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Foundation Repair in VT and NH, including Burlington, Keene & Laconia.

Failing Retaining Walls In Vermont and New Hampshire

a retaining wall installed in Laconia

Around houses, retaining walls make sloping areas usable by creating level space for gardens, driveways, terraces, and walkways.

Retaining walls are also common along roadways, parking lots, and bodies of water. They have many applications.

Basement walls are also a type of retaining wall. We have a unique system for repairing failing basement walls.

The Problem:

Your retaining wall is showing signs of failure.

What is a Retaining Wall?

Retaining walls serve to retain the lateral pressure of soil. More simply, retaining walls are used to hold back soil and substrate from moving due to the effects of gravity and erosion.

Retaining walls are typically designed out of concrete, stone, wood (including railroad ties), vinyl, masonry, steel, or brick.

Telltale Signs:

How to Fix It:

We install either a wall anchor system or helical tieback system along the retaining wall to reinforce the structure.

We have warranted solutions for failing retaining walls! Call us for a free retaining wall repair quote today!

We serve Laconia, Burlington, Keene, Barre, Essex Junction, Rutland, Brattleboro, Montperlier, Bennington, South Burlington, Colchester, Claremont, Concord, Saint Albans (St Albans), Milton, Berlin, Middlebury, and many nearby areas in Vermont and New Hampshire.

Identifying Retaining Wall Failure

Signs of a failing retaining wall are usually easy to identify, as shown in the different examples below. The important thing to know is that these symptoms will become increasingly worse over time. Unless proper repairs are made, the wall will eventually fail completely.

Signs Of A Failing Retaining Wall

Most often, a retaining wall will show signs of failure in one of three ways:

a failing retaining wall around a driveway in Burlington

Collapsing/Tilting Retaining Walls

Soil issues and/or poor construction are often the culprits for retaining walls that are tilting. This can happen if the footing toe is too small or if the wall wasn't properly reinforced. Railroad tie retaining walls can begin to collapse due to wood rot or deterioration.

Most retaining walls require drainage "weeps". If water accumulates behind the wall, this additional weight can cause clay soils to expand, leading to cracks and tilting.

A retaining wall separating from the adjoining walls in Belmont

Retaining Walls Separating From Adjacent Walls

Like collapsing/tilting retaining walls, walls that are separating from adjacent walls are often caused by poor quality construction.

A separating retaining wall may have not been designed to withstand the weight that actually bears on the wall. Poor drainage and inadequate reinforcement or connection to the adjacent wall are other possible causes. In unusual cases, expansive soils may also cause a retaining wall to separate from an adjoining wall.

A collapsing, crumbling retaining wall in Swanton

Crumbling/Failing Retaining Walls

Retaining walls can crumble for a wide variety of reasons, most related to improper design of the walls itself.

Often, the wall was not designed to bear the weight load behind it. In the case of concrete retaining walls, the issue may be inadequate, weak, or poorly mixed concrete.

Concrete retaining walls may also have been designed with inadequate steel rebar, resulting in insufficient strength.

Repairing Retaining Walls

A diagram of a foundation wall anchor system installation.
A graphic depiction of a helical wall anchor system installation.

(Above) A wall anchor system relies on the fixed position of an earth anchor and clamping pressure from an anchor rod.

(Below) A helical anchor system utilizes helix-shaped plates welded to the anchor shaft to pull the anchor deep into the soil.

To repair retaining walls, we at Northern Basement Systems typically recommend either wall anchors or helical tiebacks to restore structural integrity.

Both wall repair techniques use a strong steel wall bracket on the exterior of the retaining wall to brace the wall distribute the anchor's clamping pressure.

With both wall anchors and helical tiebacks, your foundation repair contractor will also attempt to return the wall to its original position, restoring its appearance and structural integrity.

Wall anchors accomplish this by driving an anchor rod through 1" holes driven into the retaining wall. These rods are connected to earth anchors that are placed within augured holes within the soil beyond the retaining wall.

Once assembled, the wall plate is installed, and the rod assembly is tightened. This can potentially straighten the wall and return it to its original position.

Helical anchors are installed from the exposed face of the retaining wall, through a hole cut in the wall. The anchor's helical blades help to pull it deep into the soil and anchor it there. After closing the hole in the retaining wall, a wall plate is installed and a nut is tightened over the protruding threaded rod to brace the wall.

