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cortenn steel retaining walls

The Benefits Of A Corten Steel Retaining Wall

Have you ever considered the benefits of a Corten steel retaining wall? Many homeowners overlook this option when considering landscape solutions, but Corten steel is ideal. We’ll explore why Corten steel is perfect for constructing a retaining wall and some practical tips for getting started.

What is Corten Steel?

Corten steel has been used in construction projects for decades. Considered a ‘weathering steel,’ the material comprises steel and alloys, providing its rusted appearance ideal for construction projects.

The steel has an oxidised coating which prevents rust from penetrating past the first layer. It also gives it a natural reddish-brown hue and a unique aesthetic that blends nicely with most landscaping styles. And, because the surface is self-protecting, it will not require regular maintenance like timber or other materials.

What is a Corten Steel Retaining Wall, and When is It Used?

A Corten steel retaining wall supports your garden or yard while creating a landscaping design feature. These walls help stabilise soil on a sloped surface, keeping it in place in case of collapse. It usually consists of corrugated metal panels, posts, and anchors made of Corten steel, which has been developed to resist corrosion and wear better than other types of steel. 

Cortein retaining walls also stabilise property foundations situated on hills. Sliding hills are susceptible to land erosion, causing the soil to slide downwards gradually due to water or accumulate at the top. 

What are the Benefits of Corten Steel?

Durability and Longevity

Durability is one key feature that makes Corten steel ideal for retaining walls. Its high tensile strength and low maintenance requirements make it resistant to damage from extreme weather conditions such as hail storms and high winds. 

Corten steel is also highly resistant to corrosion due to its unique chemical composition, which includes copper, chromium, and phosphorus. This combination makes it much less likely to be affected by water or salt, which can damage other materials over time. Furthermore, Corten steel has an exceptionally long lifespan of up to 80 years – making it a highly reliable option for any landscaping project.

READ: Concrete Sleepers Maintenance and Product Care

Provides a Modern Look

Aesthetically, Corten steel provides a modern look that can complement various styles, including contemporary and industrial designs. Its reddish-brown colour adds a unique texture that can add visual interest and texture in gardens or landscaping projects. Furthermore, because of its malleability, it can be bent into shapes such as curved walls, further enhancing the overall look of your landscape design.

High Strength

Finally, Corten steel is also solid and durable compared to other materials, such as wood or concrete blocks used for retaining walls. It can hold large amounts of weight without breaking down, making it an ideal choice for areas where stability is essential such as steep slopes or near shorelines. In addition, because it does not require chemical treatments like some other materials do, it eliminates additional costs associated with upkeep and maintenance costs over time.


In addition to its impressive properties, Corten steel is also an economical option for retaining walls. Its long-lasting nature and low maintenance requirements mean you won’t have to worry about replacing it soon. 

Furthermore, Corten steel can often be found at lower prices than other materials such as wood or stone – making it an even more cost-effective option. Corten steel doesn’t require additional protection, such as paint or sealants, due to its robust nature, which could result in higher costs over time.

Versatility In Design and Eco-friendly

In addition to its formidable strength and durability, Corten steel is also highly versatile in design. It can be crafted into various shapes and sizes, making it suitable for retaining walls of any size or complexity. Plus, architects and designers can take advantage of the natural patina that forms over time on the material’s surface, which gives it a unique rustic look that many homeowners find appealing.

Corten steel is also straightforward to work with. It can be easily cut and welded into intricate patterns, allowing for custom designs that enhance spaces in any outdoor area. Furthermore, Corten steel is fully recyclable at the end of its life cycle – making it an environmentally-friendly choice that won’t harm the planet.

Environmental Friendliness

 Corten steel is fully recyclable at the end of its life cycle, unlike other materials used in retaining walls. This makes it an excellent choice for those looking to do their part in protecting the planet while beautifying their outdoor area.

Additionally, the natural patina that forms on Corten steel over time does not require any additional coating or treatment to protect it from rust or corrosion. This reduces the need for potentially harmful chemicals otherwise necessary to keep metal structures safe from damage. 

Ease Of Installation

 Due to their lightweight construction, these walls are very simple to transport and set up. This makes them especially useful for those looking to quickly put up a wall without investing in large equipment or hiring costly professionals.

The prefabricated panels used for Corten steel retaining walls are also relatively straightforward for installation. They can be cut and shaped with basic tools and fastened into place with minimal effort. Plus, the lack of grout or mortar required means no mess or cleanup is involved – making it an ideal choice for DIY projects.

Easy to Clean

Despite its impressive durability, Corten steel is surprisingly easy to clean if needed. A simple rinse with water from a garden hose is usually all that’s necessary to remove any dirt or debris from the wall’s surface – making it a great option for busy homeowners who don’t have time for extensive maintenance projects.

Time-efficient and Suitable for All Soil Types

Installing a Corten steel retaining wall is much faster than building a reinforced concrete wall. This is because they’re load-bearing upon installation and require no foundation, meaning you won’t need to hire a crew and equipment to go digging.

Corten retaining walls can also be built on any soil type. Different soil types have unique properties, affecting a wall’s ability to resist lateral forces exerted by the soil it’s holding back.

Drawbacks of Corten Steel

Corten steel retaining walls are unlikely to collapse, but they will if load-bearing capacity is calculated incorrectly. Too much load will collapse under pressure when placed behind the wall.

Other disadvantages of corten steel include:

  • Uneven colour variation due to panel’s fading overtime
  • It has to kept clean as mud, oil, grease, and other substances can alter the natural oxidation process.
  • Changes colour over time, starting from orange-red to darker shades and purple-grey. This metamorphosis isn’t ideal if you’re in love with its initial colour. 


Can a Corten Steel Retaining Wall be Built on any Soil Type?

The short answer is yes, but the more accurate answer is that it depends on the environment and wall’s size. In general, most soil types like gravel or sand can support a corten steel retaining wall if it’s constructed adequately with proper drainage and reinforcement. However, some soils may not handle the load; for example, loose clay soils or water-logged soils may require additional support or an alternate material.

 Is a Corten Steel Retaining Wall Fire Resistant?

As a material, corten steel is highly resistant to fire and heat, making it an ideal choice for areas prone to wildfires or extreme weather conditions. The material’s inherent strength also makes it capable of withstanding high temperatures without damage.

The rust-like appearance of corten steel gives it another layer of protection against fire; the oxide layer created by the corrosion can act as a flame retardant and help to reduce the spread of flames. Furthermore, since corten steel is essentially made up of iron oxide, the oxidation process creates a protective film on its surface which helps prevent further damage.

What is The Maximum Height that A Corten Steel Retaining Wall can Reach?

When looking into the specifics of corten steel retaining walls, it’s essential to consider the type of soil they are built on. If the soil has a high clay content or is highly compacted, it may not be able to support a taller wall. However, if the soil is well-drained and loose, it can likely support taller walls made from corten steel. Of course, building codes should also be taken into consideration when determining how tall a wall should be.

The maximum height of a corten steel retaining wall is primarily determined by its design and construction. The material’s weight must be considered, as well as its strength and ability to resist corrosion. Additionally, any reinforcements added to provide extra stability will affect the height of the wall. 

Final Thoughts

Overall, Corten steel retaining walls offer both practicality and beauty in one package. Whether you’re looking for a low-maintenance option or just something more unique than a traditional stone wall, this material has what you need.

Contact RWS today to build your retaining wall. We provide high-quality steel beams and other products to add beauty and functionality to your retaining wall and landscape. Browse our website or contact us for more information on concrete retaining walls in Melbourne – we look forward to working with you! Our services are also available in BrisbaneGold Coast, and Sunshine Coast.

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