Gabions offer a wide variety of uses. This article will discuss the most frequently asked questions about gabions, how they are made, the benefits, and more.
How Are Gabions Used?
Gabions are often used as retention walls to prevent sediment from entering water bodies. They are usually buried beneath the ground to protect streams from erosion. They can also be installed in front of retaining walls to prevent the barriers from collapsing in wet conditions.
Gabions help to control erosion on sloping sites. It acts as a barrier and prevents the soil from being washed down the slope by water or wind. This can help minimize damage caused to buildings and property on the hillside.
Gabions also help to hold floodwater during emergencies. When built around the banks of rivers, they can provide structural support.
Gabions also help in road rehabilitation and reinforcement projects. They are filled with rocks and covered with a layer of compacted soil to provide a level surface and improve the road’s stability.
Good for Drainage
There is a vast increase in ecological engineering worldwide, especially with the recent climate change and increasing pollution. Gabions can work to help channels remain clear so the water can flow freely. This is crucial when looking after waterways for the future generation.
How are Gabions Made?
Gabions are typically reinforced wire cages stretched between two supports and filled with gravel, sand or crushed rock. The open spaces between the strands of the wire mesh serve as a storage chamber for the filler material. These spaces discourage the growth of weeds and unwanted plants, which can clog the spaces between the strands over time.
What Are The Advantages Of Gabions?
Gabions are functional structures that host a lot of benefits beyond expedience and value for money. Some of them include the following;
Easy To Install
Gabions are easy to install, requiring only a few simple tools and little effort. They do not require any specialized skills or heavy equipment for assembling. Gabion barrier construction materials are also simple to transport to the worksite.
Gabions are significantly less expensive to install. They require minimal construction effort, like cutting and installing wire mesh. Gabions also require minimal maintenance costs.
Speed of Construction
Gabions can be installed quickly in almost any location due to their flexibility. Unlike traditional walls, which can take up to months to finish, their pace of construction remains rapid.
You can use gabions as retaining walls or buttresses. The fabric-bound baskets can make fences and revetments. They can even serve as helpful accessories in the garden.
Gabions are manufactured from recycled steel, and any unused parts are recycled, so they are a super-green choice.
Resilient and Durable
Gabions can withstand earthquake tremors and floods with ease. They are hard-wearing and built to last.
Gabions boast a tensile strength of about 150 times that of concrete, making them the most substantial barriers available.
You have a ready-made structure to erect your gabion wall-no need to cut down tree trunks or bulldoze rocky ground.
Gabions are designed to be highly sustainable and can be easily repurposed once their usefulness has expired. This makes them a cost-effective option for both short-term and long-term applications. Also, the carbon footprint of CO2 emissions from gabions is 80% lower than concrete walls.
Gabions are permeable, thus an excellent option for drainage.
Because gabions are made from recycled steel, they pose no safety risk when used as barriers against walls.
Gabions offer a modular design that allows a variety of shapes and configurations. This makes them a popular choice for landscape architects.
What Is The Price Of Gabions?
Gabions are not expensive. Because they come with a square wire mesh that needs to be assembled on-site, you can buy many of them for minimal cost. Best quality gabions cost around 30-40 dollars. But you can find some below the price, especially those filled with stones or materials from your local area. Your project size also determines the price of gabions. Expect to pay a couple of hundred dollars for larger gabion uses.
How Long Will a Gabion Last?
There are two types of gabion basket construction; woven and galvanized. Each has its lifespan depending on the nature of the construction. Woven baskets are designed with 2.7mm wire, while galvanized are manufactured with 4mm wire. Woven gabions are cheaper but offer less life cycles than galvanized ones. That said, the average life expectancy of gabion is 50-100 years, with galvanized ones lasting a significant amount of time.
How Much Do They Cost To Build?
Several factors will shape the cost of building a gabion wall. These include;
Size and Scale
Construction costs will differ and typically increase as the size of the gabion wall increases. The materials required to construct a wall with a 10′ or 12′-high face vary significantly from those required for more enormous walls, even if they are constructed at the same slope.
Location is always a crucial consideration when constructing gabions. If there are obstructions or the wall location is too close to the water table level, this may increase the potential cost of construction.
Type of Soil
The soil type in the area will determine the type of gabion wall built. Different types of soils may require different types of materials used during construction. For instance, sandy soils will require more backfill materials than clayey, increasing cost.
