Retaining Wall Installation: Type, Style, and NC Regulations
In North Carolina it’s easy to feel as though your retaining wall installation is going to be an overwhelming process. That’s why you need a professional contractor in your corner. You’ll need someone to help navigate any necessary permitting processes, analyze which type of retaining wall will be the best fit for your project, and walk you through your limitless design options. To better understand what these options look like, let’s take a deeper dive into the details of retaining wall systems.
Four Basic Types of Retaining Walls
Gravity Retaining Walls
Gravity retaining walls are the most common type of retaining wall structure, especially in residential installation. This type of wall uses the sheer weight and mass of the retaining wall to hold the soil. These are predominately made with bricks, pavers, unmortared stone, or dry-stacked stone. Typically, this requires a trench to be dug for the wall to fit and may require a concrete footer dependent on the size and weight required. At The YardFathers, we recommend the construction of a geogrid within the gravity wall for enhanced security and proven reinforcement (regardless of height or application).
Cantilevered Retaining Wall
The cantilevered retaining wall is also known as a reinforced retaining wall. Steel bars are run through the concrete or masonry. This type is always affixed to a slab foundation under the soil, creating an “L” shape. In this circumstance, the weight of the soil bears down on the slab, keeping the wall from tipping forward over time. This is the preferred method of tall walls and commercial walls for enhanced strength.
Sheet Piling Retaining Wall
This wall is seemingly basic type, and a good resource when space is limited. You typically see these styles in DIY projects. The wall is thin, and typically made of steel or wood (sometimes vinyl), that’s driven into the soil. These pilings only work in softer soils, and isn’t a wall that we – at The YardFathers – recommend or specialize in.
Anchored Retaining Wall
Anchored retaining walls allow for a variety of different styles or “fronts” to be supported by anchors and are attached by metal cables and strips. Anchors are driven into the ground and expanded by injecting pressurized concrete. These types of walls are installed to provide additional support for structurally thin walls where higher weight loads are expected.
Style, Look & Design of Your Retaining Wall Install
Do you prefer the look of authentic stone? Or contemporary and ultra-modern? At The YardFathers, we have an incredible selection of design choices available for selection. Because we are a preferred vendor and guaranteed installer for both TECHO-BLOC and Belgard, our options are near-limitless. Let’s discuss which design choices best suit your custom outdoor space.
North Carolina (and Buncombe County) Regulations for Retaining Wall Systems:
North Carolina heavily regulates retaining wall installations for the safety of its constituents. Within the state, however, county regulations are more important to follow than state-wide mandates. For example, in North Carolina, an engineer is required for any retaining wall installation exceeding 5 feet in height. But, in Buncombe County, the mandate states that an engineer is required for any wall more than 4 feet in height. Due to these individual mandates and county-allotted permits, Buncombe County regulations trump the state-wide mandate.