Retaining walls are a beautiful element to add to any outdoor living space. Not only does the natural stone look gorgeous and elevate the value of your home and garden, but it also solves uneven grading, hills, soil erosion, and stormwater flow around your home. So, when you notice signs that your wall isn’t structurally sound, it’s time to search for retaining wall companies and select one to repair or replace it.
Dutchies Stoneworks is a natural stone masonry contractor who is well-versed in building high-quality retaining walls. For over 15 years, we’ve helped homeowners like you with all their custom outdoor living spaces using the timeless elegance of natural stone. We can help you repair or replace your stone retaining wall so that it’s pleasing to the eye and structurally sound.
How Do I Know if I Need to Replace My Retaining Wall?
Your retaining wall serves a valuable purpose and is an essential element to preventing ponding water at the base of your home. If your backyard has a large hill, installing a retaining wall with a stone stairway can help navigate the terrain easier and define areas of your landscaping. Unfortunately, if built improperly or without proper drainage, you’ll need to call Dutchies, a retaining wall company, to repair or replace it before it collapses.
While there is no way to accuarately predict collapse, there are some six signs that could indicate your retaining wall is in trouble:
1. Bulging or Bowing
If you notice that your retaining wall has a bulge where some of the stones are further out than others, this situation could signify that the wall holds more weight than its design allows.
A retaining wall that is leaning indicates that its reinforcement wasn’t adequate. The shallow footing isn’t strong enough to hold the weight of the wall, and it needs repairing.
A retaining wall shouldn’t crumble, and crumbling may indicate that it wasn’t constructed properly. You need to search for retaining wall companies and select one for repairs immediately if you notice the stones begin to crumble in your retaining wall.
Bricks or stones may crack if there is a water management issue. The water behind the walls creates hydraulic pressure, pushes the wall, and cracks the stone.
If your retaining wall is separating into distinctive sections or the stones are separating, it’s likely going to collapse soon. Call a retaining wall company immediately for a consultation to find the best solution to replace it.
Is water leaking through your retaining wall after storms? If so, that’s a good indication you have drainage issues that need repairing before it destroys your retaining wall.
How Long Should a Retaining Wall Last?
When appropriately installed with high-quality natural stone or brick and with proper water drainage, a stone retaining wall done right will last 60-100 years. Suppose you put in a retaining wall a few decades ago or less and have noticed any of the six signs we mentioned. In that case, it’s likely the contractor didn’t follow the necessary installation guidelines, or it was engineered improperly.
What Can a Homeowner Do to Maintain Their Retaining Wall?
To make sure that your retaining wall lasts for as long as it should, there are some maintenance tasks you can do:
- Ensure that only a qualified retaining wall company builds your retaining wall. At Duchies, we recommend a reinforced concrete wall with a two-inch stone veneer. The concrete helps support the structure, while the natural stone gives you that elegant look you want.
- Divert water that’s running to your wall to prevent water management issues
- If your retaining wall has pipes to drain water, ensure they stay open and unclogged
What Causes a Retaining Wall to Fail?
We’ve already mentioned several reasons why a retaining wall may fail. A retaining wall company that wasn’t qualified or experienced enough to install a complex structure may have installed it improperly, leading to weakness, bulging, and separating. Contractors may have installed the wall with poor-quality materials that can’t withstand the weight of the soil, which may cause the stones to crack or crumble.
A third reason why retaining walls fail is because of drainage issues. The water builds up behind the wall in cracks and crevices without proper drainage. Eventually, the pressure of this water builds and causes the stones or bricks to shift. Another reason is that a tree root has grown underneath and caused a shift in the structure.
Which Retaining Wall Company Should I Call for Repair?
No matter what is causing your retaining wall to fail, you need a reliable stone masonry contractor to replace the wall before it collapses. We know how frustrating it is to replace a stone retaining wall, especially if it hasn’t been that long since it was installed. But if you don’t and the retaining wall collapses during a heavy rainstorm, your home and landscaping could face severe water damage and flooding.
Save yourself the headache and hassle that comes with retaining wall collapse by getting it replaced by a reliable retaining wall company, like Dutchies Stoneworks. Our expert team of stonemasons will take on your wall project as if it were our own home and get it back to functional condition, so you don’t have to worry about what will happen if it collapses.
Schedule your consultation today to ensure that you protect your home before it’s too late.