Concrete retaining walls that are not appropriately constructed may crumble beneath the weight of the elements they support. Concrete retaining walls can even collapse quickly under lateral stresses. This might happen over time, giving you the chance to either repair the problem yourself or seek professional assistance. 

Who Is Responsible for Retaining Wall Failure?

Retaining walls that have been damaged can cause significant harm, which is why they must be built properly to withstand the test of time. Aside from age, there are a lot of other common factors that cause damage to your concrete retaining wall, such as:

  1. Poor Drainage

One of the most common reasons for a concrete retaining wall failure. Hydrostatic pressure builds up behind the concrete retaining wall if there is no properly designed drainage. The retaining wall may not be designed to support the weight of saturated soil, which is far heavier than dry soil, causing the concrete wall to fail over time. 

  1. Foundation Issues

Concrete retaining walls can quickly fail if the foundation of the concrete is not done correctly or if the incorrect materials are used. One symptom of a poor foundation is a lack of site investigation. Codes restrict soil bearing, so designers should use conservative figures and the correct type of soil and materials to construct the concrete retaining wall. 

Designers should also be aware of compressible soil, backfill material, water table, and other elements that could reduce sliding resistance or result in significant differential settlement.

  1. Poorly constructed and under-reinforced

Poor construction practices may be the result of unethical or inexperienced contractors performing work following norms and plans. 

Poor construction might include things like insufficient mortar or grouting, as well as incorrect steel reinforcement installation. It is recommended that you understand the construction requirements and conditions and thoroughly analyze the plan.

  1. Shallow Footing

A concrete retaining wall with a shallow footing can’t withstand the lateral pressure of soil and water behind it. Gravity walls, which rely primarily on their weight to function, make the depth of the foundation even more critical. It can be prevented if the concrete retaining wall is designed correctly by a professional.

  1. Overloading on top of the concrete retaining wall

A blowout can occur when an additional load, such as a car or a shed, is placed on top of the retaining wall. In this situation, the retaining wall leans over and or even collapses due to the added weight. This can be prevented by having clear communication between the client, contractor, and designer about what materials to use and how to design the concrete retaining wall for the loads that the client requires.

  1. Cheap materials

Cutting corners and using low-cost materials for the concrete retaining wall can result in a significant reduction in load-bearing capability, as well as a rapid failure of the retaining wall.

Common Signs Your Concrete Retaining Wall Needs Repairing

While retaining wall problems can develop over time, true disasters are frequently unexpected. Property damage, personal injury, and even death can occur when your wall no longer keeps its integrity. Don’t ignore the early warning signals of a retaining wall that has to be repaired. 

Here are some common signs that your concrete retaining walls need to be repaired:

  • Bowed and tilted concrete retaining wall
  • Large cracks on the concrete retaining wall
  • Part of the concrete retaining wall is separated from the main structure
  • No water from weep holes after rain
  • Subsidence in surrounding areas

If you notice these common indicators on your concrete retaining wall, it’s a sign that it has to be repaired to avoid total failure and collapse.

How Do You Repair a Poured Concrete Retaining Wall?

If you’re familiar with concrete retaining walls and have a basic understanding of how to work on them, you might be able to fix your retaining wall on your own. Repairing cracks in a concrete retaining wall is the most common type of damage that can be done without the help of a professional.

Here’s an easy, quick step to fix cracks on your concrete retaining wall:

  • Step 1: Clean the cracked area of the concrete retaining wall
  • Step 2: Align injection points with a nail
  • Step 3: Combine the two parts of the epoxy crack sealer in a mixing bowl
  • Step 4: Apply Sealer to the base
  • Step 5: Make a larger batch of epoxy sealer and apply it
  • Step 6: Dispense the LCR Epoxy
  • Step 7: Fill up the ports

Suppose you’re not too familiar and not confident about doing the basic repairing of your concrete retaining wall. In that case, it is always recommended to hire a trusted and reliable contractor for your concrete retaining wall repair needs.

How Do You Fix a Failing Retaining Wall?

It is always recommended to have a professional fix your concrete retaining wall if it is already showing signs of concrete retaining wall failure. However, there are certain things you can do to extend the life of your failing concrete retaining wall until you get an expert to inspect it. 

Use anchors to hold off your failing retaining wall:

  • Wall Anchors: Drive an anchor rod through holes drilled into the retaining wall. The rod assembly is tightened once the wall plate has been placed. This may help to straighten the wall and put it back in its proper place.
  • Helical Anchors: Inserted through a hole made in the retaining wall from the exposed face. The helical blades on the anchor assist in pulling it deep into the soil and anchoring it there. This will help support and brace the retaining wall.

Can You Repair Part of a Retaining Wall?

If you find early indicators of damage on some portions of your concrete walls while others appear to be in good condition, it is highly possible that your concrete retaining wall is already failing as a whole and requires repair. It may only exhibit signs in regions that are severely damaged but not yet in areas that appear to be in good shape.

In some cases, only a portion of a concrete retaining wall needs to be restored, allowing the remaining portions to remain in good shape. However, a professional is needed to inspect and assess the specific state of your concrete retaining wall to determine whether it can be repaired partially or entirely.

Reasons this scenario may occur include the following:

  • Flaws in the construction
  • Low-quality materials
  • The load on the retaining wall isn’t even
  • Flaws in drainage design

How Much Does It Cost To Repair a Retaining Wall?

The typical cost of retaining wall repair in the United States is between $200 and $1,200, with most homeowners spending approximately $600 to patch a few fractures and disintegrating parts. The cost of this job is only $100 to repair a tiny part of the broken wall foundation. The cost of rebuilding a significant piece of a retaining wall is $5,000, which is a high expense for this project.

How Long Should a Retaining Wall Last?

If built by a reputable and trustworthy contractor, a well-constructed concrete retaining wall can last up to 100 years. The average life span of a concrete retaining wall can range from 50 to 100 years.

Arlington Driveway Repair

If you have a damaged or failing retaining wall, hire professional and experienced experts from Arlington Driveway Repair. A top-tier contractor specializing in the repair and construction of concrete retaining walls. For a free quote on your concrete retaining wall needs, contact us today!