The Do’s And Don’ts Of Retaining Wall Repair
In its most basic form, a retaining wall is a supportive barrier designed to block water or prevent soil from shifting. They are most often used on properties with steep gradients — or in areas prone to landslides and flooding.
Although building or repairing a retaining wall is a fairly routine procedure, many homeowners overspend because they approach the process incorrectly. Poor workmanship can create more problems than it fixes, resulting in:
- Higher costs
- Unnecessary delays
- Extensive property damage
The following tips outline some of the most important do’s and don’ts of retaining wall repair — and what steps you can take to optimize the return on your investment.
1. Don’t Ignore the Early Warning Signs of Damage
Retaining wall issues might build slowly — but true catastrophe is usually sudden. When your wall no longer “retains,” then property damage, personal injury and even death can occur.
Don’t make the mistake of ignoring the early warning signs of a retaining wall that needs fixing, including:
- Tiling and pulling
- Rotting (if wood)
- Crumbling (if concrete)
- Soil separation
- Water pooling (around the base)
These telltale indications require immediate intervention — before the problem becomes worse.
2. Never Remove a Retaining Wall
Another common mistake involves removing retaining walls. In most cases, you’re better off replacing individual sections or reinforcing existing segments.
It’s unfortunate, but a surprising number of the jobs we perform are repairs of repairs — drastic fixes for walls that originally required only minor intervention.
3. Avoid DIY Repair Jobs
On the surface, retaining wall repair sounds simple.
Unless you fully understand geotechnical issues like earth retention, soil compaction and water drainage, you’re simply delaying the problem. For long-term structural support, the resistance and pressure must be precise.
This is why you’re better off bringing in a professional.
4. What Makes a Wall Repair Contractor Professional?
There is no official certification or licensing for retaining wall repair. So how do you select a qualified contractor for the job?
Look for experts who specialize in soil stabilization and foundation repair. Depending on your state, these two fields sometimes do carry licensing requirements.
5. Always Invest in Quality
When done correctly, retaining wall repair is extremely affordable. So resist the temptation to shop for deals or cookie-cutter solutions — especially if doing so means sacrificing quality.
As with most home improvements, shoddy parts and labor will cost more in the long run. When dealing with retaining walls specifically — one size does not fit all. Any repair jobs should be custom designed to meet the unique soil, water and slope requirements of each property.
Have More Questions about Retaining Wall Repair?
Is your wall showing signs of decay? Not quite sure how to get started?