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Retaining Wall Repair Cost: Comparing Solutions

Retaining Wall Repair Cost: Comparing Solutions

Your retaining wall was gorgeous when you first had it built. But alas, the passage of time and the harshness of the elements can destroy almost anything. Take a look at the great pyramids — even they’re impacted by erosion.

Retaining walls are no different — these barriers are tough and solid, they can sway, bend and break over time. If left untreated, this will cause a costly mess. As with most things, repairing a retaining wall is cheaper than building a new one. But how much will you expect to pay?

Repairing a section of your retaining wall costs $600 on average, whether it’s mitigating soil failure or repairing a waterhead. Epoxying a few cracks should cost $100, while an all-out repair should cost $1200-$5000. As with most things, cost is dependent on the damage extent, material, and labor cost.

In this comprehensive guide, you will learn how much it will cost to repair your damaged retaining wall depending on materials, type of repair, labor costs, and inspection costs. Don’t let crumbling mortar, holes, and cracks brutalize that essential wall. Tag along. 

Cost by Type of Materials

Retaining walls come in all types of hard materials like wood, vinyl, brick, steel, and stone, which fetch different prices at the store. How much you should pay to get that wall back in shape will depend on the current price of that material. Some materials like vinyl are cheap while steel will cost a little more than stone, as shown below: 

Vinyl Retaining Wall Repair Cost

Vinyl is a synthetic material made from plastic that contains ethylene and chlorine. It is one of the most affordable materials for building retaining walls and floors. A vinyl 2 retaining wall repair costs anything between 150 to 500 bucks, depending on the extent of the damages. 

It is one of the least expensive materials to build with and repair and the least durable, cracking and disintegrating under pressure. Therefore, it may need additional reinforcement for the standard patching hiking the cost even more. 

Railroad Tie Retaining Wall Repair Cost

Homeowners pay an average of $600 for railroad tie repairs, with small repairs costing $150. Railroad tie retaining walls are a popular feature in many homes and are made of large wood blocks stacked together to create a wall. Although stronger than vinyl, wood rots due to moisture exposure and gets destroyed by pests. Therefore, you have to repair it more frequently. 

Steel, Aggregate, and Concrete Retaining Walls Repair Cost

Homeowners pay $200 to repair small sections of retaining walls made from concrete, aggregate, and steel materials. If your retaining wall has been lying around in neglect for ages, be prepared to part with $1000. Steel is the strongest of the three since huge steel sheets can hold back colossal volumes of soil. However, the material is prone to accident-related dents and may need additional reinforcement and regular straightening. 

Weathering and erosion cause concrete to crack and crumble, which calls for regular patching and sealing. Aggregate walls are made from compressed materials, which increases durability. However, they will still crumble at some point due to pressure. All these weaknesses mean additional repair costs on top of what is quoted above. 

Stone Retaining Wall Repair Cost

This is one of the most common building materials since it is cheap and durable, even for retaining walls. Stones are arranged in blocks, one on top of the other, and held together by cement and mortar to form strong retaining walls that withstand extreme soil pressure.

Small stone retaining wall repair costs $250, while an extensive repair will go for $1,500. However, stone walls have drainage problems and need frequent straightening and reinforcement. 

Brick and Cinder Retaining Wall Repair Cost

Brick and cinder retaining walls repairs equal that of stones, only that extensive repairs cost $300 less than stone. However, the material is more prone to wear and crumbling, so you have to patch holes and cracks regularly. Cinder is good for interlocking or segmented walls but has drainage and pressure problems. 

Now that you know how much different repair materials will cost let’s look at retaining wall repairs from a different angle-type of repair. 

Cost by Type of Repair

Retaining walls are man-made structures, and nature always has its way. Homeowners pay $40 to an upward of $1500 in repair damages depending on the type of repair. Note that the quoted price is labor inclusive. 

Rotted Railroad Ties Repairs

Repairing these wooden structures involves removing and replacing wall sections. Wood rots when exposed to high moisture environments, which makes them more prone to damages than other parts or a retaining wall. Repairing one square foot (0.09 square meters) of railroad ties costs $40 to $50.

