Is Concrete Or Stone Better For a Retaining Wall?

By | October 7, 2020

A retaining wall serves multiple purposes in function as well as aesthetics. It can help hold the soil back, thus preventing erosion. It can also help create a flat surface on hilly terrains, thereby converting an impossible piece of land into a usable one. Aesthetically, it improves landscape designs. Unlike the regular walls that support vertical loads, a retaining wall supports horizontally. This difference in function also means a difference in how it is designed and built. 

Various building materials can be used for retaining walls, including stones, concrete, blocks, bricks, wood, etc. Here, we examine two of such materials, stone, and concrete, to determine which one is a better choice for building a retaining wall. We do this by comparing them based on different qualities.

Cost

When it comes to cost, stone comes out as the most expensive of the two materials due to the fact that it is natural. Installation is also costly as there is a need to be more precise in setting the stones. When you add up all this cost, you may arrive at something that is completely above your budget.

For concrete, the situation is quite different. Whether it is concrete blocks or poured concrete, the cost of material is much lower. Installation is also simple, which means the cost of labor is much lesser. 

Design Options

Gone are the days when concrete was all bland and dull grey. Today, concrete is available in different colors and decorations. Add this to the fact that the material is ductile and can be shaped in any way. You will understand why many don’t mind using it for their retaining walls.

On the other hand, natural stones offer something that concrete can never replicate – the natural beauty. It is this natural beauty that makes many people ignore the cost of buying and installing stone walls. If you are looking for a wall that gives you that unique appearance, then you should know that stones are your best bet.

Durability

For all the fantastic qualities that concrete may have in terms of cost and design options. Its durability is one place where it is questionable. While it is strong in its own right, it requires a lot of maintenance and is likely to crack, which means you have to regularly spend money on repairs.

On the other hand, natural stone makes up for its high material and installation cost by lasting longer and requiring least maintenance. Stones are sturdier, harder, and denser than the regular concrete, which makes it a better choice if you are looking to build a stone wall that will last decades or even centuries. You only have to check the history of retaining walls to discover that many of the prehistoric walls still existing today are made of concrete.

Conclusion

Making a choice as to which material to use for your retaining wall is a complex choice that boils down to personal tastes in the end. You will definitely have to consider your budget, the function of the wall you are building, and the size of the wall itself. All these, in addition to your taste, will help you make the best choice. Visit here to get more advice on building concrete walls and stone walls!