Retaining walls are special walls that are constructed and designed to keep soil along its vertical plane. The creation of said walls benefit landscapers and engineers alike to allow room for usable flat land.
Retaining walls can be made with a variety of materials such as wood, metal, different blocks, cement, and cinder blocks.
Cinder blocks are made of concrete and coal cinders. They are much lighter compared to concrete because of the proportions of its individual components are not as strong which may be why several building codes prohibit its use for DIY projects, even though cinder block is designed to respond to challenges brought about by cold weather.
The process of building a cinder block retaining wall
Considering things like frost penetration, soil conditions, building permits, and wall height are some of the things that are vital in designing the cinder block retaining wall.
It is also important to identify where water, gas, and electric service pipes are located to avoid accidents and possible interruption.
Here are the steps on how to build a cinder block retaining wall:
Wear all protective equipment. To make sure you would not need to redo the job, it is highly recommended that you draw and mark before cutting, drilling, or setting. Make sure all of the details are covered and measurements are precise. Remember not to add too much weight on areas that are not built to withstand heavy loads.
Estimate the number of cinder blocks you will be using to build your retaining wall. This includes everything that will be used, whether it is damaged, used but damaged during the process, or in excess.
Lay the concrete foundation and rebar. The rebars should be the same height as the wall and depending on your desired wall strength, they may be at least 2-3 feet apart.
Install the drainage pipes to avoid drastic water damage. Install them at the base of the wall by laying the first layer of cinder blocks with PVC pipes in between. Use pipes that are of the same size as the blocks so that the holes are flush with each side of the wall and just above the level of the ground in front of your wall.
Prepare your mortar. The mortar will serve as your adhesive in place of concrete. You may use this to stick the pipes in place and to connect the blocks.
Line them up. Apply the mortar to both sides of the foundation. Place cinder blocks on them, check for any gaps. Cinder blocks must be fit snugly to one another. You can gently hit them with a hammer so it adheres well to the mortar.
Continue the same process over the new blocks. Install spacers by pressing them into the mortar on each side of the cinder block. Split a block by tapping a groove on each side with the claw to ensure that the blocks will be placed halfway between the blocks of the previous row.
Scrape off the excess mortar. Scrape both horizontal and vertical excess for a smoother and cleaner look. Once it’s all done, clean as fast as possible before the mortar hardens to lessen the expenses.
The last thing you would need to do is fill the spaces behind the wall if it’s clear. You can fill it with as much small stones or large gravel up until the level of the drainage pipes. After which, you may start filling it with dirt and decorating it with plants and other things.
Unfortunately, cinder blocks aren’t as sturdy as their concrete siblings, so they may deteriorate faster. And if you ever find cracks, you may or may not need to replace the block itself. Which means having to break and chip the damaged block, placing mortar inside the gap, and pushing the block in.
This is why it is very important to build the wall properly, and hire a certified professional to do it!
Here in Retaining Walls Wichita, we can provide you a customized plan that suits your budget. We will deliver professional results that will make your land safe and functional.
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