The Art of Underpinning
October 21, 2017
build retaining walls
Design-Build Retaining Walls
January 18, 2018
Hyatt House, Austin, Texas

Retaining Walls Failure & Remediation

Why do we need retaining walls?

Retaining walls are used in all sorts of circumstances, from industrial open pit mining to the sloping rock garden in your backyard. It is extremely prevalent in urban city center construction where skyscraping buildings are crowded together like New York or where the land is geophysically interesting, like San Francisco.

Houston is geophysically interesting in its own way. For example, in Houston’s Harris County, the northwest corner, and more specifically the Jersey Village area is subsiding (sinking) at a rate of about two inches per year. That’s not a major problem unless you’re on the fringe of the transition area. A ground shift can cause cracks in walls and foundations.

Geologists tell us this is because of the great increase of groundwater extraction in the area. This is a consequence of a massive influx of people into that area in recent decades.

At the other end of the spectrum, along the coastal areas near Houston, the land is rising. Beneath the soil is salt domes. These salt formations are much less dense than typical soil materials in the area, so like a bubble in a glass of champagne, they are rising to the surface (albeit, very slowly).

On top of that, there are about 300 fault lines in the area around Houston. Fortunately, they are not of the sort that causes significant earthquakes. Nevertheless, they do move a few inches per year and can cause deformations of the soil which can cause structural cracks. Do you have a lot of bad roads nearby? The odds are that the area straddles a fault line.

Moved to Fail
This sort of movement can cause the land to erode near water, stealing your property. They can cause shears which can result in abrupt changes in elevation, so what used to be a smooth transition between a rise and a field becomes a six-foot drop over time. It’s dangerous for people, cattle, or almost anything that moves.

Sometimes retaining walls can appear to fail for unpredictable reasons. But now you understand some of the powerful-but-subtle forces that are at work. That is why it is imperative that the moment you detect noticeable movement or deformations in walls and their surroundings they should be immediately evaluated. Delay can allow the damage to progress to the point the wall fails suddenly and completely.

Call the Experts
Oscar Orduno, Inc.’s professionally trained and thoroughly experienced engineers can help with all aspects of wall remediation from evaluation through design; from repair, or all the way up to complete reconstruction. This is truly a job for experts who have not only the knowledge and skill, but the proper equipment to complete the job successfully and provide you with a properly engineered retaining wall that will last for decades.

When the need arises, whether residential or commercial, your first call should always be Oscar Orduno, Inc. for new retaining walls, to enhance existing walls, or for repair retaining walls that are experiencing failure. We use soldier piles, ground anchors, geogrids, and reinforced concrete; it is possible to create a wide variety of long-lasting, durable wall types—and when combined with Shotcrete finishing, it allows smooth, curved, and artistic configurations, so this necessary work doesn’t make your home or business look like a Federal prison. Our skills and expertise allow us to meet budgets both grand and limited, even in locations where access is challenging.

The Takeaway
Oscar Orduno, Inc. is your go-to expert for retaining walls, underpinnings, earth retention systems, and specialty foundations, or shotcrete applications. We always try to exceed industry standards to achieve the highest quality results on all of our projects. We bring engagement, passion, and preparation to every job.

When you need Wall Remediation & Failure Repair in Texas, OOI is your go-to source for the engineering expertise you should demand.

We will always minimize unnecessary disruption to your neighbors, other tradespeople, and people in the vicinity. We promise to keep everyone safe during the construction process and to operate in a manner to ensure the utmost protection to your structures and property. We pay attention to all the details, so when the job is done you can be confident that it was done right!

We cover most of the state, including Dallas, Fort Worth, Austin, San Antonio, Houston, Lubbock, Amarillo, Tyler, and Waco. You’ll see our bright orange equipment in almost all of those places, and much more besides! We’d love to hear you say “Howdy," so take a moment and get in touch.

4600 Fuller Drive, Suite 375,
Irving, TX 75038



For that occasion when you dont want the earth to move!

Oscar Orduno, INC.

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