Preventative Measures: Why You Should Waterproof Your Retaining Wall

Yes, waterproofing your retaining wall is crucial for its longevity and the overall stability of the area it supports. Water infiltration can weaken the wall's structure over time, leading to cracks and even collapse. Waterproofing helps prevent this damage by creating a barrier against moisture. It also protects against hydrostatic pressure from built-up water behind the wall, which can cause bulging and further structural issues.

3 Reasons to Waterproof a Retaining Wall

Here are 3 reasons to waterproof your retaining wall:

1. Structural Integrity

Poor drainage is a common problem with retaining walls because of hydrostatic pressure. Waterproofing helps keep your wall strong, sturdy, and functional. It staves off excess water, which can seep through and damage the structure. It also deters soil erosion

2. Protection Against Water Damage

Good waterproofing is the antidote to water damage. It keeps water from sneaking into your wall and causing soil erosion. It also protects your home and other buildings from the impact of the damage.

3. Mold and Mildew Prevention

Mold and mildew thrive in environments where excess moisture reigns. They both cause damage to your wall and can irritate respiratory conditions. Good waterproofing will protect your health and safety by preventing mold and mildew growth.

Waterproofing Method for Your Retaining Wall

1. Sheer Membranes

Apply these as a barrier against water damage to your wall. Sheer membranes come in sheets and form a protective wall that's easy to install. Plus, it offers long-term protection and increases the lifespan.

2. Liquid Membrane

Liquid membranes form a seamless coat that's watertight and guards against water damage. It's ideal for a variety of wall surfaces, including stone. However, it's a complicated process and requires skill. You must be well-trained in using the right materials, including the applicator.

3. Cementitious Waterproofing

Apply a cement blend to your retaining wall as a protective coat to guard against water damage. This method is best for concrete walls because it improves their durability. You can also use it with other methods for greater protection. You can even add a special chemical to the blend to improve this effect. This is known as integral waterproofing.

4. Drainage Systems

A good drainage system redirects excess water away from your wall. You can add perforated pipes, weep holes, or drainage mats along the bottom of the wall. Drainage systems must be used as a supplement to other waterproofing methods in order to be fully effective at keeping water away.

5. Bentonite Clay

Bentonite clay is a dual-layer substance that's eco-friendly and offers optimal protection from water damage. When combined with water, the clay expands to create a watertight seal that waterproofs your wall. Because of its strength, Bentonite Clay is best when paired with concrete or steel walls.

How to Waterproof a Retaining Wall?

There are several steps to waterproofing your retaining wall.

You start by cleaning it off thoroughly. Wipe off any grime, dirt, or dust with a damp cloth. Brush off any loose debris, such as grass or branches.

Next, do a thorough inspection. Check your wall for any cracks, holes, or other flaws. Smooth everything out with a piece of sandpaper and apply a cement blend to fill in the cracks. Let everything dry for a few hours before moving on.

Apply the correct waterproof coating as directed. If it's a cement wall, use a cement mixture. This will help it blend right into the structure without a lot of problems. Once you've added the coat, detail it thoroughly. Smooth over all areas to ensure that the coat is even.

The Benefits of Waterproofing Your Retaining Wall

Good waterproofing has other benefits for your retaining wall. It keeps your soil safe and helps guard against landslides. It also decreases hydrostatic pressure and keeps your wall steady and free from mold and mildew. This level of protection will extend the longevity of your wall for many years.

Keep in mind that a good drainage setup is an important part of a good waterproofing system. It directs surplus water from your wall and helps keep your property safe from damage. This includes your landscapes, gardens, and patios.

Choosing the right drainage system depends on wall size, soil type, and regional climate. Most homeowners opt for a perforated pipe because it's easy to install. Just place it inside a trench and conceal it with a drainage fabric to block out soil and prevent clogs. Water flows directly into the pipe and is carried right into the drain.

Good waterproofing systems may be costly, but the benefits are worth it. Plus, they can help you save on expensive repairs for your wall and your property.

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Frequently Asked Questions

A leaning retaining wall is a serious issue that shouldn't be ignored. The first step is to stop any further leaning by removing pressure from the soil behind the wall. This might involve removing plants or objects adding weight. For a permanent solution, consult a professional. They can diagnose the cause of the lean and recommend repairs, which may involve rebuilding the wall with proper drainage or using anchors to pull the wall back upright.

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