Counterfort Retaining Wall Definitions & Advantages | Counterfort Retaining Wall Design Example

Counterfort Retaining Wall Definitions & Advantages | Counterfort Retaining Wall Design Example

Counterfort Retaining Wall | How is Counterfort Retaining Wall Done? | Advantages of Counterfort Retaining Wall | Counterfort Retaining Wall Vs Cantilever Retaining Walls

What Is a Counterfort Retaining Wall?

A counterfort retaining wall is one kind of retainer that uses an external support to help it stand up. Counterforts are often used in taller walls, as the weight of the earth behind them can be too

A counterfort retaining wall is a form of retaining wall which utilizes an additional support at the back to help hold up the face.

Counterfort walls are particularly useful when there are slopes or large overhangs in front of them, because they can use gravity and their extra support to keep from collapsing due to the weight in front.

This type of wall is often used on steeper grades than other types of retaining walls, as it provides more stability for any material that has been placed behind it.

They also provide a good way to create outdoor spaces while still keeping slope angles manageable.

The main downside with this type of construction is that it requires some special engineering knowledge, since you need access both sides and will be digging into steep terrain for

How is Counterfort Retaining Wall Done?

A counterfort retaining wall is a type of structural support that stabilizes the slope of an embankment.

They are typically built by excavating trenches and then filling them with rocks or other material to create a high, narrow structure. This provides stability for the slope being supported.

Counterforts retain walls are most often used in mining applications but can also be found on residential construction sites as well.

Counterfort retaining walls were first developed in the early 1900s to provide stability for coal mine shafts in Pennsylvania’s anthracite region.

Today they are used widely around the world as a means of stabilizing steep slopes while only taking up minimal space on top of ground level. The design has been adapted into many different types including cantilevered

A counterfort retaining wall is a type of retaining wall that utilizes an external support to help it stand up.

Counterforts are often used in taller walls, where the weight of the earth behind them can be too much for a single row of reinforcing bars or concrete.

A counterfort differs from a buttress because they do not serve as an additional structural support and instead only provide stability against lateral pressures caused by heavy loads.

Counterfort Retaining Wall Design ExampleGabion retaining wall

A Counterfort retaining wall is a type of retaining wall that utilizes the principle of counterfort to resist lateral loads. It does not require a footing and instead relies on gravity as its primary load-bearing system.

Counterforts are exterior vertical columns, usually placed at intervals along the length of the structure, which transfer weight from the arch or other walls into the ground.

A retaining wall is a structure that prevents soil from slumping. It can be used to stabilize earth around the foundation of a building or other structure, or as part of an embankment near streams and highways.


A counterfort retaining wall also called a cantilever retaining wall, is designed to transfer weight onto the nearest footer by using inclined reinforcement beams.

Counterforts are typically thinner than standard walls which allow for more space on top for landscaping and garden usage.

Counterfort design uses inclined reinforcement beams in order to transfer weight from the backside of the wall onto its front.

This type of design provides more space at ground level for gardens and landscapers alike while still providing stability where it’s needed most: at the base

A counterfort retaining wall, also known as a buttress, has two sloping sides that meet at an angle of 90 degrees.

This style of retaining wall can be found in places where there are hard, solid rocks on one side and soft or loose material on the other side.

Counterforts are designed with more weight towards the base for stability purposes. They also have less slope than most other types of walls which means they don’t need to be so high to resist pressure from above.

Advantages of Counterfort Retaining Wall

  1. It is simple, easy and less costly to construct
  2. No use of expensive steel bars for stability
  3. Less formwork or shuttering required, thus saving on construction costs
  4. It reduces the length of the front face by about two-thirds compared to conventional cantilever retaining wall
  5. No need to provide for lateral loads or uplift on top of the wall
  6. Less excavation required
  7. Excellent load distribution over small pockets of embedded material and simple construction
  8. Can be built in sections or stages, thus reducing the construction time and cost
  9. Designed to resist lateral forces in one direction only, so does not require any uplift resistance at the back face, allowing a saving of around 50% of costs for reinforcement compared to conventional cantilever retaining walls

Counterfort Retaining Wall FAQs

What is a counterfort?

Counterfort is short for counter pressure. It serves to reduce pressure on the wall and resist the walls movement.

Counterforts are placed at strategic points where walls deflect especially in mine’s shafts that are inclined.

What is the purpose of a counterfort?

