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Concrete block has always been the most important component in retaining walls. Widely available and easy to work with, these concrete masonry units provide both aesthetic value and powerful structural integrity. Over the years, retaining wall blocks have evolved from the simple two cell rectangular unit often called "cinder block" to much more elaborate and attractive split face. The three basic types of block used for retaining wall structures are:
Standard Concrete Block (CMU)
This block measures 8" x 8" x 16" and features two identical openings or cells. The cells are vital to its stability and should be filled with concrete or "grouted solid" when the wall is complete. Standard reinforcing bar, "rebar" is integrated into the cells to unify the wall vertically as well as extending into the foundation. There can also be slots formed into the block that allows rebar to run horizontally in the wall as well.
Retaining walls made of standard block can stand alone, but they offer little aesthetic value. Therefore they are usually covered with an attractive veneer of stone, brick or decorative masonry units. Block provides outstanding structural reinforcement often required by architects and structural engineers for walls over about four feet in height.
Split Face Block
This is a standard concrete block that is manufactured with an attractive texture on one side. This allows the block to be used both as a decorative and a structural unit, eliminating the additional expense of applying veneers. The original split face was broken to look like rough stone. Some featured score lines carved into the split face. This block also offered a range of colors beyond the typical grey concrete, again to lower cost and simplify retaining wall construction. Another version, the slump block provided a surface shape and texture that resembled adobe brick, and this became popular for Spanish style architecture.
Retaining Wall System Units
Retaining wall systems have revolutionized the look and the construction methods of today’s retaining walls. Designed to provide a structural unit with a realistic stone-like face, the blocks are more irregular in size to provide a surface that is variable and more imitative of real stone. These blocks do have cells, but they are not organized in the same way as the standard split face. Each manufacturer will offer their own shapes, surface textures and colors that come together in their own particular system of construction. In short, they fit together accurately to increase overall strength and eliminate the need for a block core. These units have made retaining walls significantly more affordable and more beautiful, particularly when coordinated with matching pavers. Besides offering a consistent look, manufactured blocks and stones for retaining walls offer structural integrity and an even base with which to work. There is little guesswork in installing, plus you'll have less work to do making sure each course is level. Be sure to color match and space out uneven colored stones and blocks for a better look.
In this regard, if you’re looking for the best retaining wall manufacturer in the Pittsburgh area, then look no further than Versa-Lock. Versa lok retaining walls provide you with the highest quality retaining walls in the market today and are the preferred choice by a lot of Landscaping companies such as Damico’s Landscaping.
Damico’s landscaping can help bring the best out of your retaining wall project. This is because, for over 20 years, Damico’s Landscaping only builds retaining walls using top of the line products from RI Lampus. Keeping tabs on the landscape construction market, Damico’s Landscaping stays up to date with new products and techniques in retaining wall construction in order to enhance your landscaping.
Irrespective of the retaining wall block you choose to use whether it’s Versa Lock, Omi-stone, or any of the other retaining wall blocks available in the market today, Damico’s Landscaping has a product to suit your needs or preference.
Chris R. Jul 29, 2016
"Frank contacted me quickly with a quote. He followed up without badgering me and came to visit to review the work needed. After agreeing on a price, he started work quickly at a time that worked for me. Not only did he start when it worked for me, but he was done quicker than he estimated."