What Piling Walls Do: The Purpose of Retaining Walls Built on Piles


Have you ever wondered how a structure built on piles can help to prevent land erosion or other damage?

Pile retaining walls are an effective way of preventing erosion, providing support in areas with weak soils, and creating a stable foundation for structures. They can be used in all kinds of construction projects, from bridges to docks, and even in residential projects.

In this article, we will explain what pile retaining walls are and their purpose. We’ll also discuss the materials used in pile wall construction and the advantages they offer over other types of retaining walls. Finally, we’ll give you some tips on how to design a pile retaining wall to best suit your needs.

Piling Walls Provide Structural Support

Piling walls provide vital structural support by preventing slope and soil erosion, particularly in areas with steep angles and/or heavy rains. By using piles as the main form of support, these walls can be built higher and more quickly than traditional retaining walls, which must be built one layer of blocks at a time. Additionally, piles can be driven into the ground with less disruption to the surrounding soil, allowing for faster construction times and less labor costs in the long-run.

Piling walls are also beneficial when it comes to protecting existing structures from movement due to erosion or seismic activity. The extra support created by the piles helps prevent landslides or shifting soils that may otherwise cause damage to existing structures or underground utilities such as sewer lines.

Retaining walls made from piles are also often used to redirect water away from homes or other structures. This is especially important in areas where storms or floods often occur, as a pile wall prevents surrounding water from flooding nearby properties. Through this method of protection, piling walls can save homeowners hundreds of dollars in damages and repairs each year.

Piling Walls Prevent Soil Erosion

Pile retaining walls, also known as piling walls, are structures designed to prevent soil erosion. They are built on piles that are driven or drilled into the ground until they reach a firm layer of soil or rock underneath. The piles help prevent the wall from shifting and provide enough support to hold back the soil of the hill or slope while other materials, such as concrete blocks, are stacked on top.

This type of structure is particularly effective for large-scale engineering projects, such as bridges and highways that need to pass through mountainous regions. By providing a stable foundation for roads and other structures, pile retaining walls reduce the risk of landslides and other natural disasters caused by soil erosion.

Thanks to their moisture-resistant materials and strong foundations, pile retaining walls provide stability in environments with rapidly changing weather conditions. They also help to contain runoff water and debris that accumulate during heavy rains and flooding events by preventing them from flowing down hillsides into nearby rivers or lakes.

Piling Walls Create Usable Space

Piling walls are ideal for reclaiming unusable external land and integrating it into a usable space. The purpose of a pile retaining wall is to allow the construction of additional elements to the property, such as patios, walkways, stairs and other structures.

The piles act as anchors, distributing the weight of the structure across a larger area and creating a stable foundation. This makes them invaluable for coastal areas that are vulnerable to erosion or other natural disasters.

Furthermore, with the right materials and design, piling walls can also be incorporated into the landscape to blend with the environment while still providing protection and creating a more esthetically pleasing space.

Whether you’re planning on adding extra space for storage or recreation areas in your property, using piling walls is an effective way to maximize land usage without compromising on safety.

The Different Types of Pile Retaining Walls

Pile retaining walls are an excellent way to protect your property from erosion and landslides, as well as support structures, like roads, bridges, and building foundations. There are several types of pile retaining walls that can be used, depending on the load-bearing capacity needed and the purpose of the wall.

Cantilever Piles

Cantilever piles are the most commonly used type of pile retaining wall. This type of wall utilizes large steel or concrete piles driven into the ground at a specific angle and interconnected with horizontal tie-backs. Cantilever piles can provide a strong system for any soil and are capable of supporting significant loading conditions in order to prevent landslides or soil erosion.

Anchored Piles

Anchored pile walls use piles that are driven into the ground and then secured with brackets, cables, or rods at the top and bottom of each pile. These walls are commonly used in locations where there is an unbalanced load on one side, such as a hillside or an uneven driveway area. The pile anchors provide support in order to prevent any shifting of material due to erosion or other factors.

Sheet Piles

Sheet piling is another type of pile retaining wall that uses interlocking sheets along with vertical posts driven into the ground below. These walls offer greater stability than some other types, as they can reach much deeper depths than cantilever or anchored systems. Sheet piling is often used to guard against flooding in areas prone to high water levels or excessive rain accumulation.

Piling Wall Construction and Design Considerations

Piling wall construction consists of a series of steel piles driven into the ground which support a retaining wall structure. This wall prevents soil from eroding and gives stability to the structure.

The design considerations for a piling wall include:


The location of the pile must be taken into account since it needs to be in an area that provides enough stability for the soil, as well as offering enough space for the construction of the piling wall.


The loads applied on the piles must be assessed in order to determine what type of reinforcement is needed, such as bars or cables, to ensure they can support the additional weight.

Soil Conditions

The soil condition and composition are essential considerations when constructing a piling wall so that any potential problems with water movement or stability can be avoided. The soil should have good compaction so that it can offer sufficient structural support when combined with the pile installation.


The anchorage systems used in piling walls are also important and need to be carefully considered in order to provide secure anchoring for both short and long-term solutions.

Cost of Piling Walls: What Impacts the Price?

Piling walls are a cost-effective option when looking to build a retaining wall. But, there are many factors that can impact the price of such a wall. These include:


The geographical region where the wall will be built can have a significant impact on its cost. If the property is located in an area with harsh weather conditions or if it is difficult to access, the costs for materials and labor may be higher than if it is set in an easier location.

Materials Used

The materials used for a piling wall will also affect its overall cost. Different types of wood and metal each have their own pros and cons and associated costs. The size and weight of the piles needed will also vary based on the particular material chosen, thereby impacting the final price.


Labor costs can also vary depending on region, qualifications of personnel involved in building and assembling the wall, access to machinery, etc.

In short, piling walls are an economical choice for constructing retaining walls but it pays to do some research about the factors that contribute to the cost of such an undertaking before getting started on your project.


Pile retaining walls provide essential protection against erosion and land erosion, and they aid in the construction of permanent structures that are safe and secure. Beyond providing stability, they can improve the esthetics of a site, increase the usable land area and provide support for buildings in unstable soil conditions. With their numerous advantages, pile walls are a valuable and cost-effective tool for construction projects of any size.

If you have any further questions or need assistance, please feel free to contact us.

Invest in a well-constructed wall.

To guarantee that you will receive the benefits that come with having retaining walls, have them be constructed by a professional licensed contractor in your area. 

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