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5 Ways Retaining Walls Solve Drainage Problems and Protect Your Foundation

5 Ways Retaining Walls Solve Drainage Problems and Protect Your Foundation

Anytime a residential property’s yard has hills or sloping features, it can lead to landscaping challenges that result in standing water around your Tulsa home. Without proper drainage, serious erosion and foundation problems are likely to occur. And that’s a costly issue—but you can avoid it by installing retaining walls to direct water safely away from your house.

How Retaining Walls Work

Any time erosion occurs around your home, it can lead to leaks and soil movement that can weaken or damage a house’s foundation. And a cracked slab costs time and money to repair.

Strategically adding retaining walls to your sloped yard can direct rain and irrigation where you want it to go. They help your yard drain safely, preventing costly erosion from hurting your foundation and landscaping. You’ll get peace of mind and love the look of your property.

Retaining Walls Solve Many Concerns

Here are five ways building a retaining wall can safeguard your home from poor drainage and prevent foundation issues.

1. Limit Flooding

Flooding can be a serious concern for Tulsa homeowners, as the area gets a lot of stormy weather in spring and summer. The force of fast-moving water can create significant damage to landscaping, and when water pools around your home, it can seep in and cause foundation cracks that compromise its structural integrity.

Retaining walls built around your property can eliminate flood damage—and they’re especially useful for houses located on a slope or at the bottom of a hill, where water will naturally flow in rainy weather.

2. Reduce Soil Erosion

It doesn’t have to be flood season to experience issues with drainage. Even an ordinary amount of rain over time can cause soil to erode. A winter storm can also lead to the same result. When snow and ice melt, the moisture has to go somewhere, and it drags existing soil away with it as it goes.

When soil weakens near house walls, water can pool in the sunken areas next to the foundation. This loosens the remaining soil, and eventually the foundation shifts and cracks. Retaining walls stop this process in its tracks, keeping your slab safe from harm.

3. Keep Landscaping in Place

When a property is not draining correctly, gardens and flower beds are more easily destroyed by the elements. When plants lose their root system due to insufficient water runoff, they begin to die. The time, effort and money you spend on your yard could end up wasted.

A retaining wall can help prevent plant and tree roots from being exposed and ruined. It keeps excess soil from washing away, so your landscaping continues to grow and look beautiful.

4. Eliminate Freeze and Thaw Cycles

Winters in Oklahoma may be shorter than other parts of the country, but snow and ice can still occur and truly wreak havoc on a home’s foundation. Freeze-thaw cycles, as well as rain-drought cycles, can make the soil around a home expand and contract over and over. A home’s foundation can really take a beating and end up with costly structural damage.

When a retaining wall is installed in the right place, it directs drainage away from a home, preventing the damage of freeze-thaw cycles so you can avoid foundation repairs.

5. Prevent Sinkholes

Sinkholes happen when a large amount of water seeps into the dirt, weakening it. When the water contains carbon dioxide, which is common in rainwater, this causes a reaction that makes soil acidic and can destroy vegetation. The acidic concoction can break down even the most hardened soil.

When this happens right beneath the foundation of a home, it not only becomes a structural problem—it can be a safety concern that needs immediate attention.

A retaining wall can help prevent sinkholes from forming in the first place, so it’s a smart investment if your property gets exposed to a lot of rain, which is common in Oklahoma.

Proper Installation of Retaining Walls Keeps Them from Failing

Just as the elements can harm your foundation, a retaining wall can develop issues that cause it to break down and fall over, especially if it’s not constructed properly. So, while you’re likely to see a lot of DIY videos and guides online, just know that it’s not as easy to install a retaining wall as it may seem.

Most failures are due to one of three issues:

1. Inadequate Structure

Without strong footings, the pressure of tree roots and dirt can make the wall lean and even collapse. And some DIY-ers don’t properly cement their stone and bricks, causing the wall to tumble apart.

2. Wrong Materials

A strong wall requires rebar. The concrete needs to be mixed properly to resist cracking. If you use wood, it must be treated to resist moisture damage. These steps can be missed or performed improperly unless you’re experienced in proper techniques.

3. Lack of Drainage

Inexperienced DIY-ers can easily make mistakes with how the wall and its drainage system are placed, and you could end up with pools of water at the edge of the wall. As the soil wears away, the wall can collapse.

For all these reasons and more, it’s wise to consult with a trained team to evaluate your landscaping and design a retaining wall system that produces lasting results.

Get Lovely Retaining Walls for Your Tulsa Area Home

There’s no need to stress over property drainage any longer. Our knowledgeable crew installs beautiful, strong retaining walls that keep your landscaping in place and properly direct water safely away from your foundation. We’ll guide you through any questions you have and help you choose a design that fits your home perfectly.

Learn more about how retaining walls installed by R&M Concrete can give you lasting confidence. We’re here to assist you whenever you need us.