When designing a gabion wall, the cost of materials and labor get influenced by a variety of factors. The wall’s height, width, and slope will affect the cost. A more expansive wall will require more materials and labor than a narrow one. A steeper wall will require more material and labor as well.
Types of Stones Applied
The types of stones used to construct gabion walls also vary and significantly impact the cost. Generally, more expensive stones will result in a higher cost of installation.
The cost-effectiveness of building a gabion depends on the above factors, with standard steel mesh costing around $35 per meter. However, this isn’t a fixed price across the board. Some areas offer discounts, so this is just a rough ballpark.
What Type of Rocks to Use?
Many different types of rocks can build gabions. Common ones include:
Granite is a durable rock used to build gabions. It is hard; thus, it won’t deteriorate as quickly. It is also heat resistant and can withstand very high temperatures without damage.
Basalt is another type of rock used in gabion construction. The extrusive igneous rock comprises dark pyroxene and feldspar minerals. It is porous, meaning water can flow through it quickly. This makes it suitable for constructing dams and ditches.
Slate is another famous rock used to build gabions. It is dense and robust. It is also waterproof, making it suitable for building cisterns and reservoirs.
Sandstone also makes a case of rocks for building gabions. It is rugged and durable; thus, it can withstand the elements. It is also heavy, making it ideal for constructing walls and other structural support.
Rustic rocks are also excellent choices for gabion construction. They hold the shape well, resist crumbling, and have a natural rustic appearance pleasing to the eye.
Limestone is a protactinium-rich rock that is very strong and resilient. Its distinct texture makes it an excellent selection for gabion baskets. It has a very smooth but chiseled surface, which looks great when covered with plants.
Ironstone is extremely hard and durable, making it a popular choice for gabion baskets. It is also an economical choice.
The materials you can fill your gabions with have a lot of diversity. The crucial thing to consider when using these rocks is that they must be larger than the gabion cage openings. Otherwise, your rocks will find their way out straight. It is advisable to consult your local landscape yard expert to discuss which rock type is suitable for your geographical location.
Do Gabions Wall Need Foundation?
No. Walls laid into proper depth don’t require any foundation. The structure can stand on its own. But lighter soils require some work on the surface; otherwise, they can easily fall apart. Consult an engineer for construction and design where appropriate.
How Are Gabion Baskets Installed?
While gabion doesn’t require any foundation to protect them, they usually have a process of getting installed. They need solid installation to prevent them from toppling over. This begins with the type of soil you put your gabions on. This is especially true when constructing a large gabion wall.
For instance, you will want to ensure the soil supports your structure when installing a wall in your backyard. Heavy soil can support the gabion, but lighter soil requires work under the surface. To ensure the gabion sustains itself, install a more expansive wall. Doing so will help support the structure and remove the soil’s pressure.
Also, install some support columns along the area you want to put the wall. Then build the baskets around them and fill the mesh up with rocks. The result is a sturdy wall that won’t collapse for an extended period.
How Can You Pack Rocks Into Your Gabion Basket?
Filling a gabion basket is straightforward. But it is not all about filling; you also want to ensure your gabion looks excellent. A well-constructed gabion is not just a structure, it is also a gabion that you can admire. How to fill your gabion basket depends on the type of rocks available. There are three types of rocks available; tiny pebbles, chunks, and flat round rocks.
The first and essential step is selecting nice-looking rocks. These include rocks with the same color, similar shape, or ones that flatter. In other words, pick rocks that look about the same. Then create a layer of rocks beneath your gabion basket. Ensure it is flat, looks excellent, and is stable before you proceed to another layer. Put chunk rocks in the middle because people won’t notice them. Lay smaller pebbles in between them. Ensure they are packed tight and pleasant. Finally, ensure your gabion appears as uniform as possible.
How High Can You Build A Gabion Wall?
There is no limit to the height you can build your gabion wall. It can rise higher than you want. Your gabion wall can stand as high as 30 feet if built correctly. However, you will want to make it wider to support the wall’s height without sacrificing stability. Consult your landscape expert for the best height suitable for your garden or yard.
Can the gabion wall be used as a seat?
Yes. However, the comfort of the wall depends on the materials you fill it with. All in all, gabions can make an ideal seat. Gabions are heavy and durable. That means they are impossible to damage by sitting or standing on them. As long as the mesh holds them together, gabions can serve this purpose more than you can imagine.