Concrete Retaining Wall vs Timber Retaining Wall

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Concrete retaining walls are often used in gardens and other outdoor landscapes to provide a greater degree of support to the vertically-slanting slopes. This helps in the retention of soil which if left unattended, has a tendency to collapse, adversely affecting the landscape of the garden and the adjoining areas. This form of retained soil is also called backfill.

The primary reason for installing any kind of retaining wall is to limit sloping and soil erosion. It also makes a significant contribution towards making the garden space more aesthetically appealing. Retaining walls can be constructed in many ways with the timber retaining walls being a popular choice. However, concrete retaining walls have emerged as the preferred medium for constructing retaining walls, as they are regarded as a long-term and more durable option.

Timber Retaining Walls

Big timbers are often used to create retaining walls since procuring timber is a much easier and cheaper process than ordering block or poured concrete that is used for constructing a concrete retaining wall. Further, the color and the overall texture of wooden retaining walls made from aged timber adds a more natural appeal to the yard or the garden space. Other reasons that might make timber retaining walls more appealing to some folks is the uncomplicated installation process that is inherent to handling wood for constructional purposes rather than concrete and mortar. From a designing perspective also, wood-made retaining walls offer greater flexibility for styling to ensure that the wall blends in with the surrounding terrain. Wood-based retaining walls have a subtle appearance that is often favored over the edgy appearance that is common to masonry works that are a part of constructing concrete retaining walls.

Concrete Retaining Walls

Despite the advantages listed above, timber retaining walls do not offer the kind of resilience that is offered by concrete-enforced retaining walls. If pressure-treated timber is being used, it has to periodically retreat, which is a time-consuming and tedious process. In terms of the wall height, timber-made retaining walls are limited since the wood-based walls have a restriction in terms of height to ensure greater safety. It should be understood that retaining walls function in a manner similar to river dams. Therefore, retaining walls that are higher and have deeper and heavier soil underneath them, offer greater solidity. Thus, timber-enforced walls, with a lesser base depth and wall height offer reduced overall effectiveness when compared with concrete retaining walls.

Construction Cost

In terms of overall construction costs, concrete retaining walls are outrightly more expensive but these issues seem trivial when compared with the advantages offered by such walls. There are some inconveniences like the requirement of a greater base depth that is needed for creating the foundation of a concrete wall since it is much heavier.

Domestically-installed timber retaining walls use stability-enhancers like fasteners, including nails and bolts that tend to undergo a chemical reaction and corrode the retaining wall’s structure. Timber retaining walls are more susceptible to climate-induced degradation induced by environmental moisture and growth of fungus that causes gradual decay and erodes away the sturdiness of the construction. As a result, timber retaining walls are more vulnerable to developing issues such as tilting and cracking or bowing of the timber that are not found in properly-constructed concrete retaining walls.