Retaining Wall Retaining walls are one of the masonry structures that require more labor, care and attention to detail in order to avoid structural failure down the road.

We are going to list a few pointers... but if the wall is taller than 30" our recomendation is to look for professional help as you will start needing permits, plans and other items.

In general, retaining Walls are structures meant to hold the weight of the soil on a previously existing slope. If your property has a big slope that creates unusable space, a retaining wall might be right for you.

There are three main types of walls:
- Masonry walls: created by stone, concrete or other type of permanent material.
- Gravity Walls: created by interlocking concrete blocks that are dry stacked.
- Wooden Walls: created by using timbers or other kind of structural wood.
All of them have pros and cons that might make one more favorable for your house than the other.

- Masonry Retaining Walls:

Retaining Wall These walls consist of big reinforced footings that will hold either a stone wall, a brick wall or a concrete wall. Disregarding the chosen material, all walls need to be reinforced accordingly with their length and height. The taller the wall, the more load it will need to sustain.

These types of retaining walls are stationary. They do not allow for movement other than contraction and expansion, so a proper drainage will need to be installed at the bottom as well as a layer of gravel from top to bottom on the back of the wall. Remember, the more water you evacuate from behind the wall, the less pressure the wall will have to fight against.

Retaining Wall

- Gravity Walls:

Gravity Wall is a term that is becoming more popular these days. It is a wall created of interlocking concrete blocks. These pieces sit on top of each other without the need of any cement or mortar, and are able to hold the weight of a mountain by just their own design, shape and a little set back.
These walls do allow for more movement than the masonry walls, but such movement (other than expansion and contraction) is still not desired. So, remember that strong footings and proper drainage is still mandatory.

These walls use an anchoring systems to lock the blocks in place, but since their installation is faster, the cost of these walls is reduced in many situations.

- Timber Walls:

Retaining Wall This last option consist on installing rail road ties, also known as timbers, horizontally to create a retaining wall.

These walls are the most cost economical option to create a quick wall that will last many years, but it has the downside of needing replacement sooner than the two previous options. Depending on the type of wood and terrain, wooden walls will need some type of maintenance or replacement pieces after 10-15 years. This is why we only build them when budgeting is a big issue.

In almost every city in Maryland, all walls higher than 30" will require a permit, and all walls higher than 4' will require engineered plans and other procurements. We will help you along the way through every process. Please, retaining walls might become a hazard when built by a non licensed contractor. Do your research before hiring somebody!!!

A retaining wall installation is more complicated that what it might seem. There are many details and techniques that are not explained here. If you need a professional to install or just help you with your project, gives us a call. We offer free estimates for all Montgomery County and Maryland!

Rocha Construction: (301) 717-8310

It is NOT allowed to use our pictures without our written consent.
It is NOT allowed to use our pictures without our written consent.
Rocha Construction, LLC
(301) 717-8310
MHIC: 96026
Working Area: Bethesda, Potomac, Chevy Chase, Rockville, Silver Spring, Gaithersburg, Germantown, Olney, Montgomery Village, Wheaton, Kensington, and more in Montgomery County, Maryland!