Not all retaining walls are created equal. Each serves a different purpose and contributes to the integrity of different areas of a home or building. Before constructing a new structure, masonry professionals must take into account which type of wall would work best to ensure the overall integrity of the building. Below are just four of the most important types of walls used in the construction of new homes:
Reinforced walls are best for homes constructed in areas prone to extreme weather conditions. For instance, homes on the coast should be able to withstand a tidal surge, while homes in the mountains need to bear up against high winds. A reinforced wall can bear up under intense pressure and are usually placed within a home’s walls at various intervals to increase their strength.
Load bearing walls typically support the heaviest part of a home: the roof. This wall must run from the point of the roof to the foundation and should ideally be made of stone, cement or concrete. A load bearing wall can be thicker or thinner depending on how much of a load it must bear. Typically, the more stories a home has, the thicker the wall must be.
A hollow wall may not sound very economical but it actually serves a great purpose: to prevent moisture from reaching a home’s interior. A hollow wall creates a space between the home’s exterior and its interior walls and usually has “weep holes,” which drain water build up instead of allowing water to permeate a home’s interior walls. Hollow walls also serve to control a home’s environment, making them ideal for places with extreme temperatures.
Post-tension walls were invented for homes in areas prone to earthquakes and tornados. These types of walls come with post-tension rods that run vertically through the core of a wall. The rods are then anchored to a steel support structure at the top of the wall and cemented into the foundation for maximum efficiency. The most effective post-tension walls are curved to allow for maximum movement.
If you want to ensure that your home is stable and secure, work with a masonry expert who can help identify which retaining walls are necessary and where they should go.