Build a Retaining Wall Cost


How Much Does a Retaining Wall Cost?

A retaining wall can have several different purposes. It might be designed to stop soil from eroding, or alternately, it could establish a flat surface on inclined land. Generally, other walls are built only with aesthetic goals in mind. Either way, this is a difficult project involving several important phases. A contractor will need to clear the land and/or perform excavation before starting to construct a retaining wall. This structure can be built using a handful of different materials. Concrete is the most common choice, but some homeowners prefer the look of wood or stone.

Factors That Influence The Cost To Build a Retaining Wall

Here are the main factors that will influence the cost to build a retaining wall:

  • height
  • length
  • wall material
  • surrounding terrain
  • any trees or brush

While many homeowners only care about how much it will cost to build a retaining wall, there are many components to take into consideration. When you want to calculate the overall price, it's highly recommended that you compare estimates from 3 or more contractors to ensure you get the most accurate price possible.

How Much Does It Cost To Build a Retaining Wall?

Differences in size, material and terrain result in a tremendous variety of construction costs. for the sake of this cost guide, let's consider the cost to build a 50 ft long, cast concrete retaining wall. On a national average, most people will spend a minimum of $12,800 -  for a 6 ft high retaining wall  $13,700. For an 8 ft high retaining wall,  homeowners will spend around on a  

Steep land, top-notch materials and/or a particularly higher 10 ft wall can cause the price to climb as high as $19,900.

You could also end up spending more if extensive clearing work for trees or brush proves necessary, or the area is difficult for workers and heavy equipment to reach.

Contractors often supply significantly different quotes, so a homeowner's willingness to comparison-shop can have a considerable effect on how much he or she will pay.

Retaining Wall Cost Breakdown

The bill for this construction project will include a range of significant expenses.

Also keep in mind that material costs vary greatly depending on the type of wall, but if soil and gravel are needed it will add to the total expense.

The cost to build a retaining wall generally consists of about 73% labor and 21% materials. Another 6% primarily goes to maintain heavy equipment and tools. A tall retaining wall usually requires the services of an engineer. If this is necessary for your project, it will add an average of $350 onto the cost to build a retaining wall, or no more than 17% of the total building project cost. On an hourly rate, you can expect to spend between $50 - $60 for builders' labor.

Consider the following retaining wall material and labor rates:

Material Choice Cost Cost & Labor
Interlocking Concrete Blocks $10 - $15 $15 - $30 per sq ft
Wood $15 $20 - $25 per sq ft
Stone $25 $25 - $40 per sq ft
Poured Concrete $20 $30 - $40 per sq ft

Excavation & Construction 

One of the most significant factors is the slope of the land where you want to build a wall. It will cost more to construct on a steep hill instead of a flat or slightly inclined surface.

Not surprisingly, the length and height of the wall will have a major impact. Adding four feet to its height could boost the price by around $7,000. A concrete block retaining wall is less expensive than those made from termite-resistant wood, while stone is the most costly option.

Other important considerations include the accessibility of your lot and the type of soil. You'll pay about $1,500 - $2,000 for each acre graded and cleared.

Other Costs to Consider

The cost to build a retaining wall is also influenced by geographic location. Wages, permit fees, and concrete or lumber prices vary from one region to the next. This project usually involves extensive transportation of heavy supplies and equipment, so a specific area's fuel costs are consequential. Some locales have soil or weather conditions that make this work more time-consuming too.

If you are building a high retaining wall ( 3 ft or more ) with a relatively higher level of complexity, it is recommended that you enlist the expertise of a building engineer. You can expect to spend around $200 - $500 for professional designs.

Construction of a retaining wall is by no means a DIY task for the average enthusiastic handyman. It takes careful planning and a lot of time to complete. It's always recommend that you compare estimates from multiple contractors to get a feel for the contractor that will work best for your project. 

Get a FREE Localized Retaining Wall Estimate From Selected Pros

You can easily request an estimate that takes all of the above factors into account, and it won't cost you anything. Simply enter your home zip code in the space provided below to get a totally FREE estimate from a professional  in your region on the cost to build a retaining wall. Experts are standing by to answer all your questions and it won't cost you anything. 


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