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The Components of a Retaining Wall

A retaining wall is made up of several components. These components include the Base slab footing and Shear key, Stem and Construction joint. Each component of a retaining walls makes it more durable. If you’re a beginner, you should learn about these components before you start your project.

Base slab footing

The base slab footing of a retaining wall is the bottom portion of the foundation. A concrete material is used to construct by retaining wall contractors adelaide. The base slab footing must also be resisted laterally. The bottom of the footing is referred to as the footing restraint. In the case of a battered wall, the thickness of the base slab footing is the same as the thickness of the wall at the top.

When calculating the base slab footing of a retaining wall, the soil density on the heel and toe sides is considered. These values will be used for calculating the lateral force coefficients K. They can be input directly or with the help of a negative slope. You should know the lateral force coefficient of your soil before starting any design project.

The base slab footing should be cast at least one foot below the final grade, preferably two feet. It should be at least nine inches thick. It must be at minimum 2′ 6 inches thick if the base slab is made from clays. Concrete block columns should be supported by square footings of at least two feet in diameter, and are typically 12 inches thick. The footings should have a half-inch diameter steel bar or steel mesh.

In general, the base slab footing of a retaining wall is composed of bearing materials of Class 1 to nine inclusive. The bearing materials shall be preferably nonplastic and shall have a particle size of at least fifteen percent of the No. 200 mesh sieve. Concrete placement must be done in measured batches to determine the impact energy for each unit of concrete. After the concrete plug is ejected, a minimum of one Standard Batch Volume (SBD) shall be injected into the base slab footing.

Shear key

When constructing a retaining wall landscapers adelaide, the shear key is an important component. This structure is installed below the footings and base slab, and it prevents the walls from sliding. This is done by applying an extra passive earth pressure to the walls that is greater than the active pressure.

A typical retaining wall has four main components: the stem, which holds backfill; toe and heel, which are portions of the footing that run along either side of it; and the shear keys, which extend under the footing. Below is an illustration of the geometry of these four components. Each component resists the backfill’s loads.

Shear keys can withstand lateral loads from either above or below and they also strengthen the bond between different concrete surfaces. Shear keys provide improved bonding between old and new concrete, and they can help to reduce the amount of wall sliding. In addition, they increase the rotation of the stem of a wall, making it more stable. Shear keys are especially important for footings that must withstand higher forces or deformations.

A shear key can prevent structural components from shifting in the event of a strong earthquake. Multiple shear keys can improve the structure’s stability.


A stem is the vertical part of a retaining walls. The stem extends forward approximately one-third the width of the base. There can be up to five sections to the stem. Each segment represents a change of reinforcing material, size, and spacing. Most walls will only have two or three changes in stem sections.

The stem wall is commonly used on houses with full basements. They are most common in the Northeast and mid-Atlantic regions. Usually, the stem wall is made of concrete or masonry blocks. These materials are stronger than the base but also more expensive. You can also make the stem from preservative-treated or untreated wood.

Another common mistake in retaining walls is using too much horizontal reinforcement. The concrete shrinking will cause cracks in the stem of a retaining wall if it is not reinforced well enough. The spacing of the control joist will determine how much horizontal reinforcement is used to prevent the stem from cracking. The wider the spacing, the more reinforcement is necessary.

It is important to plan a retaining wall by considering how each component will be designed. Essentially, a retaining wall has three parts: a base slab, a stem, and a counterfort. Each element serves a unique purpose and is designed to resist any forces that are placed upon it.

Another consideration when planning a retaining wall is safety. The wall must be designed so it can withstand sliding and overturning. A retaining wall should have a factor of safety of at least 1.5. The pressure under the footing should not exceed the allowable bearing pressure of the soil. Tables 1 and 2 in TEK 14-4A discuss the factors of safety of retaining walls.

Construction joint

Construction joint of retaining wall is a joint in retaining wall construction. It is used to divide large concrete work and prevent in-work during the construction. It does not affect the wall’s structural strength. However, it is necessary to clean and inspect the construction joint before starting concrete work. It is possible for the joint to become too hard during construction.

A construction joint is an essential element in retaining walls. It should be located between the lateral supports in the middle third of the wall’s span. It should also be embedded in 12 inches from both sides. The construction joint should not be in the way of the lateral support. It should be placed and designed according to the requirements for the project.

Construction joints should have low permeability. This will help reduce the risk of cracks and other damage. It should be spaced so that panels are not curved but square. The length-to-width ratio should be at least 1:1.5. In addition, the joint should not exceed 24 or 30 times the thickness of the slab.

It is very important for construction joints of retaining walls to be strong enough to withstand the weight of water. Water pressure can build up in walls due to water leakage. This pressure can weaken the rock and reduce its stiffness. After examining the parameters of the joint, the water bar is installed. There are many ways to determine the spacing of control joints. One of the most common methods is the empirical method.

Segmental retaining wall unit

A concrete masonry unit that is segmental retaining wall units is called a concrete masonry unit. Its function is to provide mass and structural stability, as well as durability and visual enhancement at the face of the wall. Segmental retaining walls are often used to stabilize sloped terrain. Segmental retaining walls have a higher vertical spacing between geosynthetic layers than traditional retaining walls.

A segmental retaining walls unit is usually made from portland cement and water. It can also contain suitable minerals aggregates. It is important to choose a segmental retaining wall unit with the proper load-carrying capacity. To determine if units are available with the features you require, it is best to speak to a local supplier.

Segmental retaining walls can be either single-depth or soil-reinforced. The table used in this article is based on conservative assumptions, and they should not be used as a substitute for a project-specific design. Differences in assumptions and actual project-specific parameters can lead to substantial differences in the final design dimensions. For example, a segmental wall can be much taller than its intended height if the design is based on a single depth.

Segmental retaining walls units are available in many colors, shapes, sizes. Whether you want to create a straight line, a curved step, or a corner, a segmental retaining wall unit is the right solution for you. It must also have a maximum moisture absorption of 1.0 kN/cubic m or 6.5 pounds per cubic foot.

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