Retaining walls generally perform a utilitarian function. These are often intended to create a solid partition between two levels of landscape, eliminating slopes and contours that can be difficult to manage and limit flat, usable space.
When the right materials and design are employed, a retaining wall can be an attractive element of any landscape.(more…)
Retaining walls are practical additions to a property. While these usually serve a utilitarian purpose, they do not have to look and feel like the exterior of a prison. Interesting shapes, colors, and designs by adding natural stone veneer cladding can provide a beautiful and dramatic backdrop or partition to a nicely landscaped area.
Retaining walls compensate for sudden elevation changes by eliminating erosion and thereby adding usable terraced space to a landscape. Older retaining walls made from concrete may still be sturdy and serviceable but usually become stained and unattractive from years of service. (more…)
When creating a dramatic ambiance in your outdoor living spaces, Belgard® retaining walls from ProCoat of Denver can create borders and define areas that maximize the natural appearance of your landscape. The Belgard Tandem® Wall System, available in three styles and textures to provide the elegant look of natural stone you desire. More versatile and cost-efficient than natural stone, the Belgard system can create curved or straight freestanding barriers, retaining walls, and surrounds and facings for outdoor grill areas. With the classic look of natural stone, stylish Belgard products can turn unattractive vertical posts into dramatic columns. (more…)
A well-constructed and attractive retaining wall can provide privacy or a defining barrier for contrasting elevations in your landscape. A retaining or dividing wall can be an interesting focal point for your property with the right design, construction, and materials. (more…)
Retaining Wall Blocks in Denver—More Than Meets The Eye
Thanks in part to our success over the past few decades, even the trained eye at times prompts the question, “Is that installation a type of stone veneer or is it made from retaining wall blocks?” In Denver, the answer is increasingly hazy because of products like Belgard’s Tandem Modular System, which takes the look of retaining wall blocks we see all over Denver, and makes them behave more like veneer in their installation.(more…)
Perhaps you got your start making low decorative features using retaining wall blocks, ones that only required a zoning permit from Denver so long as you stayed below four feet and otherwise had your occupational paperwork in order? Maybe now you want to, or need to, raise your wall building skills, no pun intended? How? Well, that’s what ProCoat Systems of Denver is here for. Whether you find yourself needing to build taller retaining walls, curved walls, tandem walls, and ones with graded slopes behind them that require signing off from a civil engineer, we have the expertise to help you achieve your goals as a contractor.
As you know, there are all manner of paperwork requirements that have to be in hand before you apply for a building permit to assemble a retaining wall using retaining wall blocks at a height in excess of four feet high. Then you have to also have stamped, wet signed engineered drawings to submit for review.
Is Your Wall Terraced?
This is a trickier question, but only because if you are away from the street set back, you could have multiple walls below 4’ in height, each of which don’t trigger the building permit requirement. However, if you are substantially altering the original grade of the property, it would again be wise to have on hand a set of stamped, wet signed engineered drawings to ensure you are in code compliance..
Will The Retained Soil Be Supporting Significant Weight?
If the notion exists that the property owner might be depositing a heavy object, like a shed, on top of the soil retained by the wall, that is yet another circumstance where a consultation with a licensed engineer is good advice. Around here, nature may also be placing a substantial snow load onto the proposed retaining wall too. The last thing you want is a claim from an angry home or business owner because you followed some rule of thumb rather than got the numbers run by a civil engineer.
When in Doubt, Call Us
While we aren’t lawyers who can help you after a mistake has been made, you can sound us out about whether you should call an engineer before you start a project. Remember, if you have to ask that question, the prudent answer is always, “yes.”
For more information regarding Belgard’s line of retaining wall blocks, contact ProCoat Systems, or come by and see us at either 4343 Holly St, Denver CO 80216, 303-322-9009, or 825 S.W. Frontage Rd., Fort Collins, CO 80524, 970-484-5557
Irrespective of why a retaining wall is to be installed, and no matter whether it is constructed using brick, concrete, timbers, stones, or wall blocks, Denver area walls face some environmental extremes. From managing the run-off of cloudbursts to dealing with snow loading and our three season freeze/thaw cycles, water is a constant threat to wall integrity. Brief or long, short or tall, a properly built retaining wall should incorporate drainage into its construction to maximize the durability of the installation.
At ProCoat Systems, we believe that the best retaining walls are made from block, like our Belgard line. Brick has to be mortared together. Concrete is continuous solid mass due to how it is installed, and if left as poured, is rather unattractive. Real stone is both expensive to acquire and requires expert fitting. Timbers rot no matter what they are treated with.