Wall anchors are generally the more economical solution to repairing a retaining wall. However, in some cases, wall anchor installation is not a possibility, and helical anchor installation must be considered. This includes situations where rocky soil is an issue, or when space restrictions make auguring a hole beyond the retaining wall an impractical solution. Your foundation repair specialist will be able to advise you on the most appropriate solution for you.

Learn about our foundation wall anchor system.

What NOT To Do

Like other solutions for structural issues, you will encounter many options for repairing your retaining wall. Here are two "fixes" that we at Northern Basement Systems do NOT recommend:

Rusted wall plate anchors in a retaining wall repair in Weare.

At Northern Basement Systems, our wall anchor systems are designed with galvanized steel to help protect from rust and corrosion.

We include a 25-year manufacturer's warranty with each installation, as well as our own installation warranty.

Removing & Rebuilding The Retaining Wall:

Unless the retaining wall is showing extensive deterioration, removing and rebuilding the walls should not be necessary.

Removing and rebuilding a retaining wall is an expensive, time-consuming process typically involves heavy equipment, major excavation and the loss of valuable landscaping features.

Poor Quality Wall Anchors:

Retaining wall anchors are exposed to the elements -- both in the soil and on the wall plates themselves. If these anchors are poorly made or not treated to resist corrosion,, they will quickly look old and unsightly. This will lower the property value possibly lead to early failure of the anchor.

We recommend installing wall anchors made with galvanized steel -- with a written warranty that stands by the product for decades to come.

We Repair Retaining Walls In VT and NH!

At Northern Basement Systems, we provide warranted solutions for retaining wall repair throughout Vermont and New Hampshire. For homeowners interested in learning more about their unique problem, we offer free, written retaining wall repair quotes at no obligation. To schedule an appointment with one of our specialists, call or e-mail us today!

We proudly serve Laconia, Burlington, Keene areas such as Barre, Essex Junction, Rutland, Brattleboro, Montperlier, Bennington, South Burlington, Colchester, Claremont, Concord, Saint Albans (St Albans), Milton, Berlin, Middlebury, and nearby.

Looking for a price? Get a no cost, no obligation free estimate.

Serving VT and NH including the Greater Burlington area
Cities in Belknap County, NH
Alton Bay
Belmont
Center Harbor
Gilford
Gilmanton
Gilmanton Iron Works
Laconia
Meredith
New Hampton
Sanbornton
Tilton

Cities in Carroll County, NH
Bartlett
Center Conway
Center Ossipee
Center Sandwich
Center Tuftonboro
Chatham
Chocorua
Conway
Freedom
Glen
Intervale
Jackson
Madison
Mirror Lake
Moultonborough
North Conway
North Sandwich
Silver Lake
South Tamworth
Tamworth
West Ossipee

Cities in Cheshire County, NH
Alstead
Ashuelot
Chesterfield
Dublin
Fitzwilliam
Gilsum
Harrisville
Hinsdale
Jaffrey
Keene
Marlborough
Marlow
Nelson
North Walpole
Rindge
Spofford
Stoddard
Sullivan
Swanzey
Troy
Walpole
West Chesterfield
Westmoreland
Winchester

Cities in Coos County, NH
Berlin
Colebrook
Errol
Gorham
Groveton
Jefferson
Lancaster
Milan
Mount Washington
North Stratford
Northumberland
Pittsburg
Randolph
Whitefield

Cities in Grafton County, NH
Ashland
Bath
Bethlehem
Bristol
Campton
Canaan
Enfield
Etna
Franconia
Grafton
Hanover
Haverhill
Hebron
Holderness
Lebanon
Lincoln
Lisbon
Littleton
Lyme
Monroe
North Haverhill
North Woodstock
Orford
Piermont
Pike
Plymouth
Rumney
Sugar Hill
Thornton
Warren
Wentworth
West Lebanon
Woodsville

Cities in Hillsborough County, NH
Antrim
Bennington
Greenfield
Hancock
Hillsborough
New Ipswich
Peterborough
Temple
Weare

Cities in Merrimack County, NH
Andover
Bradford
Canterbury
Contoocook
Danbury
Franklin
Henniker
Hill
Loudon
New London
Newbury
Salisbury
Warner
Wilmot

