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How much does it cost to install a concrete retaining wall?

Soil erosion if left alone, can unquestionably be a disaster.  Erosion has a significant impact on landscapes and fertile land areas. One of the reasons behind this problem lies in the fact that degraded soil is less able to hold water flow, which can cause issues with many buildings and structures. To combat this, experts came up with many possible solutions. This is why professionals advise building concrete retaining walls.

Building retaining walls makes a significant difference in preventing further soil destruction, especially in the landscaping industry. This would mean that when water runs through the soil, the possibility that soil may erode is greatly reduced. But are concrete retaining walls truly worth their price? To answer this question, let us look into the costs and expenses you need to prepare beforehand for your project.

How much does it cost to build a concrete retaining wall?

Concrete is extremely strong, a vital quality when you’re talking about holding up tons of earth and water. After installation, your concrete retaining wall will continue to cure in place, further increasing its strength. (1)

There are many factors that will influence the total cost of constructing a retaining wall. It is important to note that with proper planning, you can save a lot of money.





To determine the cost of installing a concrete retaining wall, specific areas can be broken down. The main things you have to consider will be labor costs, wall design, and the specific material that you will use.

Are concrete retaining walls more expensive?

Using concrete can certainly be expensive when compared to the costs of using another material. However, because concrete retaining walls have a proven record of their durability and top-notch quality, they have become one of the most commonly used types of retaining walls to construct. This is exactly the reason why concrete is used whether for residential, commercial, or even industrial projects.




The costs of using poured vs. standard concrete blocks

Poured concrete, which is the material often used in retaining wall installation, is considered the perfect choice for large-scale projects. However, for many residential purposes, it may be overkill to use them, especially if the need is only for aesthetic reasons. This is because poured concrete can cost around $20 to $25. In this case, using CMU or cinder blocks that cost $10 to $15 may be the best option.

The other remaining retaining walls can be built in a short period and appear to be cost-effective; however, when it comes to reliability, concrete is the most flexible material for a variety of wall installation projects. On average, a 17-inch concrete block mainly used for decorative landscaping typically costs at least $500 per pallet. Depending on the structure, it can cover approximately 30 to 35 square feet of a wall, which costs between $12 and $14 per block.

Installation costs at a glance

How much will the labor cost in building concrete retaining walls? Usually, many contractors will typically charge their rates from the range of $50 to $80 per hour.

Adding a particular design will of course earn you an extra cost. A stamped design can be an additional $3 to $5 per square foot or more, depending on the ease of installation. Interlocking concrete blocks typically costs between $2 and $10 per block. Generally, a good quality concrete retaining wall may cost $3,000 to $10,000 on average.

If you want a concrete retaining wall that stands around 3 to 6 feet tall, keep in mind that it typically costs $60 to $270 per linear foot. Of course, the total cost will ultimately depend on the size of your wall, the materials used, your location, and the necessary equipment.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1.     What is the cheapest type of retaining wall?

When it comes to the material, a wood retaining wall is the most cost-effective and practical option. On average, it could cost around $15 to $25 per square foot.  Since it has a cozy appeal, many owners love using this material for the new addition on their lawns. Unfortunately, several professionals discouraged property owners and landscapers from choosing wood as it may easily get damaged and will deteriorate over time, causing you to spend a lot more money much sooner. Not to mention, insects and termites may use the material as their home once it starts to rot when frequently exposed to wet weather.

On the other hand, the cheapest retaining wall when it comes to type is a gravity wall. This is because gravity walls are often average in height and do not include reinforcements. However, they are only best if the structure will not be holding back heavy amounts of soil and if the area is not too sloped.

2.     How long can concrete retaining walls be expected to last?

Like stone and brick, concrete retaining walls can certainly hold their own when it comes to durability. As mentioned earlier, they are the greatest in terms of longevity, quality, and weather resistance. Most concrete retaining walls have a lifespan of 50 to 100 years. However, how long it lasts will ultimately depend on various factors, such as how it was installed, the quality of the design, the soil quality, drainage systems, and the weather in your area.

What about the other retaining wall types? On average, wood has the shortest lifespan which could be just a few years. Gabion retaining walls can last a long time as well, usually around 50 years, although compared to concrete, it requires more maintenance and care.

  1. What is the recommended thickness of a concrete retaining wall?

The typical thickness of concrete retaining walls is from 6 to 12 inches. However, the thickness of a wall is determined by its purpose, height, type of reinforcement, structure, block type, and type of soil. As an example, the recommended structure of a retaining wall is that is 8 inches thick will usually apply for walls that are 4 to 6 feet tall.

Are concrete retaining walls worth it?

“Good builders are able to think creatively and overcome the challenges they face.”

Without a doubt, having a concrete retaining wall installed can increase your property’s value. As long as it is properly designed, it can prove to be a long-lasting, high-quality, and durable structure on your lawn. Especially when using appropriate materials partnered with good maintenance, you can be confident that it will serve its function for a long period of time.

Building retaining walls may appear simple, but the process of installing them can be very complex. In many cases where a wall exceeds a certain measurement, securing a permit and getting the help of a professional such as a civil engineer may be a requirement you have to follow. This will ensure that the retaining wall will do its job of keeping soil in place and act as a functional barricade.

If you want a more thorough assessment, do not hesitate to ask experts. Feel free to get in touch with us now. Our experienced team will make sure to give appropriate suggestions to make the price suitable for your budget.

  1. Concrete Retaining Wall Pros and Cons | Networkx

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