Retaining Wall Replacement
Retaining Wall Diagram

All About That Base

The base of a retaining wall is the most important part of the structure.  Without a proper base and subgrade your wall will be structurally unsound and your wall could fall. Starting out with a proper base is the first step into ensuring your project lasts for years.

A common cause of failure on residential projects is when walls are installed next to or along the foundation of a home. When digging the foundation, the hole is typically dug 3’ extra to allow for access to construct the foundation walls on the outside. After the foundation is waterproofed and the drain tile is installed, contractors typically only cover the tile with 12 inches of gravel. The remainder of the hole is filled in with loose soil from the excavation and lightly packed at the surface by machine.

The problem with this is that without a stable base layer, the ground is not strong enough to hold a several ton wall. The wall will settle, potentially sinking or even failing entirely. Surrounding landscaping can sink with the wall and become a huge mess.

Another potential issue is building retaining walls around ponds. While framing a pond with a retaining wall can be stunning, the consistent water action will wear on a improperly built wall in no time without proper subgrade. One to help with structural integrity is to incorporate riprap under the wall. This will greatly help alleviate the issue.

Not only do we install proper subgrade, we also provide subgrade repairs. Places prone to issues include utility trenches, large areas with fill dirt installed, spots that see high water tables and areas that see a lot of surface water. We can fix all of these issues with lasting results.

At Gradex we include proper subgrade installation with all of our jobs, and we will also repair any spots that need help. By starting with a quality base, we ensure that our projects are built to last for decades.