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retaining walls

How to Build Concrete Sleeper Retaining Walls

So, you’ve decided to install a concrete sleeper retaining wall to enhance your outdoor space and withstand earth pressure. But are your DIY hands up to the task?

Building a retaining wall from concrete sleepers isn’t overly taxing or complex, but it does require some finesse and knowledge. If your wall goes over a certain height and building permit, you may be required to consult a structural engineer for approval.

Fortunately, with a few simple steps and the right supplies, you can build a beautiful concrete sleeper retaining wall that will stand the test of time. They’re pleasing to the eyes, come in different shapes and sizes, long-lasting can fit in small spaces to create a stunning and contemporary feature. 

In this guide, we’ll go through the step by step process on how to install a concrete sleeper retaining wall. But first, you’ll need the right tools and equipment.

Tools and Equipment:

  • Pegs and a piece of string
  • Mini loader with auger
  • Spirit level
  • Steel posts
  • Concrete sleepers
  • Wheelbarrow
  • Concrete mix

How to Install Concrete Sleepers Step by Step

  1. Create a String Line

First things first, you need to identify where your retaining wall will go and set up a string line to represent its edge. This way you can ensure the wall is straight as opposed to crooked.

To do this, mark the area for your wall’s construction and ram pegs from one side to the other. Pegs should be a few inches deep with a distance of 500mm between each peg. Next, wrap a piece of string over a peg and tie it to the other peg securely.

During this stringing process, you’ll also want to mark digging holes for your steel posts. Use a mini loader with an auger to dig holes and holes deep enough for your post’s length and width. Hole depth is generally the same as the retaining wall’s height plus 100mm for cover on steel. Ensure a hole diameter of 450mm for a one-metre high retaining wall.

Hole distances also depend on sleeper length – if your sleepers are 1.5m in length, the distance between holes should also be 1.5m.

building a retaining wall
  1. Insert Posts and Pour Concrete

Proceed to place your posts in the ground and pour concrete mix in the surrounding holes. Make sure not to overfill them.

With your spirit level, check your post’s alignment and make sure they are vertical. You can also double-check the distances between posts to properly spaced out and level.

  1. Place Your Sleepers

Wait overnight for your concrete to cure and insert your first sleeper between your retaining wall posts. Check the measurements from your sleeper’s top to the top of each post. Use fibro-cement sheeting at the sleeper’s base to adjust for height and proceed to slot in the remaining sleepers. Ensure to keep measuring from the top of the post as you’re placing the sleepers.

Here’s a quick guide on the Type of Concrete Sleepers available for you.

  1. Backfill

Once your sleeper is in place, wait for one week before backfilling the area. Backfill with a minimum of 12 inches of granular backfill (gravel or a similar aggregate)  and begin compacting your backfill with  native earth. You can then insert a pipe behind the retaining wall for adequate drainage.

If you follow these steps you’ll have a retaining wall that will stand the test of time. Be sure to get necessary permits before starting your project and always check with your local council for approval.

Connect with RWS for the High-quality Retaining Wall Supplies

concrete sleepers
Paver Retaining Wall – Seattle Outdoor Spaces

Retaining Wall Supplies provides concrete sleepers in Sydney and other territories with different finishes and posts made from galvanised steel. If you need a reliable supplier to provide the necessary materials, contact us today and get your project started.  Our experts will even guide you through the entire process to ensure your project is a success. Our services are available in MelbourneBrisbaneGold Coast, and Sunshine Coast.

Read more on How to Build a Sleeper Retaining Wall with Steel Posts in 8 Steps.

Building a retaining wall from concrete sleepers is an excellent way to manage soil erosion and water flow in your outdoor space. However, it’s important to keep in mind that proper drainage and foundation stability are crucial for the long-term performance of any retaining wall. In some cases, issues with the foundation can affect the integrity of your retaining wall, leading to costly repairs and potential structural problems. To ensure the stability of your foundation, it’s a good idea to consult with foundation repair experts, such as those at Foundation Repair Minneapolis. Their team of professionals can assess the condition of your foundation, recommend necessary repairs, and help you maintain a strong and stable base for your retaining wall, ensuring it stands the test of time.

Note: Safety is of utmost importance when it comes to construction and building projects. In order to ensure a safe work environment, it’s important to provide training to employees and follow regulatory compliance guidelines. Safety Training Specialists, Inc. offers on-site training, safety audits and inspections, and monthly safety meetings for businesses in the construction industry. By working with a professional safety training company like Safety Training Specialists, Inc., construction businesses can help manage risk, reduce liability, and ensure compliance with multi-agency regulations like OSHA, HazMat, and DOT.

Call us today or visit our website for more information!

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