Retaining Wall Steps and Common Structural Deformation Problems


Retaining wall steps have beautiful stairways and provide support to the slope by increasing its stability and preventing the failure of the hill mass. Homeowners face several problems during the construction of these structures to protect their landscapes or for home improvement. However, one may face many structural deformation-related problems, which can ruin the entire project or structure.

Here, we will mention some of those deformation problems that may arise after building a retaining wall.

Retaining Wall Steps and Common Structural Deformation Problems

These are the common problems related to the structural deformation of retaining wall steps.

  1. Engineers should perform a good soil analysis to find out sufficient information about the soil properties. This is called a geotechnical investigation, which is needed to build a foundation and design the wall. Loose or soft soils aren’t suitable to design a wall because these soils don’t have adequate bearing capacity to obtain the load. If the soil is clayey or contains too much organic matter, it will be better to avoid that soil.
  2. No foundation pretreatment before constructing retaining walls can give rise to structural deformation as well. Generally, before constructing any foundation on the land, the soils are prepared for that. Soils are compacted to increase the bearing capacity, and more sand particles are mixed to decrease the void ratio. Clayey soils have higher total porosity, which slowly releases water. On the other hand, sandy soils have less porosity and release water very fast. Wall deformation may take place if the owner doesn’t make the soils ready for constructing walls.
  3. Sometimes, due to the earth’s pressure or failure masses, retaining walls can be misused. When the pressure becomes higher than the wedge of the soil held by the walls, this problem arises. If this kind of situation takes place, it is better to tie back the system or other stabilization methods in combination.
  4. When geotextile, or geo-jute, or filter materials are not used behind the walls to reduce the splash effect, deformation may happen. In this case, the other side filled with backfilling materials become loaded and overflown, which leads to subsidence. It causes deformation and an abnormal failure of the structure.
  5. Another problem may arise because of the higher water pressure. When the homeowners don’t plan a drainage design behind the wall, water pressure builds up after a rainfall. The wall starts deforming because of the unplanned drainage system because of two pressures – soil pressure and water pressure. When this pressure value increases and exceeds the withstand resistance value of the materials, the structure can no longer stay in the place to hold the land. The owners should focus on using weep holes or little pipes to enhance the drainage system to solve this. Experts suggest that these holes and pipes should be placed at the bottom. We advise you to cover these pipes with a cloth to filter the water and trap the soils in there.

These are the common five deformation problems, and while building a retaining wall for home improvement or for the landscape, make sure you check these above-mentioned five problems. Otherwise, you may need to excavate the land to install and construct again.

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