How to Build A Sleeper Retaining Wall With Steel Posts

Building a sleeper retaining wall isn’t as difficult as it might seem. And you know what? You can actually get it done with just a bit of help.

If you’re considering doing it, then you might as well use steel posts for this purpose. Steel posts are the perfect material for this job as they offer both great functionality and appeal. They ensure that your retaining wall stays upright and lasts a long time.

If you want to build a sleeper retaining wall, our team here at Concrete Sleepers Melbourne is here to help you! With a step-by-step guide on how to build a concrete sleeper retaining wall and all the queries answered, let’s get started.

What exactly is a sleeper retaining wall?

A sleeper retaining wall is a structural wall that is built by using concrete sleepers maintained by steel posts. It is typically used when the land is not flat or when there is a noticeable difference in height. 

Here is a step by step guide on how to build a sleeper retaining wall with steel posts:

Step by Step Guide

1. All About The Area

Before you dig into things, first things first! You need to prepare and plan exactly what you are going to do. Plan the area you are going to use. Locate it and clear it. Remove any unnecessary items.

The next thing is the measurement of the area. When calculating the area where the concrete sleeper retaining wall is going to lie, you need to know the size of the wall being built. You need to layout your entire plan and figure out where the wall is going to be erected. 

You also need to have a rough idea about the size of the steel posts and how deep into the ground the posts will sink. Once you are done with the preparation and planning of the area, you can move on to the digging details.

2. Digging

Next comes the process of digging. Before you start this, remember that safety always comes first! Therefore, take all necessary precautions.

Digging requires you to calculate both the size of the steel posts and the length of concrete. Always keep in mind the Rule of Thumb. This rule states that the height of the retaining wall is how deep the posts sink into the ground.

Dig the holes at equal distances from one another. This ensures maximum stability for the retaining wall.

The diameters and sizes of the holes totally depend on the size of the steel posts and concrete. For example, for a 2.0m sleeper, holes should be dug at approximately 2010 mm centers. 

3. Cutting the Sleepers

This is one of those steps which you can never turn back from. So, accuracy in measurement is essential. Measure twice and cut once. Make certain that your sleepers are the exact length and height you want.

4. Post Holes 

This is the second step in digging. These holes are dug for the purpose of installing in the steel posts and securing the concrete.

Just like before, dig equidistant holes. Measure the distance between holes according to the size of the steel and sleepers. Accuracy in measurement will give you strong foundations for your retaining wall.

5. Setting Concrete and Steel

Place steel into the post holes. Most steel posts of this kind come along with a built-in space for sleepers. Put the sleepers into the empty space and ensure that they are aligned. 

Next comes the fun part of pouring in all that concrete. Mix it and let it drown to the bottom of the steel posts. Wait till it has settled on the base. Never overfill the holes. Take extra precautions so that the concrete does not exceed from the top of each post line.

A commonly asked question is how much allowance should be between the sleeper and the posts? Well, that depends on the size of both of those things. Typically, an allowance of about 7mm to 10mm is allowed. First, place the sleeper in between the steel posts and then check the measurement.

In order to level the concrete, use poles and sticks to create a strong alignment. Check the alignment for all the posts before you let it sit overnight.

6. Soil Plug

Once you have ensured that concrete is in place, work on the soil plug. The soil plug is a covering over the post hole. When there is an open-ended pipe or structure, a soil plug prevents soil from entering within. This is done so that the retaining wall is built and maintains its shape.

7. Drainage and Backfilling

This is the last step in the process of building a concrete sleeper retaining wall. It is a critical step and there is no way you can skip it.

Any kind of nearby water source is the worst nightmare of retaining walls. So, first, you need to do the drainage. You can simply do this by placing a plastic membrane or scoria (the kind of rock used in drainage works). Place a drainage pipe or strip behind or at the bottom of the wall; as you go on building, place drainage pipes as well.

Backfilling is the process of refilling the soil and materials that were removed. These materials may be removed during any of the above-mentioned steps. 

There is no point in a sleeper retaining wall without backfilling. It guarantees that the wall won’t fall over and remain intact and sturdy.

How Many Sleepers Do I Need and What Length?

When it comes to the number of sleepers you’ll be needing, let’s be honest, there is no exact number. It all depends on how long you want your wall to be. One way to figure out the number of sleepers is by multiplying the distance between the posts by the number of steel posts. This gives you an estimate of the number of sleepers needed.

As for the length, that also depends on the height you want your wall to be. The above-mentioned Rule of Thumb applies here as well. Keep in mind that council-approved walls are only 1m long. 

Do you need council approval?

Council approval is usually not needed when the difference in ground level is just 1m or less. However, you still need to check with the authorities. Building a sleeper retaining wall interrupts drainage and water flow. So, some regions may require you to submit your plans before you begin.

This is where Dial Before You Dig comes into place. It is a nationwide service that provides you with details about underground utilities and pipes. 

Why should you consider this option?

Steel has added benefits over any other material used. When it comes to concrete sleepers, steel is always in high demand. It is an environmentally friendly option and its strength to weight ratio is the highest.

Steel has always met the standards of concrete sleepers Melbourne. It has the ability to withstand harsh weather conditions and doesn’t deteriorate over time. Thus, steel posts are the perfect option for building a concrete sleeper retaining wall.

Why Should You Use Our Products?

It's all about trust! Our products are engineered with quality and craftsmanship. With dozens of reviews from satisfied clients, big and small, our team of experts achieves our client’s visions from end to end.

We manufacture a variety of quality concrete sleepers to meet your needs! From garden beds to retaining walls, we offer concrete sleepers in a variety of lengths and widths. With our products, all kinds of your needs, be it commercial or industrial, can be fulfilled.