How High Can Concrete Sleepers Retaining Wall Go?

Concrete sleepers have been used for making retaining walls and decorating outdoor areas for a while now. They come in many sizes. Here at Concrete Sleepers Melbourne, we offer long-lasting, engineer-certified and durable products.

The maximum height for our typical concrete sleepers is 2.8 meters. They come in a variety of lengths and widths to suit any and all kinds of commercial and residential applications.

Retaining walls is the perfect use for concrete sleepers. These walls are built from just 200mm to a few meters depending on the sleeper chosen as well as the steel post used. When installed correctly the end product is guaranteed to be strong and durable for many decades.

Height of Concrete Sleepers

With engineering and structural support, concrete sleepers can reach very high heights, for example the 1.2 meter long, 80mm width sleeper can be used on walls up to 4.4 meters considering a 5kPa of soil pressure How high a concrete sleeper wall can go depends on many different factors, including the soil, the reinforcement, size and concrete used on the sleeper selected, the steel and other factors depending on the location where the wall will be.

There are a variety of sleepers with different widths and lengths. The sleepers' size falls in the range of 1.2 meters or 1190 mm to 3 meters with different widths including 80mm, 100mm, 120mm and for some special cases even 150mm. With a 5 kPa pressure, the height will range from 800 mm to 7500 mm. Under 10 kPa, the height ranges from 500 mm to 7000 mm.

Height depends on the thickness and length

Thickness and length are important factors to keep in mind while talking about the height of concrete sleepers. These factors suggest the physical capability and strength of the retaining wall being built. 

Each sleeper has a specific height based on the reinforcement, the strength of the concrete, and its size for its engineering and installing purposes. How high a concrete sleeper wall can go is calculated by engineers.  Concrete Sleeper companies like us will give you a table with the maximum retained height for each sleeper based on a particular soil consideration. In any case your engineer or surveyor will let you know what you will need based on your particular circumstances.

Concrete sleepers have the ability to withstand pressure, but decreased tensile strength can be an issue. Reinforced bars (reo bars) increase the strength of the sleepers, and hence the structure as well. All our concrete sleeper products have 2 x N12 reo bars installed; this ensures that the end product is strong and sturdy. We can also adjust up to 3 x N12 reo bars, if necessary..

Type of Soil

How high a retaining wall can go is highly influenced by the type of soil. The soil forms the base structure for the sleepers to settle in, so it must be able to withstand the force.

A way to check the soil is the soil test. Structural engineers are hired for this job as you need to have proper soil testing before proceeding forward. This step ensures that the concrete sleeper retaining wall being built is durable.

Steel Posts

The steel posts go hand in hand with the sleepers. The rule of thumb is that the post hole depth needs to be as deep as the height of the retaining wall. This means that a wall of 1.5 meters height will generally need a 3 meters long steel.

Steel posts also come in different sizes and lengths, they are usually referred based on the weight of a 1 meter long steel, for example the 100UC 14.8 is referred for a 100mm steel and its weight is 14.8Kgs for a meter long.

100mm steel is used for the 80mm width sleepers, and for the 100mm and 120mm width sleepers the steel needed is 150mm or above.

Generally speaking a retaining wall taller than 2 meters will usually use 150mm steel. In any case this will be specified by the engineer who is calculating your wall.

Council approval

Each area has a specific height that you can not cross when using concrete sleepers under Council rules. Before starting any building process with sleepers, make sure to check with your council.

In most cases, walls over 1 meter require both engineering as well as council approvals. However, each council’s rules differ in this regard, so it is advised to contact your local council to know the exact measurements for which you will need a permit. 

Note that the walls that need council approval have to be engineered by professionals. Council approval and engineering are very necessary.