Gravity walls depend on the weight
    of their mass (stone, concrete or
    other heavy material) to resist
    pressures from behind and will often
    have a slight 'batter' setback, to
    improve stability by leaning back
    into the retained soil. For short
    landscaping walls, they are often
    made from mortarless stone or
    segmental concrete units (masonry
    units). Dry-stacked gravity walls are
    somewhat flexible and do not
    require a rigid footing in frost areas.

    Earlier in the 20th century, taller
    retaining walls were often gravity
    walls made from large masses of
    concrete or stone. Today, taller
    retaining walls are increasingly built
    as composite gravity walls such as:
    geosynthetic or with precast facing;
    gabions (stacked steel wire baskets
    filled with rocks); crib walls (cells
    built up log cabin style from precast
    concrete or timber and filled with
    soil); or soil-nailed walls (soil
    reinforced in place with steel and
    concrete rods).


    Prior to the introduction of modern reinforced-soil
    gravity walls, cantilevered walls were the most
    common type of taller retaining wall. Cantilevered
    walls are made from a relatively thin stem of steel-
    reinforced, cast-in-place concrete or mortared
    masonry (often in the shape of an inverted T). These
    walls cantilever loads (like a beam) to a large,
    structural footing, converting horizontal pressures
    from behind the wall to vertical pressures on the
    ground below. Sometimes cantilevered walls are
    butressed on the front, or include a counterfort on the
    back, to improve their stability against high loads.
    Buttresses are short wing walls at right angles to the
    main trend of the wall. These walls require rigid
    concrete footings below seasonal frost depth. This
    type of wall uses much less material than a
    traditional gravity wall.


    See also: Tieback (geotechnical)
    This version of wall uses cables or other stays
    anchored in the rock or soil behind it. Usually driven
    into the material with boring, anchors are then
    expanded at the end of the cable, either by
    mechanical means or often by injecting pressurized
    concrete, which expands to form a bulb in the soil.
    Technically complex, this method is very useful
    where high loads are expected, or where the wall
    itself has to be slender and would otherwise be too

    A Retaining Wall

    IS a structure that holds back soil or rock from a building,
    structure or area. Retaining walls prevent downslope
    movement or erosion and provide support for vertical or near-
    vertical grade changes.

    Cofferdams and bulkheads,
    structures that hold back water, are sometimes also
    considered retaining walls.

    Retaining walls are generally made of masonry, stone, brick,
    concrete, vinyl, steel or timber. Once popular as an
    inexpensive retaining material, railroad ties have fallen out of
    favor due to environmental concerns.

    Segmental retaining walls have gained favor over poured-in-
    place concrete walls or treated-timber walls. They are more
    economical, easier to install and more environmentally sound.

    The most important consideration in proper design and
    installation of retaining walls is that the retained material is
    attempting to move forward and downslope due to gravity. This
    creates lateral earth pressure behind the wall which depends
    on the angle of internal friction (phi) and the cohesive strength
    of the retained material, as well as the direction and
    magnitude of movement the retaining structure undergoes.

    Lateral earth pressures are typically smallest at the top of the
    wall and increase toward the bottom. Earth pressures will
    push the wall forward or overturn it if not properly addressed.
    Also, any groundwater behind the wall that is not dissipated by
    a drainage system causes an additional horizontal hydrostatic
    pressure on the wall.

    As an example, the International Building Code requires
    retaining walls to be designed to ensure stability against
    overturning, sliding, excessive foundation pressure and water
    uplift; and that they be designed for a safety factor of 1.5
    against lateral sliding and overturning
    Types of retaining walls
    RL Sanborn Masonry
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    fieldstone retaining walls

What is masonry?

Masonry is the building
of structures from
individual units laid in
and bound together by
mortar. The common
materials of masonry
construction are brick,
stone such as marble,
granite, travertine,
limestone; concrete
block, glass block, and
tile. Masonry is
generally a highly
durable form of
construction. However,
the materials used, the
quality of the mortar and
workmanship, and the
pattern the units are put
in can strongly affect the
durability of the overall
masonry construction
RL Sanborn Masonry 2014
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