Installing Dry-Block Retaining Walls in Dallas, TX
Ricochet Construction is a Dallas-area leader in all forms of repairs for multi-family rental properties, large apartment communities, and condominiums. We have a long history in the Dallas area with commercial and residential properties, and do both interior and exterior work.
In this article we will briefly cover major issues that you should consider when deciding to install a dry-block retaining wall, and why we feel it is essential that you use professionals who have extensive experience with this kind of work.
What is a Dry-Block Retaining Wall?
Also known as a dry-stack retaining wall, dry-blocks are specially-designed blocks that can be stacked together without needing the mortar required on traditional cement blocks. While this sounds counterintuitive -- not using concrete to bind the blocks together -- dry-block walls actually have many advantages over traditional blocks. They are often a better choice than traditional walls, especially for big commercial projects that need to last for decades.
Dry-block walls are often cheaper, faster to install, and require less laborer skill than traditional block installation.
Dry-block walls can allow better drainage, and since their joints aren’t held exactly in place by mortar, they can expand and contract slightly, allowing more flexibility, and less cracking.
Dry-block walls are often designer-built, so they are more attractive than traditional cement blocks, and can add to the aesthetics of a space.
If installed well, dry-block walls perform their main function -- retaining large amounts of dirt -- just as well or better than traditional cement and mortar walls. They can deliver years of exceptional and reliable service.
Installation of Dry-Block Retaining Walls
The first issue to cover with installing dry-block walls is whether or not to install a footer. There are situations where a full cement footer, dug below the frost line, is required to insure that you have installed a fully sound wall, capable of resisting the pressures that will be exerted on it over time. In other situations, a traditional footer can actually cause structural weakening of the wall itself. It’s very important to have an experienced contractor inspect the area where the retaining wall will be built, and be aware of the types of blocks that will be used, and how they will perform across time, in weather conditions, with drainage, and with the type of footer that is used.
Secondly, perhaps the main advantage of dry-block walls is their superior performance on water drainage. Water drainage is a significant challenge for both homeowners and commercial property owners, and any advantage that creates better water drainage should be explored in your property design. Dry blocks are designed to be strong, but also to allow better water flow than traditional cement and mortar blocks. Again, the design, location, and installation of the wall greatly affects its drainage properties. Ricochet can design a dry-block wall that will allow maximum drainage without threatening the structural integrity of the wall itself.
Finally, it’s important to be aware of the aesthetic quality of the wall itself, and how well it will integrate with your existing landscaping and the buildings it protects. We take great care to ensure that you not only get safety and structural value from your dry-block wall, but that the wall can actually increase the attractiveness of your property, rather than being a gray eyesore.
Contact Ricochet if You Need a Retaining Wall
Retaining wall work should never be put off, due to the potential for increased damage should the problem area become worse, or dislodge onto your property. It can seem intimidating to have large areas of landscaping in precarious forms, but the problem can be addressed and corrected if dealt with in a timely and efficient way.
At Ricochet Construction, we specialize in large scale repairs to apartment and condo communities in the Dallas metropolitan area. We are well-equipped and fully experienced in retaining wall work, and can inspect your properties and advise you on exactly what repairs you need, and how long they should take. We have contracted with numerous owners and HOA’s on retaining wall installation, and can supply a long list of satisfied customers to give references as to the quality, timeliness, and professionalism of our work. Contact us any time to find out more!