Pros and Cons of Precast Concrete Retaining Walls

A retaining wall.

There are a couple of methods to use when building concrete retaining walls. You can use pressure treated posts and boards or precast concrete posts and panels and blocks. This article will concentrate on discussing the pros and cons of the latter two methods.

Pro: Variety of Styles

Precast concrete retaining walls can be made in a variety of styles. Post and flat panel, preformed block, and even standard bricks all fall into this category. The type of style you choose will depend on the functional need and your personal taste.

Pro: Made to Measure

Concrete flat panels can be made to order based on the measurements you provide to the manufacturer. Generally, the panels can be made as wide and as high as 12 feet, so they can fit just about any application.

Pro: Strength

Concrete retaining walls are extremely strong and actually increase in strength as time goes on and the concrete continues to cure. Precast concrete structures can have a useful life of 100 years or more.

Pro: Durability

Prestressed concrete panels are very durable due to their high load capacity. Concrete walls also resist the adverse effects of repeated thawing and freezing in colder climates. Blocks and panels produced from denser concrete will also provide greater resistance to water infiltration and dampness.

Pro: Precast Holes and Grooves

Precast concrete panels and blocks can be cast with any necessary holes, grooves, or channels you will need for your construction project. Pre-cut weep holes for water dispersion or channels for wiring make the installation go much faster and you avoid having to cut them on-site.

Pro: Ease of Installation

Once the initial footings are dug and poured, concrete retaining walls are relatively easy to install. If you are building a concrete block wall, spending the time to level the first row of blocks will make the rest of the installation a snap and will provide the eye pleasing results you are looking for.

Pro: Maintenance

Concrete retaining walls are fairly easy to maintain. Regularly inspect the wall for any cracks or loose blocks and repair with mortar if necessary. A yearly cleaning to remove any mold or mildew from the wall will keep it looking pleasant and help prevent problems in years to come.

Con: Job Size

Construction projects involving larger precast concrete panels are not for the average do-it-yourselfer and will require a contractor. This will increase the cost of the project but it will ensure the job is completed safely and properly.

Con: Availability

Not everyone can make precast concrete and those manufacturers that can need to be certified. This will be something you need to think about before you start your large flat panel wall.