What Are the Different Types of Retaining Walls?

by | Apr 11, 2022

If you’re not familiar with the term, you’ll certainly be familiar with the structure. In fact, retaining walls are some of the most common structures that can be seen in the UK. Found anywhere from road embankments to landscape gardens, these recurrent walls are often overlooked in terms of importance.

Today, the Borehole Solutions team wanted to take a closer look at these trusty staples of the construction industry in a little more detail.

What Are Retaining Walls?

As the name suggests, the function of these walls is to support soil laterally, ensuring it doesn’t spill out onto the other side. They’re most frequently constructed to enable flat roads to be incorporated into hillsides. Without the necessary wall, the slope would slip or collapse.

As one of the most common structures in the UK, it’s unsurprising that failed retaining walls make up the majority of the country’s highway failures. Cracks and other structural weaknesses result in landslips. This can block roads entirely in some cases.

What Are The Different Types Of Retaining Walls?

There are four major types, detailed below:

Reinforced Soil Retaining Walls

This is the type the Borehole Solutions team will typically deal with. Modular blocks and capstones feature as the facing units. Reinforcement frames will run through the reinforced soil behind them. This type of wall will typically feature levelling pads, as well as a layer of drainage aggregate.

Gravity Retaining Walls

Easily the simplest type, this wall is also the most prone to failure. The wall’s weight alone is relied upon to hold soil back. As you may expect, this can make them fail structurally or topple easily. Furthermore, these structures are typically height limited, unlike other types. You’re most likely to find this accident-prone type of wall used in gardening and landscaping projects.

Piling Retaining Walls 

Assuming the piles can withstand high bending forces, this type of wall has the potential to be incredibly strong. The piles used in this wall type are driven into the ground; fixed by soil on both sides. This, of course, adds a huge amount of bearing strength.

Cantilever Retaining Walls

Finally, this type of wall is able to re-stabilise itself against the very forces attempting to topple it. This is done by the walls’ utilisation of reactionary forces. Typically, this type of wall will extend in another direction at the base. Specifically, into the ground and away from the direction the wall faces. This adds additional stabilising forces.

What Else Does Borehole Solutions Offer? 

Retaining walls isn’t all we’re good for, here at Borehole Solutions! We also offer a wide range of other geotechnical services, including the following:

  • Sonic Drilling
  • Cable Percussion Drilling
  • Window Sampling
  • Ground Source Heat Pumps
  • Domestic Water Wells
  • Contamination Testing
  • Soakaway Installation
  • Restricted Access Drilling
  • Casing and Rig Hire

Contact Us! 

So, if you’d like to find out more about retaining walls or any of the above, please get in touch! You can reach Borehole Solutions today on 01733 200 501. We look forward to hearing from you.