When to Repair your Retaining Walls?


Are you starting to notice early signs of damage or problems in your retaining wall? The good thing is, most minor issues can be easily fixed without hiring a professional. However, if you notice a major issue like a failure in the drainage system, you might need a professional to check that for you. 

There are a lot of factors that cause your retaining wall to fail. Noticing these signs earlier can save you from spending a lot on repairs and replacements. Retaining walls are generally made to last for years and can combat wear and tear.

Most Common Signs of Retaining Wall Damage

Crumbling Mortar

If the mortar mix has been applied incorrectly or weathered, it will crumble and will affect the stability of the retaining wall. If you notice a powdery mortar, remove the loose debris using a chisel – make sure not to damage or destroy the wall.

Fill the holes again with a new mortar mix to fill in the gap.


Cracks are common in retaining walls, but cracks weaken the structure of the wall. 

Minor cracks can be easily repaired with an epoxy or concrete repair kit. For major cracks, it is best to replace them completely to increase the strength of the wall.

Damaged Timber

Damaged timber can be due to insects or excess moisture. If you notice that your timber wall is starting to rot, you will have to remove and replace all damaged wood with new timbers. Putting galvanized posts between the woods is recommended to make it more durable.

Leaning Retaining Wall

If you notice that your small retaining wall is leaning in the wrong direction, you can dismantle and rebuild the retaining wall. Ensure that the footings you will use are strong enough to be a strong foundation.

Why Do Retaining Walls Fail?

The first thing you should do when you notice a problem with your retaining wall is to identify the cause of the failure. Determining the cause of failure will make it easier to repair.

Poor Drainage

Water is the main cause of retaining wall failure, that is why an effective drainage system is essential. A good quality drainage system has no water buildup behind the retaining wall. To create a good drainage system, you can use drain pipes, backfill with gravels, and use weep holes for the water to pass through the wall. 

If you’re encountering issues with your drainage system, it is best to hire a professional to inspect the problem and offer solutions.

Poor Drainage

Retaining walls need a strong and sturdy foundation. A poor foundation will make retaining walls collapse or crack. Before installing retaining walls, make sure to inspect the construction site to check problems that could arise. Your landscaper would consider certain factors such as climate, soil properties, and terrain.

Substandard Construction

If you are trying to save cash and settle for a low-baller – you get what you paid for. Cheap materials and improper reinforcement of steel can easily damage your retaining wall. This will cause you a lot more than just hiring an experienced professional landscaper. 

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