould.

What is the Best Retaining Wall?

With overall strength, affordability and longevity, concrete panels provide the best option for your retaining walls. Plus, with the panels premade and reinforced with steel rebar, you have an affordable and durable solution that is easy to install.

Due to the weight of the concrete panels, you will need at least one, if not two, fit and able workers to help you. Ideally, you’d have a whole team of construction workers with equipment and machinery to install concrete retaining wall panels safely and efficiently.

Purchase High-Quality Concrete Retaining Wall Panels for Your Next Project

At Hickman & Love, you can reinforce your next construction project with our quality-assured, cost-effective concrete retaining wall panels.

We ensure all our retaining wall panels adhere to the relevant regulations necessary for your application. Whether you’re building low-height retaining walls for some raised beds in your garden or specified retaining walls for large sloped areas, we have the solution for you.

For further information or to order please call +44 (0)121-557-2191 or email enquiries@hickmanandlove.co.uk we look forward to hearing from you. Or like us on Facebook to keep up to date with projects and news.

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