Two reasons why brick retaining walls are superior to wooden ones

19 April 2022
 Categories: , Blog


Whilst wooden retaining walls can be the right choice for some properties, brick retaining walls are usually the superior choice. Here are two reasons why.

They have greater longevity than wooden retaining walls

Perhaps the most significant reason why so many property owners have their contractors build brick retaining walls rather than wooden ones is that the former's lifespan is almost always longer than the latter's lifespan.

The reason for this is that whilst there are very few things that can destroy a brick wall, there are many that can cause the deterioration of a wooden one. For example, even though the wood used for retaining walls is usually varnished to make it resistant to moisture-related decay, once this varnish wears off after a few years, the panels can rot. Similarly, if the wall is in a place where there are wood-boring pests, a wooden retaining wall may end up being destabilised due to these insects consuming parts of it. Brick, on the other hand, is much more naturally resistant to water damage and won't be vulnerable to attacks from wood-boring insects.

The longevity of a wall is particularly important when it's a retaining wall that is supporting a large volume of soil, as if a wall like this succumbs to deterioration, not only is there a chance that the soil it's being used to keep in place might begin to erode, but the process of replacing that wall will be challenging (as it needs to be done extremely carefully to ensure the soil does not collapse as the wall's components are taken down and then replaced).

They look better than retaining walls made of wood

The other reason why contractors are frequently asked by their clients to erect brick retaining walls is that they tend to look better than wooden ones. Whilst when a brand-new wooden retaining wall is compared to a brand-new brick one, they both might look equally nice, the former's appearance usually declines far faster and within a year or two, may look much worse than a brick one of the same age.

This is because the colour of wood can fade when it's exposed to the sun and wood can bow when subjected to pressure (in the form of the earth behind it pressing down on it) for long periods. It can also warp as a result of gaining and losing moisture. As such, within a few years of being built, a wooden retaining wall may look quite misshapen and discoloured, whereas a brick retaining wall, which won't warp or change colour, will look very similar to how it did when it was first built.

For more information on brick retaining walls, contact a professional near you.