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Do you need a retaining wall installed? Or perhaps you're not sure what a retaining wall is for yet? That's alright, Competitive Concrete is one of the leading concrete companies in the greater Vancouver area and we routinely receive requests for retaining walls. On this page we'll go over the details of retaining walls and what you need to know for your Vancouver home or business.
What is a Retaining Wall?
A retaining wall is a structure that holds or retains soil behind it. There are many types of materials that can be used to create retaining walls like concrete blocks, poured concrete, treated timbers, rocks or boulders. Some are easy to use, others have a shorter life span, but all can retain soil.
There are quite a few things that need to be kept in mind when considering what kind of retaining wall you need. For example, is the soil sand, clay, or something in between? What is above the wall: a driveway or something heavier like a pool? Will the ground above or below the wall be level or sloped? What is the height of the wall and how many steps does it have? Every one of these questions must be answered when considering a retaining wall.
Safety is a big factor in retaining walls. The stability of the wall is the number one concern for any owner.
Many people will try to cut corners when having a retaining wall installed. They may think that it's just a small part of the overall construction and they can save money by using a cheaper material or have an inexperienced contractor do the job. The problem with this is that it could lead to injury or even death.
Contractors should always be chosen carefully, they need to have the proper equipment and insurance in case something does go wrong. The other owner wants to avoid any long term or short term damage that might come from poor quality building materials.
If the wall is not built properly there could be issues with the soil and the wall could collapse. This will not only damage the wall, but anything behind it or below it such as a pool or house foundation.
Types of Retaining Walls
There are many different materials that can be used to build a retaining wall. Some are better for certain areas than others so you have to keep this in mind when choosing what kind of wall you want installed. The following is a list of the most common types of retaining walls and their uses:
Concrete Block Retaining Walls
These are probably the easiest type of retaining wall to build and install. They usually range from 1 ½" to 2 ½" thick and come in 12" or 8" heights.
The primary material used for this type of wall is concrete, so it's known as a concrete block retaining wall. When choosing one of these walls you would have to decide whether you want concrete blocks or fabric blocks.
Concrete blocks are filled with concrete and the seams are filled with a strong adhesive before being set in place.
Fabric blocks have a plastic mesh on one side that holds the wet mixture of sand and cement together as they dry.
Poured Concrete Retaining Walls
These walls are very versatile, but they're usually better if you're looking to build something that's more decorative than functional. They consist of a mixture of concrete and can vary in thickness depending on what they need to support.
They require a lot of work and often times the poured concrete retaining walls are expensive and not worth it for small projects, but when done properly they can last a long time.
Timber Retaining Walls
These are probably the most common type of retaining wall and they're made from wooden boards that can be fastened together to create a durable structure. They're very versatile and easier to build than concrete or poured concrete providing they're built properly and installed on a level surface.
Be sure to use treated lumber for these types of walls, preferably boards that have been given a few coats of paint to protect the wood from rot and decay.
Rock or Boulders Retaining Walls
This is probably one of the most unique wall types because it's primarily made from rocks and boulders. They're typically used in areas where there isn't a lot to work with when it comes to the soil, but they can also be quite effective when built between sloped surfaces.
These types of retaining walls are usually installed by a professional and require a certain type of foundation. It's important that you don't just throw some rocks together because they won't last very long if the base isn't properly prepared.
Contact Competitive Concrete For Your Retaining Walls
Retaining walls can be quite dangerous if not built properly. Competitive Concrete has the experience and dedication needed to get the project done right the first time around and will ensure that yours is built to code and with the highest safety standards. Contact us today if you're looking for more information on how we can help with your retaining wall project.
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THE COMPETITIVE CONCRETE PROCESS
Competitive Concrete Contractors is all about creating the strongest, most beautiful concrete structures and forms for your home or commercial location. Whether you're looking to add on a stamped concrete patio or outdoor living space in the backyard, add or replace your driveway, or have epoxy floor coatings done, we can create something that fits perfectly with what's going on around it and meets any specifications needed. With us you'll find cash discounts, financing options, and more. Few contractors in the country, much less the Greater Vancouver area, work harder than us to deliver amazing customer experiences.
The quoting stage is fairly straight forward but shouldn't be underestimated. So many bad reviews and negative press could be avoided if more contractors took the time to truly listen to their customers. At CCC, we prioritize listening to you so we fully understand 1) What you want, 2) What's in the budget, 3) How we're going to make those two things match so we can fully match goals, expectations, and results. This is the only way to do it to predictably get great results and amazing reviews from our customer base.
After the details have been worked out and the plans set, there's only one thing left to do. We'll follow the agreed upon plan closely and if any changes need to be made, you will be consulted beforehand to ensure everything is the way you want it when the project is done. We've learned that nothing replaces good old fashioned communication so if this is a project with many steps and a longer time frame than a simple step, sidewalk, or smaller project, we promise to keep you up to date and in the loop with all major steps.
Most companies say that every job is equally important, but the truth is that a $300 step isn't the same as a $30,000 project that incorporates slab work, stamped concrete, stains, decoration, etc. But with a great concrete contractor that doesn't mean your $300 step is going to suck. With the right company, there will be plenty of catches to make sure every job, small or big, is completed at or above your expectations. The review process is how we insure that happens with each and every customer of ours.