August 28, 2015

Retaining Walls on Pluto?

Mountain Range on Pluto
The NASA probe, New Horizons has already taught us a lot since reaching Pluto. One thing we already knew was that Pluto was very, very cold (about 375-400 degrees below zero!). What we have recently discovered is a mountain range along Pluto’s equator. While retaining walls on the mountains of Pluto may still be in the distant future, you can bet when the time comes, Allan Block will be there!

Back here on Earth, there are some very cold places that are in need of or already use retaining walls to change the way we use the land. If you are living in one of these sub-zeros or maybe even just mildly freezing places, there are a few items to be aware of when building walls to last.

A prime example would be a retaining wall with a walkway above or a stairway through it.  When the weather turns cold, ice can form and make these areas very slippery. And since no one want to take a tumble, the natural instinct is to reach for the bag of salt and spread it around right?


The problem is Concrete’s enemy is Salt.   Salt over time has the ability to erode away the surface of concrete and degrade it overtime.  If too much salt is applied to a concrete wall, it can literally eat the concrete way, leaving a very messy and unstable wall.

So what can you do to preserve your beautiful wall and have a safe, non-slippery walking surface?  Use our friend Sand. Sand is course and will help provide traction with eroding the concrete blocks. While we might not be ready to tackle the dwarf-planet just yet, we can work to keep salt away from our walls and our backsides off the ice!

For more information on building retaining walls, visit our website at

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