Do Retaining Walls Need Rebar?

As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases made on our website. If you make a purchase through links from this website, we may get a small share of the sale from Amazon and other similar affiliate programs.

A retaining wall is a structure built vertically or near-vertically in gardens, basements, or other places with uneven ground to level the earth and stop the soil from eroding. As you make your retaining wall, you might wonder if you’ll need to put rebars in it.

You must place rebar in your retaining wall if you intend to build it using concrete or another heavy material, primarily if you intend to use the wall to support a lot of weight. Rebar must be placed at intervals prescribed by your local building regulations.

This article will discuss how much rebar is needed for a retaining wall and where rebar goes on a retaining wall. We’ll also explore if you can build a retaining wall without the concrete and if the retaining wall needs concrete footing.

How Much Rebar Is Needed for a Retaining Wall?

Failing to consider the dimensions of your wall will result in miscalculation on the amount of rebar to be used and will impact the stability and integrity of your wall. In this regard, knowing how much rebar you need is essential.

The rebar needed for a retaining wall depends on its height and length to ensure the strength and stability of your wall. You need to check with the local building rules and regulations for the correct quantity of rebar necessary to build the wall.

Here are some of the things you need to consider when determining the required rebar for your retaining wall:

  • Placement: Rebar is usually installed at the concrete footing of a retaining wall to ensure efficiency and stability of the structure. Incorrect placement of rebars will result in severe structural faults and may damage your retaining wall or cause it to collapse.
  • Spacing: The spacing between rebars depends on the type of wall. One contractor suggests installing rebar every 16 inches (40.64 centimeters) on the center to reinforce the retaining wall.
  • Wall size: The rebar installation in your retaining wall depends on its length, height, and purpose. Your retaining wall in the garden will only need less reinforcement than other walls in a structure.
  • Rebar type: It will depend on the dimensions of your wall to identify the correct rebar type to use. Rebar comes in several lengths and sizes. The most common rebar sizes you can use in building your retaining wall are #3, #4, and #5.
  • Local building regulations: Numerous local government areas have passed legislation or rules about the type and size of rebar you can use to build your retaining wall. It’s best to check these regulations during the planning process. You may be required to secure a building permit if your wall reaches a certain height.

You may want to try this online rebar material calculator to know how much rebar you need. All you need to do is put the dimension numbers for your wall, which will calculate the rebar you need.

Where Does Rebar Go on a Retaining Wall?

Rebar is usually placed horizontally and vertically in a grid pattern on the footing of your retaining wall as specified in the building instructions. The placement of the rebars in your wall must also follow the local building regulations in your area.

Rebar on retaining wall
Photo 205836177 | Construction Retaining © Zdasiuk |

As mentioned above, rebars help ensure your retaining wall’s efficiency and stability. The people involved in the construction of your retaining wall are responsible for confirming that rebars are installed correctly to prevent any accidents.

In placing rebars in your retaining wall, you must ensure the correct minimum concrete cover or the amount of concrete placed between the rebar to preserve them from corrosion. The local building regulations in your area should specify the minimum concrete cover for rebar.

You must also ensure that rebar isn’t placed in the soil to prevent the material from rusting. You should not also put the rebar above fresh concrete as its position may change.

Does the Retaining Wall Need Concrete Footing?

You need a concrete footing if you plan to build a retaining wall using concrete, cinder blocks, cement, or bricks. You must also have concrete footing if your wall is too tall. This ensures that your retaining wall has a solid foundation and prevents cracks from appearing.

If you don’t put footing in your wall, the wall will shift once the ground below it also moves. Once your wall shifts, it’s now prone to collapse.

Additionally, you will need to ensure proper drainage is installed in your concrete footing. If the soil under or around the base gets swelled with water, it will also cause the wall to shift.

Can You Build a Retaining Wall Without Concrete?

You can build a retaining wall without concrete. To create a retaining wall, you can also use large timbers, natural stones, gravel, bricks, and manufactured blocks sold in home improvement shops.

Retaining Wall made of wood
Photo 96150282 | Construction Retaining © Sandytaurus |

Your retaining wall may need concrete footing if you want it to be structurally sound or if the wall is too tall. If you don’t want to use concrete, you can stack boulders or use crushed compacted stone as the footing for your wall. 

Steel can also be used to create a retaining wall. Ensure that the retained area has the proper drainage to prevent the steel from rusting and corrosion.

Another suggested using old tires as material to build a retaining wall. The tires were placed in a ladder-like structure, and they put plants to hold the wall.

Final Thoughts

Retaining walls need rebar to fortify the integrity of the structure you’re trying to build. The rebar required to make your wall depends on its height and length. Check your local building rules and regulations to ensure the retaining wall’s structural integrity. Failure to follow these rules may result in the wall’s collapse.

You must use concrete in your wall’s footing if you’re building it using heavy material like concrete or cement. You also have to use a rebar to reinforce the strength of your wall. However, you can also use lighter materials in building your retaining wall.

Are you a landscaping enthusiast and want to help me grow I am looking for writers! Just send me an email at [email protected]


I am always happy to share all my knowledge about how to keep your garden in good condition and make it special.

Recent Posts