A counterfort is built at a point where the wall is most likely to deflect due to change in slope or percolation of water or snow, since uplift of soil behind it will keep it from sliding down hill and collapsing.

Counterforts are used to stabilize the face of an embankment, making it less likely to collapse. They provide stability to the structure.

What does a counterfort do?

The construction of a counterfort helps support the face of an embankment, making it less likely to collapse. It provides stability to the structure.

How are counterforts built?

Counterforts are constructed in pairs, one on each side of the wall, with each pair spaced at 7-10 times the height of the wall above ground level. They are usually spaced every 3 meters along the face of wall.

How are counterforts used?

Counterforts are used to stabilise the walls behind which an embankment would normally deflect due to its steep slope, when they deformation is not very much.

What are the advantages of a counterfort?

The counterfort reduces deflection of the face of a retaining wall, which means that less reinforcement is required for the face. This cuts down on costs and provides a more stable structure.

How are counterforts used in mines?

Counterforts are used to support walls in inclined shafts or tunnels with steep inclines. They can also be used to support sections of wall where there is a change in slope, like at bends or junctions in the mine’s path.

Why not use buttress instead of a counterfort?

Buttresses are usually used when the wall has a large overhang on one side, where there will be water flowing downhill. Counterforts are more suitable for walls with smaller overhangs, like at a mining site.

Counterforts are also less expensive to construct than buttresses because they occupy less space.

What are counterforts in a retaining wall?

The counterforts connect the slab and foundation and serve to decrease the shear pressures and bending moments imposed on the wall by the earth.

The additional concrete has the unintended consequence of increasing the weight of the wall.

A retaining wall is a strong structure that is built to hold soil or debris masses at one end with varying levels so that the soil masses do not slip off it.

As a result, retaining walls are specifically constructed to withstand lateral earth pressure and stresses.

The retaining wall also prevents the direct vertical exposure of soil at various elevations, reducing erosion and maintaining slope stability.

A counterfort retaining wall is one that withstands all lateral stresses by flexural action rather than weight.

As a result, such a wall has a large base foundation, a vertical stem strengthened with bar, and is supported by thin transverse slabs called Counterfort that are spaced at regular intervals.

What is the purpose of counterforts in a retaining wall?

If the ground pressure produced by the backfill material tends to topple the stem of the retaining wall, a counterbalance is provided.

The counterfort is cast in a single piece, together with the heel slab and stem. It is available on the earthen side of the wall.

The counterforts tensile under soil pressure, countering the overturning impact on the retaining wall. The stem, toe and heel slabs, and counterforts are RCC constructions in this style of retaining wall.

Counterforts in retaining walls are utilized for walls that are taller than 8 to 12 meters. They are also utilized when the backfill soils are highly surcharged and have a high lateral pressure.

The counterfort connects the foundation slab to the stem of the wall. They buffer the strain together, which increases their bond with one another.

Counterforts also aid in decreasing the bending moment and shear pressures generated by soil pressure on a retaining wall.

Counterforts also aid in raising a retaining wall’s self-weight. It contributes to the retaining wall’s stability.

A counterfort retaining wall is also known as a cantilever wall with counterforts or buttresses. They are connected to the inside face of the wall to withstand lateral thrust.

What are the primary elements of the counterfort retaining wall?

Counterfort retaining walls, like cantilever retaining walls, have a stem, toe slab, and heel slab. However, it also has counterforts, which are regular intervals that split the stem.

The stem, when combined with counterfort, functions like a tee-beam of variable width.

What are the advantages of Counterfort retaining walls over cantilever walls?

Counterfort walls are a more cost-effective way to connect the vertical wall to the heel slab. This wall serves as a tension component to support vertical walls.

This wall minimizes the bending moment and serves as a support for the hell slab.

What is the maximum height for cantilever retaining wall?

Cantilever retaining walls are most commonly made up to a height of 6m. Because of the lever arm effect, earth pressure owing to retained fill is higher at higher heights, resulting in larger moments at the base, which leads to a higher section for stability design as well as structural design.

When the height of the earth mass to be secured is less than 6 m, a cantilever retaining wall is typically preferred; otherwise, a counterfort retaining wall is used for economic reasons.

Which retaining wall is best?

Poured concrete is the strongest and most durable choice for retaining walls. It may also be carved and formed to look like mortared stone depending on your taste.

Counterfort Retaining Wall Design Example

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