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Cracked exterior brick wall.

How to Repair a Retaining Wall?

A retaining wall may begin to crack and crumble for many reasons. It can be repaired and held up without having to be demolished. Find out more!

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Walls are useful in landscaping as well as in construction. A retaining wall, for instance, is used as a part of the landscaping to retain the earth after excavation (when installing a driveway or a patio). These walls often suffer from the same problems as the interior walls, meaning that they can begin to crack and bow. 

When this happens it’s important to find the experts that will locate the source of the problem and address the underlying issues. That’s the only way to make the wall functioning and safe again. 

Wall repair

What Causes Retaining Wall Problems? 

The first thing to do is to figure out the cause of the problem. You’ll need to deal with this before repairing the wall. For the most part, retaining walls tend to crack and bow because of foundation problems and underground water and moisture. Keeping the wall dry is essential as much as lifting it back up and keeping it straight. 

The footing of the wall may be the cause of the problem if it’s too small or if it isn’t reinforced as strongly as it should have been. 

A lot of the time, water accumulates below the wall, causing extra pressure on it. That causes the wall to bow and even collapse. This is common in areas such as Indianapolis, IN, where there’s a lot of rainfall that can damage the walls. 

Crumbling walls are probably the most difficult problem to address since the issue is with the construction itself. If the wall is made out of concrete, the poor quality of the mix may lead to crumbling after a while, and sometimes that means reinforcing the wall may be pricier. 

What Not to Do 

One solution seems obvious when it comes to fixing a bad retaining wall: tearing it down and building a new one. Even though this seems like a valid solution, it’s an expensive and disruptive one and it’s best to avoid it. 

Also, using poor-quality wall anchors is not the way to go. Since these fixtures are exposed to the elements, they will begin to corrode if they are poorly made. As a result, you will have old-looking, unsightly wall plates that can even lower your property value. 

There are ways to fix the bowing wall without having to resort to demolition and they present a long-term fix that will leave the wall as good as new without having to destroy the landscaping in the process. Leave demolition for last-resort options. 

Wall Anchors 

Wall anchors are a great option, but the repair will require you to dig outside the wall foundation and that may be a problem for some since the process will impact the landscaping. This technique uses a strong steel wall bracket which is designed to brace the wall and correctly distribute the anchor’s clamping pressure. With wall anchors your contractor will attempt to return the wall to its previous position, therefore restoring its appearance as well as structural stability. 

During the installation process, an anchor rod is driven through 1″ holes and into the wall. These rods are connected to earth anchors that are placed beyond the retaining wall. When everything is in place, the wall plate is installed and the rod is tightened to return the wall to its previous position. 

Helical Tiebacks 

Helical tiebacks are a solution that also involves using a strong steel wall bracket on the exterior of the retaining wall. Just like with wall anchors, this steel fixture will brace the wall and distribute the clamping pressure. This solution can also be used to permanently stabilize the retaining wall and restore it to its previous glory.  

To install helical anchors, your foundation expert will cut a hole in the wall and run anchors through it. The helical blades will pull the anchor deep into the soil and hold it there. When the contractor closes the hole in the wall, they will install a wall plate. In addition, they will tighten a nut over the protruding rod to properly brace the wall. 

The first thing to do when you notice a problem with a retaining wall is to call a professional and schedule a free inspection. That’s the best way to go since an expert in foundation repair can help you choose a solution that’s best suited to your particular needs. 

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