Normal wear-and-tear is expected when it comes to driveways. But if your driveway has a retaining wall, it’s even more important to perform regular maintenance.
Failing to pay attention to the condition of your retaining wall can lead to serious structural damage.
Have you ever seen a driveway retaining wall with sinkholes or uneven walls? That’s what drainage issues look like!
This article will explain why proper drainage is critical for a driveway with a retaining wall. We’ll also cover how to install a sound wall design. And, of course, we’ll provide tips for how to prevent unnecessary damage in the future.
The Benefits of Proper Drainage for Driveway Retaining Walls
Retaining walls can be a great way to spruce up your outdoor space or curb appeal. But aside from its aesthetic advantages, it also has several practical uses.
It’s critical to have proper drainage for your retaining wall to extend its lifespan. It’s also vital in protecting your home against water damage. Here’s a closer look at the benefits of adequate drainage.
Prevents Structural Damage
Without wall drainage, water can seep into the walls. This, in turn, would cause them to crack or crumble over time.
This type of water damage can weaken the structure of the wall. And it can eventually lead to collapse, making retaining walls unsafe and ineffective.
Installing a proper wall system helps ensure excess moisture is directed away from its foundation. And it’s what prevents structural damage caused by moisture buildup.
Helps Decrease Runoff Problems
Improper drainage can cause water to pool on top of your retaining wall. And over time, this can cause serious runoff problems. But with proper drainage, excess rainwater runoff will be better managed and decreased.
If the water has nowhere to escape, it will seep through the soil. This can eventually destroy the foundation of your driveway retaining wall.
Minimizes Soil Erosion
Without proper drainage, soil erosion can occur, reducing the wall’s stability. This could also lead to costly repairs down the line.
Installing proper drains around the wall structure allows water to flow away quickly. Retaining walls can protect homes, especially in areas that experience heavy rainfall.
Wall drains also prevent landslides from happening on steep slopes. They divert rainwater away from these slopes and into a predetermined point downstream. As such, it keeps the driving surface stable.
If an accident were to happen, you would not have to worry about debris falling on your property or vehicles.
How to Ensure Proper Drainage for Driveway Retaining Walls
Now that you know how important drainage is, it’s time to talk about the wall’s installation. Here are some ways to ensure proper drainage for your driveway retaining walls.
Design Your Wall with Sloped Sides
Sloping the walls will slow down any water, allowing it to flow away from the house efficiently.
Sloped walls also help limit potential erosion damage to your driveway. They can even reduce the risk of flooding.
With this design feature, there’s no need to worry about water drainage issues for your wall.
Add Drainage Holes at Appropriate Intervals
To ensure proper wall drainage, add drainage holes at appropriate intervals.
The holes should be drilled below the base of the wall. Then, they should be covered with a gravel-filled channel liner or geotextile fabric.
This will help to keep water from saturating the soil behind and underneath the wall.
Fill the Wall Void with Small Gravel or Stone
Also, fill the wall void with pea gravel or stone to ensure efficient drainage.
This will help control and disperse any water accumulating between the wall blocks. The small stones and gravel also help to support the wall’s structure. These are the ones that prevent it from collapsing under pressure.
Compact the materials after installation to keep everything in place. This also provides additional durability to your walls.
Install a Filter Fabric or Drainage Pipe
It’s essential to install a filter fabric for your driveway retaining wall. This fabric acts as a barrier between the soil and the gravel or crushed stone you use behind the wall. It creates a filtered area where water can run through without clogging your system.
In the same way, the drain tiles or perforated pipe will carry excess water away from your structure. They will allow the water to safely follow its natural drainage into nearby areas.
Preventing Wall Failure from Poor Drainage
Poor drainage is one of the most common causes of foundation failure for driveway walls. This can cause several issues, including cracking, shifting, and even wall collapse.
Use gutters or downspouts to reduce the amount of water moving through your driveway. Make sure that these are properly sloped away from your house. They should also be directed toward an area that won’t cause problems. Additionally, ensure that any ground runoff isn’t flowing toward your driveway.
You can also use a French drain system. This diverts excess groundwater away from your driveway and into a well-drained area. French drains use gravel, filter fabric, plastic piping, and other materials. They allow water to slowly ooze downward and out at a safe distance away from your driveway’s foundation.
Finally, keep the area around your retaining wall free from debris and clogs. This will allow rainwater to run off properly.
By taking these steps, you will create a lasting structure that can withstand any weather conditions.
Building a Retaining Wall in Your Driveway
Proper drainage is essential for your driveway retaining wall. From reducing water buildup to maintaining soil stability, it can save you a lot of time and money.
Be sure to consider all factors when planning for your retaining wall installation. Also, accurately calculate the running slope, wall height, and distance from the base.
A little effort now can go a long way toward ensuring your driveway retaining wall will remain safe and secure for years to come!