Wall blocks are the best choice for Denver. They not only can provide the visual beauty and the slope face contouring that makes them stable, by being dry stacked rather than mortared, wall blocks also allow for some passive drainage even if no other water management features are incorporated.
However, the best wall block constructed retaining walls in Denver incorporate active drainage features to increase their service longevity. Even the passive drainage of a block retaining wall can be overcome by sedimentation against the slope facing side of the structure, reducing any meaningful water outflow and over-stressing the design limits of the installation.
Managing Water Behind Your Wall Blocks in Denver
Using about twelve inches of clean crushed rock backfill covered by native soil behind the wall blocks is the most fundamental drainage step you can take. Sure, it’s a little more expensive than just compacting fill dirt behind the wall, but crushed stone will allow the wall to manage water effectively for years to come.
Adding properly located weep holes to the wall will also help to ensure that any soil infiltration of the backfill rock will not seriously hamper the wall’s ability to drain.
Finally, for dealing with cloudbursts and soggy earth from large snow melts, laying a perforated drain pipe at the base of the wall during construction will allow the wall to handle sudden and large water loads by diverting them at a manageable rate.
Whether you need the best selection of wall blocks in Denver, or just some expert advice, contact our field experts at ProCoat Systems today.
Our winters in the Denver pose two tough, and related, problems for your clients’ retaining walls—possible freeze/thaw damage and for street facing walls, assaults of the blocks by de-icing salts
The direct attack of the winter weather upon a retaining wall
A well-designed and constructed retaining wall is built to both retain the soil behind it, as well as allow water through drains built into it. The good management of water is crucial to a retaining wall standing firm for decades. Each gallon of water weighs eight and a third pounds. Well-saturated soil behind a wall represents a considerable amount of extra weight when compared to dry soil.
The weight of water brings us to the implications of freeze/thaw cycles when it comes to retaining wall blocks in Denver. In many retaining wall designs without integral drainage built into them, a part of the water management is left for the surrounding plantings to perform. Of course, plants are dormant in the winter and not doing their part of drawing off moisture. If melt water gets trapped behind the wall, it may not have been either designed or constructed to withstand the added weight or the freeze pressure, and could suffer from localized block shifting, and in extreme cases, catastrophically fail.
Salts are not kind to your retain wall block
Even if the retaining wall drained perfectly in the winter doesn’t mean it is free from another cold weather threat, de-icing agents. The retaining wall block products that ProCoat Systems Denver sells are specifically engineered to ASTM standards to resist the freeze/thaw cycle. The way this is accomplished is by making the blocks less porous to be better able to resist the infiltration of water, which when frozen, would expand and damage the block through micro-fracturing.
Though less porous, these blocks are not impervious to deicing agents. Whatever else makes up their composition, all current de-icing salts contain chloride. When made into a solution with water, this chloride compound acts like a weak, but relentless, acid attack upon the block, literally dissolving it on the molecular level. The signs of chloride damage being a problem for a retaining wall will take the form of spalling, or accelerated surface erosion.
While retaining wall blocks in Denver’s climate can’t avoid the harsh elements, how contractor’s build them and manage homeowners’ expectation is key to a lasting wall, and a lasting good impression of your work. Whether you are building a new retaining wall or repairing an older one, make the experts at ProCoat Systems SLC your first call for the latest product specs and technical help. Call either Denver, 303-322-9009 or Salt Lake City, 801-410-4345 to schedule an appointment today.
Retaining walls serve two primary functions in the landscaping of a home or commercial site—essential structural support and retention of a hillside, or to create ornamental terracing where level ground is more desired than wasa slope.
With the expansive soils along the Front Range, it does not take a very aggressive grade to begin seeing the effects of a monsoon rain carrying water and/or soil to where it is not desired. In some instances, the threat of uncontrolled water flow or poorly thought out drainage by the property developer could be devastating to the foundation of the structure. With our frequent summer downpours, it is essential that water is well controlled on hillsides in need of retaining walls to prevent erosion and even slippage of a nearby slope.
To build a durable and eye catching retaining wall for your client, you need a product that stands behind you unequivocally. That’s why if you do your part and install the Belgard Hardscapes retaining wall blocks properly, you can confidently tell your client that they enjoy a limited lifetime transferable warranty. Not only will they have a fantastic retaining wall, they will also have a valid selling point that the retaining wall they see was built to last rather than become a crumbling expense sometime during their ownership.
The Ornamental Retaining Wall
Sometimes you get a client where no expense will be spared to create a stunning public or private landscaping look using retaining wall blocks somewhere in Denver. For clients who demand impeccable styling in their retaining wall structure, Belgrade offers several options from the classic Anchor Diamond look to the more modern chiseled look befitting an Architectural Digestspread.