Signs Of A Healthy Retaining Wall

concrete foundation retaining wall

Installing a retaining wall protects your home by keeping external pressure off your foundation and preventing water from reaching your foundation walls. Retaining walls work much harder than freestanding walls to keep your home safe and strong, but even the strongest walls won’t last forever. It’s vital to recognize the signs your wall is no longer healthy and needs professional retaining wall repair.

How Retaining Walls Work

The soil around your home impacts the overall integrity and stability of your home’s foundation. A retaining wall keeps this soil in place, which is especially important when your home is built on a slope or shifting soil threatens your home’s foundation. Retaining walls prevent soil from moving from higher elevations to lower ones, which may be caused by soil erosion or landslides. A wall may also be used as part of the overall structural support of the home to keep the foundation from shifting or settling. Installing a retaining wall also keeps water from reaching your foundation by directing the flow of the water it catches to a drainage pipe or sewer system.

Signs Of An Unhealthy Wall

One of the most cited reasons for retaining wall failure is poor drainage, but substandard materials and/or improper installation are also common causes. Settling due to soil compression and soil expansion can also impact the integrity of the wall. Other causes include shallow footing, lack of reinforcement, and blowout caused by extra loads on top.

Signs of a failing retaining wall are usually obvious, and it’s important to recognize the symptoms of an unhealthy wall. These symptoms will continue to worsen over time, and without proper retaining wall repairs, the wall will eventually fail. The three most common signs your wall is in distress include:

  • Tilting caused by soil issues and/or poor construction, including improper reinforcement or poor drainage. The weight of water accumulation behind the wall can also cause the soil to expand, which causes tilting and cracks.
  • Separation from adjacent walls caused by poor design and/or construction that doesn’t allow the wall to bear the weight being put on it. Inadequate reinforcement or wall connections, poor drainage, and sometimes expansive soils also cause separation.
  • Crumbling is most often caused by improper design and/or weak or poorly mixed concrete that doesn’t allow the wall to bear the weight load behind it. Inadequate steel rebar in concrete walls also results in insufficient strength.

Other signs your retaining wall is no longer healthy include buckling or bulging of the wall, cracks or fractures in the wall, soil separation and water pooling around the base of the wall. These are all telltale indicators of an imminent retaining wall collapse. 

How To Save Failing Walls

No matter the issue, most retaining walls can be saved from collapse once the cause of the failure is identified. Unless the retaining wall has extensive deterioration, removing and rebuilding the wall shouldn’t be necessary. In most cases, retaining wall experts can quickly stabilize the wall and pull it back into its original position with wall anchors, which are significantly less expensive than tearing down and rebuilding the wall. Using a wall anchor system is generally the most economical solution and is designed to stabilize bowed, buckled, or leaning walls.

Premier Wall Anchor & Waterproofing in Stow, Ohio, uses wall anchors or helical piers to restore the structural integrity of your retaining wall. Both retaining wall repair techniques utilize a strong steel bracket on the exterior of the retaining wall to brace it and properly distribute the anchor’s clamping pressure. Using anchors and helical tiebacks, our skilled contractors attempt to return the wall to its original position and restore its structural integrity and appearance. We can install these systems year-round, and they don’t require any maintenance. Installation is quick and requires minimal excavation and disturbance to your landscaping.

Wall Anchor Experts In Stow, Ohio

When you need to rehab your retaining walls, trust the professionals at Premier Wall Anchor & Waterproofing. Our products are fabricated from heavy-duty, galvanized material guaranteed to provide years of stabilization. We’ve been in business for over 13 years, and our trained specialists have the expertise to effectively rebuild your retaining wall. Our fully licensed, bonded and insured technicians are completely equipped to address a wide range of retaining wall repairs for homeowners throughout Northeast Ohio. Contact us at 800-573-7170 to schedule service and ensure the continued health of your retaining wall today.