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How Much Does a Retaining Wall Cost?

Get free estimates from local Retaining Wall contractors.

Or, call us to get free estimates (833) 915-1318.

National Retaining Wall Costs

$3 per sq. ft. Minimum Cost
$40 per sq. ft. Maximum Cost

Real Quoted Projects From Retaining Wall Contractors

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How Much Does a Retaining Wall Cost?

The cost of a retaining wall depends on the material chosen, the overall height of the wall and the length of the wall. Wood retaining walls start at $15 per square foot, while concrete retaining walls start at $20 per square foot. Homeowners interested in using natural stone will find that those stones increase the cost to $25 or more per square foot. Brick retaining wall costs start at $14 per square foot, while cinder block retaining wall material costs average $10 per square foot.

Get free estimates from local retaining wall contractors.

Or, call us to get free estimates (833) 915-1318.

Retaining Wall Cost

If you’re looking to shore up a property and protect your investment with a retaining wall, there are a lot of factors to consider. First and foremost, it’s important to understand the cost to build a retaining wall in order to plan your project and make the most informed decision. Along with the size and configuration you need, the materials you choose also play a huge role in the final retaining wall price.

For example, a wall built of wood or timbers can cost between $15 and $25 per square foot. If you’d rather have concrete, you can expect to spend roughly $20-25 per square foot to have it poured. On the other hand, you may want to enjoy the look of natural stone. In that case, you should budget approximately $8-12 per square foot. Using brick means you’ll spend about $14 or $15 per square foot; cinder block costs a little less, starting at $10 per square foot.

Retaining Wall Cost Factors

Although retaining wall estimates are affected primarily by the dimensions and materials, there are other variables in play as well. Here are some of the most significant considerations to help you determine how much it is to build a retaining wall on your property.

Geographic Location

Where you live can make a big difference in the cost of a retaining wall, largely because of the weather conditions you will experience. Property owners in areas that experience tropical storms or earthquakes will need to add reinforcement and waterproofing to their plans. These additional features are almost certain to add to the retaining wall price per square foot.

Excavation Requirements

Whether or not you already have a wall on your property can also affect the retaining wall cost per square foot. This is because any outdated or crumbling structures will need to be excavated before a new one can be installed. If there isn’t an existing wall in place, the work should be much easier and therefore less expensive.

Masonry Costs

Type Oof Soil

Soil conditions vary across the country. They can even change from one spot on a property to another. Depending on whether the soil is wet or dry, loose or compact, sandy or rocky, it can make the work more or less challenging for the professionals handling the job. In some cases, taller walls will require the presence of bedrock to support them.

Adding Steps

Sometimes included as a safety precaution or for the sake of convenience, many homeowners choose to add steps to their retaining walls. Naturally, the added materials, time and labor involved in this process factors into the overall price tag.

Site Accessibility

Depending on where you need it to be placed, the site of your retaining wall may be more or less challenging for crews to reach. Moving heavy materials such as bags of sand or stone blocks without the use of a driveway or road tends to take more time and physical work. That means the price tag of your project could increase by quite a bit, so keep accessibility in mind when budgeting.

Hiring A Contractor

One of the biggest factors in the average cost to build a retaining wall is the professional you hire to do the job. Rates for masonry contractors can fluctuate depending on their experience level and the demand. Masons who are more established tend to charge more than those who are just getting their feet wet. Likewise, the cost is going to vary depending on how busy they are, with slower times leading to lower rates.

The type of materials you choose also impacts what the labor will cost. Lighter materials such as wood or stone veneer mean you can expect to pay between $15 and $75 per hour. On the other hand, you might spend as much as $90 per hour just on labor if you go with brick or cinder blocks. Pouring concrete typically costs between $60 and $80 per hour of work.

As with all home improvement projects, it pays to get multiple estimates before making a decision on a contractor. Getting at least three quotes should give a reasonably accurate retaining wall cost estimate that you can use to make your final decision.

What Is A Retaining Wall

Advantages Of Retaining Walls

Adding a retaining wall to your property can be a worthwhile investment for a number of reasons. For instance, a homeowner might choose to build one to protect their foundation. If your house or other structure is constructed on steep or unstable ground, there’s a chance that the foundation could shift or fall over time. Building a retaining wall helps hold everything in place and mitigates the risk of damage to your home.

Retaining walls serve aesthetic purposes, as well. For example, they can be used in small-scale landscaping projects to separate flower beds and gardens from the rest of your yard. They can also serve as a decorative feature around patios or pools.

A retaining wall can be useful to delineate property lines between you and your neighbor’s lot. For additional privacy, you could erect a taller wall to keep prying eyes away from your backyard.

DIY Retaining Wall

DIY Or Hire a Pro?

How much does it cost to build a retaining wall by yourself? It may be surprising, but the truth is that you’ll likely spend more than if you were to hire a professional contractor to do the same work. That’s because even though you may be willing to haul the stones and mix the mortar, you probably don’t have the same expertise as a pro.

That inexperience could mean your finished product lacks the durability and performance you need in a retaining wall. Additionally, you may encounter unexpected complications that could result in costly delays and duplicated efforts. To be on the safe side, it’s best to entrust your project to a contractor who knows what he or she is doing and has a proven track record of success.

Find A Pro

The average cost of a retaining wall can be well worth the money in more ways than one. Not only can a wall help protect your home, but it also brings value, aesthetic appeal and additional functionality. If you’ve been thinking about installing a retaining wall on your property, now is the time. ImproveNet can put you in touch with professionals in your area who have the skills and experience to do the job right.

FAQs About Retaining Walls

How long do retaining walls typically last?

If built by experienced people who know what they are doing, you can expect a retaining wall to last for decades, if not a lifetime.

What’s the maximum height possible?

That depends on your property and what type of protection you require. An expert contractor should be able to determine what would work best for your needs.

How long does the work typically take?

For an average wall of 15 feet long by four feet high, the typical installation process takes about three days. Obviously, walls that are larger will take longer to construct, while smaller structures will require less time.

Can commercial properties benefit from a retaining wall?

Absolutely — any property can benefit from the addition of a wall to help control grading.

Will I need to install drainage for my wall?

Maybe, maybe not. If needed, drainage could involve a few holes drilled into the bricks, or it might require pipes built into the wall. A contractor will be able to tell you whether or not this is necessary.

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