Much like a good fence, retaining walls are a functional and safe barrier between neighbors. The walls are essential to get the most out of undevelopable land. Builders use them to create level lots for homes or apartments. Homeowners can benefit from them to create new walkways, flower beds, additional parking or a patio.
Once built, retaining walls typically do not draw the eye. Beyond making the wall look less aesthetically pleasing, problems often indicate a deeper structural issue. If you notice a problem, contact a professional to determine how serious it is. Small problems are easier to address than larger ones. Cracks, bowing and tilting are typical problems with small and large walls. The pressure of the soil, shifting blocks or water can all affect the wall over time.
The type of damage the wall has sustained determines whether or not it can be salvaged. Sometimes the damage is too great, and the wall must be completely taken down and rebuilt. Often though, contractors can make repairs to the wall. A professional contractor who specializes in the foundation work may be needed.
Helical anchors, or “tiebacks,” help fix walls that have begun to tilt or crack. Contractors utilize the steel anchors to repair foundational issues. A hole is made for the giant screw-like anchors to go in. They have plates to pull the anchor through the hole and into the soil with each turn. Hydraulic pressure is measured to determine appropriate depth of the anchor. Pressure is exerted on the wall to keep the anchor in place with a large-diameter nut placed on the outside of a steel plate.
Repairing damaged retaining walls can keep the land it holds back level and functional. Beyond repair, a contractor may decide to add additional features to the retaining wall such as drains to move water away from the wall.