An MSE wall in Dallas.

What is a Mechanically Stabilized Earth Retaining Wall?

Due to the growth and expansion of cities such as Denver and Dallas, mechanically stabilized earth walls are in high demand. These walls, also known as MSE walls, are a true feat of modern technology and engineering. They’ve come a long way since they were first utilized in the mid-1900s and are now the US’s heavy-duty retaining wall of choice. 

Contact Slaton Brothers online or call (303) 806-8160 for our Denver office or (817) 857-6536 for our Dallas office to learn more about our process and to schedule a consultation. 

What is a Mechanically Stabilized Earth Retaining Wall? 

An MSE retaining wall combines three components to form a stable, strong, flexible, and durable barrier. They’re typically used along freeways and other high-volume traffic areas that need maximum reinforcement. Mechanically stabilized earth walls are also installed on dams, river banks, and embankments. However, MSE walls also get used around homes and businesses on a smaller scale. 

Let’s take a look at the three main components of an MSE wall. 

  • The Facing 

The facing on an MSE wall is the portion of the wall that’s visible to the public. While it provides support and strength to the structure, its primary purpose is to keep the soil reinforcement and backfill from corroding or shifting too much. 

You can use a number of different facing materials, but the most common are concrete panels of some sort. Concrete panels are strong and durable, and you can fit them together, similar to how a puzzle gets constructed. If you don’t like the idea of concrete panels, you can also use wire-facing material as the facing. 

  • The Soil Reinforcement 

The soil reinforcement is the glue that holds an MSE wall together. It connects to the facing and backfill you choose and provides much of the strength, durability, and flexibility of a stabilized earth wall. In most cases, soil reinforcement materials are made of steel or geosynthetic materials in the form of ladders, straps, and strips of varying shapes, lengths, and widths. 

The soil reinforcement straps or ladders help to hold the backfill component together and keep it from shifting. Without the reinforcements, your wall facing would have to be much thicker, which would increase the cost, time, and difficulty of construction. 

  • The Backfill

Last but not least, an MSE wall consists of backfill. You can use various types of backfill materials, but dirt, sand, gravel, and other types of soil are the most common. In addition to being the cheapest and most abundant component in an MSE wall, backfill is also one of the most important. It’s the main retaining force on your wall and gets supported and strengthened by the facing and soil reinforcements. 

What are the Benefits of a Mechanically Stabilized Earth Retaining Wall? 

Now that you know more about the elements of a mechanically stabilized earth wall, let’s look at why people prefer them above other options. 

  • They are more affordable to build than fully concrete structures. 
  • They are easier to build and take less time to construct than other retaining walls. 
  • Just as strong and durable as solid concrete structures. 
  • MSE walls are flexible and can shift with the earth. 
  • One of the most versatile types of retaining walls. 
  • You can choose any type of facing for aesthetics. 
  • Weight on top of the wall gets distributed over a broad area. 

Who to Contact for Quality Retaining Walls in Denver

If you looking for quality MSE wall construction, look no further than Slaton Brothers. We’re an industry leader in Dallas, Denver, and the surrounding areas when it comes to all types of retaining walls.

Contact Slaton Brothers online or call (303) 806-8160 for our Denver office or (817) 857-6536 for our Dallas office to set up a consultation and learn more about our MSE construction process. 

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