Cities in Sullivan County, NH
Charlestown
Claremont
Cornish
Goshen
Grantham
Lempster
Meriden
Newport
Plainfield
South Acworth
Springfield
Sunapee
Washington

Cities in Addison County, VT
Bridport
Bristol
Ferrisburgh
Granville
Hancock
Middlebury
New Haven
North Ferrisburgh
Orwell
Ripton
Roxbury
Salisbury
Shoreham
Starksboro
Vergennes
Whiting

Cities in Bennington County, VT
Arlington
Bennington
Bondville
Dorset
East Arlington
East Dorset
Manchester Center
North Bennington
North Pownal
Peru
Pownal
Readsboro
Shaftsbury
Stamford
West Rupert

Cities in Caledonia County, VT
Barnet
Danville
East Burke
East Hardwick
East Ryegate
Groton
Hardwick
Lyndon Center
Lyndonville
Peacham
Saint Johnsbury
Sheffield
South Ryegate
Sutton
West Burke
West Danville

Cities in Chittenden County, VT
Burlington
Cambridge
Charlotte
Colchester
Essex Junction
Fairfax
Hinesburg
Huntington
Jericho
Milton
Richmond
Shelburne
South Burlington
Underhill
Westford
Williston
Winooski

Cities in Essex County, VT
Averill
Beecher Falls
Canaan
Concord
East Haven
Gilman
Guildhall
Island Pond
Lunenburg
North Concord
Norton

Cities in Franklin County, VT
Bakersfield
East Berkshire
East Fairfield
Enosburg Falls
Fairfield
Franklin
Highgate Center
Montgomery Center
Richford
Saint Albans
Sheldon
Swanton

Cities in Grand Isle County, VT
Alburgh
Grand Isle
Isle La Motte
North Hero
South Hero

Cities in Lamoille County, VT
Belvidere Center
Eden
Eden Mills
Hyde Park
Jeffersonville
Johnson
Morrisville
Stowe
Waterville
Wolcott

Cities in Orange County, VT
Bradford
Brookfield
Chelsea
Corinth
East Corinth
East Randolph
East Thetford
Fairlee
Newbury
Post Mills
Randolph
Randolph Center
South Strafford
Strafford
Thetford Center
Topsham
Tunbridge
Vershire
Washington
Wells River
West Fairlee
West Topsham
Williamstown

Cities in Orleans County, VT
Albany
Barton
Coventry
Craftsbury
Craftsbury Common
Derby
Derby Line
East Charleston
Glover
Greensboro
Greensboro Bend
Irasburg
Lowell
Morgan
Newport
Newport Center
North Troy
Orleans
Troy
West Charleston
West Glover
Westfield

Cities in Rutland County, VT
Belmont
Bomoseen
Brandon
Castleton
Center Rutland
Chittenden
Cuttingsville
Danby
East Wallingford
Fair Haven
Florence
Killington
Middletown Springs
Mount Holly
North Clarendon
Pawlet
Pittsfield
Pittsford
Poultney
Proctor
Rutland
Wallingford
Wells
West Pawlet
West Rutland

Cities in Washington County, VT
Adamant
Barre
Cabot
Calais
East Barre
East Calais
East Montpelier
Graniteville
Marshfield
Montpelier
Moretown
North Montpelier
Northfield
Plainfield
Waitsfield
Warren
Waterbury
Waterbury Center
Woodbury
Worcester

Cities in Windham County, VT
Bellows Falls
Brattleboro
Cambridgeport
East Dover
Grafton
Jacksonville
Jamaica
Londonderry
Newfane
Putney
Saxtons River
South Londonderry
South Newfane
Townshend
Vernon
Wardsboro
West Dover
West Dummerston
West Halifax
West Townshend
West Wardsboro
Westminster
Whitingham
Williamsville
Wilmington

Cities in Windsor County, VT
Bethel
Bridgewater
Bridgewater Corners
Brownsville
Cavendish
Chester
Gaysville
Hartland
Ludlow
North Hartland
North Pomfret
North Springfield
Norwich
Perkinsville
Plymouth
Proctorsville
Quechee
Reading
Rochester
Sharon
South Pomfret
South Royalton
South Woodstock
Springfield
Stockbridge
Taftsville
West Hartford
Weston
White River Junction
Windsor
Woodstock

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