Retaining Wall Foundation Repairs

It costs an average of $55 per linear foot (a straight 12 in or 30.5 cm) to put a foundation back to shape. Retaining walls’ foundations disintegrate over time due to water, debris, and dirt. Repair includes rebuilding and patching damaged sections, and it’s essential to keep a retaining wall functional in the long term. 

Retaining Wall Crack Repair Prices

If the retaining wall in your garden has several cracks on it, start preparing over $150 for repairs. It is common for walls to crack, especially brick and concrete, even inside luxurious homes. It would help if you patched cracks once you spotted them to prevent them from enlarging and compromising the structural integrity of the entire structure. 

Efflorescence Repair

Moisture causes efflorescence in concrete and brick walls, evidenced by a white substance on the retaining wall. It shows that water has infiltrated the material, and anything between $150 and $800 will get you a nice patching and a drainage system inclusive of drain pipes or weep holes. 

Crumbling Retaining Wall

Aggregate and brick walls are prone to crumbling because of the cracks or worn mortar. Expect to pay anything between $150 and $1,000 depending on the square footage of the crumbling sections. Large sections coupled with labor costs post a higher repair bill. 

Water Seeping Through a Retaining Wall

Water seeping through any walls, especially Water Heads, is bad news. Expect to part with an average of $150 to $1000 when all is said and done. It costs much less if cracks or small holes at specific points let water out than large retaining wall sections. 

Bowing and Leaning Retaining Walls

Bowing retaining walls typically result from foundational problems or excessive lateral pressure on one spot. They are the most expensive to fix, costing $200 to $1,500 due to anchor installation. You should also patch superficial damage. 

A leaning wall will also cost the same amount because they require dead-man anchors and tie-backs to reinforce and anchor them strongly. 

Cost by Solution

This section explains what various service members and contractors will charge depending on the method used to repair the wall. Charges include: 

  • Patching  
  • Anchoring  
  • Straightening 
  • Reinforcing 

A contractor will typically assess the damage before recommending a solution. Some solutions cost more than others, as shown below: 

Reinforcing and Straightening a Retaining Wall

For every linear foot (a straight 12 in or 30.5 cm), reinforcing and straightening retaining walls cost between $40 to $70. Reinforcement includes applying new mortar to brick and concrete walls to strengthen them, landscaping around the wall, or using anchors and tie-backs to thicken the base. 

The contractor straightens the leaning retaining wall to don’t buckle and fall. Remember, steel sheets get dents due to impact accidents hence need straightening. 

Anchor a Retaining Wall

Anchoring can cost upwards of $50 per linear foot, depending on the required action to increase anchorage. Anchor points and tie-backs are good methods of pulling walls against the soil to prevent falling. They reinforce and stabilize the well, while at the same time they prevent horizontal movements.

Drainage Addition to an Existing Retaining Wall

This is done when you notice cracks and other signs of water damage on your retaining wall. Excessive water accumulates in the soil behind the wall, making it heavier and adding to the existing pressure on the structure. An average of $65 for every square foot should afford you drainage pipes, weep holes, and other types of drainage. 

Rebuilding Costs

Rebuilding is often the last resort for many homeowners due to high costs. It is often done when retaining wall sections or entire walls, especially the old ones, cannot be repaired and have to be pulled down and rebuilt again.

Rebuilding will dent your pocket upwards of $60 but not exceeding $100 per linear foot (a straight 12 in or 30.5 cm). 

Retaining Walls Inspection Costs

Before undertaking any repairs, the damaged retaining walls should be assessed by a qualified engineer or contractor to map out the repair type, method, and other solutions. The fees differ from state to state, so you should expect to pay your contractor 50 to 150 bucks. 

Some contractors demand a call-out fee of $50 to $100 to cover them after assessing your home, and you decide to award the contract to a different person. However, you should get a waiver if you do hire them. 

Extensive damage should be assessed by a residential structural engineer who is a bit more expensive. For $100 to $200 per hour, they should inspect the damage and recommend a reputable contractor from their cycles. Note that some will charge more if it takes longer to access your property. 

Final Thoughts

Installing a retaining wall is a costly affair (although cheaper options are available) and repairing one isn’t cheaper either. However, you can get a pretty decent repair for your budget, depending on your state.

The fact is that retaining walls degrade over time. Repairs are an expense that ought to happen at some point, and they’re necessary to keep the wall in good shape over the years.


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