Retaining Wall Block

Dry Stack Retaining Wall Block

Dry stack walls are the most type of retaining wall. Dry stack walls are built using retaining wall block that is made to be stacked without mortar. Hence the name “dry stack.” Different types of dry stack wall include:

  • Allan block
  • Belgard Diamond blocks
  • Ecology blocks

There are many advantages of using a retaining wall block to build your wall. Among those advantages include ease of installation, aesthetics and durability. Did you know that some of the oldest structures in the world are dry stack structures? (including parts of Machu Pichu and parts of the Great Wall of China). This type of wall is just one of many to consider.

How Do Dry Stack Walls Work?

Dry stack walls utilize gravity and friction to stay standing. Most modern retaining wall blocks also utilize keys, or raised lips on the walls in addition. For example many blocks have a raised lip either on front-top of the block to hold the next layer of block “back.” Some blocks will have a similar feature on the bottom back. Others will have system of pegs that lock one layer to the next. Some blocks also feature a hollow center, that when filled with angular rock, increases their bond.

First, start by excavating a trench to the depth and width required by the block manufacturer or engineer. Then fill the trench to make a footing, filling it with the appropriate base material and compact it to form a firm base.

The base layer is the most critical layer of the wall. Lay the base layer perfectly level. When laying the base layer watch for any imperfections, they will grow exponentially as the wall is built.

Once the base layer is in place, build the rest of the wall one layer at a time. Stack one layer at a time, then back fill with the appropriate material and compact it. When geogrid is required to be used, insert it as necessary between layers of block.

Why should you consider a dry stack retaining block wall?

Since dry stack retaining walls don’t require mortar, or a concrete footing they are much more affordable. When built properly a dry stack retaining wall will last for decades. Dry stack walls are very popular because of their ease of construction and longevity. Dry stack walls can come in different styles and patterns as well. If you are considering a new retaining wall project, give us a call today for a free consultation.