Ashburn, VA

How much does a concrete retaining wall cost?

$15 – $45 cost per square foot
$45 – $270 cost per linear foot (3’ to 6’ tall)
$3,000 – $10,000 average total cost (50’ wall)

Get free estimates from retaining wall builders near you, or view our cost guide below.

December 8, 2021

Reviewed by Tom Grupa and 3 expert retaining wall builders on HomeGuide.

Concrete retaining wall cost

A concrete retaining wall costs $3,000 to $10,000 on average. Precast, poured, or interlocking concrete retaining walls cost $45 to $270 per linear foot or $15 to $45 per square foot. Large concrete retaining wall blocks cost $25 to $100 each for materials or $20 to $45 per square foot installed.

Concrete retaining wall cost - chart
Concrete retaining wall cost - chart

  • The labor cost to install a concrete retaining wall is $10 to $25 per square foot of wall surface.
  • Adding a stamped design costs $3 to $5 per square foot more.
  • Interlocking concrete blocks cost $2 to $10 per block for materials only.
Concrete retaining wall cost
Wall length (linear feet) Concrete-block walls cost Poured-concrete walls cost
10’ $450 – $2,100 $600 – $2,700
20’ $900 – $4,200 $1,200 – $5,400
30’ $1,350 – $6,300 $1,800 – $8,100
40’ $1,800 – $8,400 $2,400 – $10,800
50’ $2,250 – $10,500 $3,000 – $13,500
100’ $4,500 – $21,000 $6,000 – $27,000
150’ $6,750 – $31,500 $9,000 – $40,500
200’ $9,000 – $42,000 $12,000 – $54,000

*Total installed costs for 3’ to 6’ high retaining walls.

In comparison, other types of retaining walls cost $20 to $50 per square foot on average.


Concrete retaining wall cost calculator

The following table shows the average cost to build a 50’ long concrete retaining wall that’s 3’ to 6’ tall.

Concrete retaining wall cost calculator
National average cost $6,500
Minimum cost $2,250
Maximum cost $13,500
Average cost range $3,000 to $10,000

Cost data is from research and project costs reported by HomeGuide members.

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Poured concrete retaining wall cost

A poured concrete retaining wall costs $60 to $270 per linear foot for 3’ to 6’ tall walls or $20 to $45 per square foot on average. Total costs depend on the size, location, site accessibility, and reinforcement requirements.

Poured concrete retaining wall
Poured concrete retaining wall

Stamped concrete retaining wall cost

Building a new stamped concrete retaining wall costs $25 to $50 per square foot on average for pouring a concrete wall and stamping the surface. Adding a stamped design to existing walls costs $5 to $15 per square foot for a concrete overlay.

Stamped concrete resurfacing is a veneer alternative with designs and colors imitating wood, stone, or other materials.

Poured concrete walls vs. block wall cost

The following table shows the differences between block retaining walls and poured concrete retaining walls:

Poured concrete walls vs. block wall cost
Factor Poured concrete wall Block wall
Cost $20 – $45 per square foot $20 – $35 per square foot
Pros
  • Easy to build & highly durable
  • Faster installation
  • More design options
  • Strong resistance to lateral water pressure
  • Less prone to leaks
  • Waterproofs easily
  • High compression strength
  • Easier to transport
  • Costs less to send to remote locations
  • Holds more weight than poured concrete
Cons
  • More site preparation
  • Expensive to transport long distances
  • Slower installation
  • Prone to water leaks, buckling, & bowing
  • Expensive to repair
  • Requires skilled labor

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Precast concrete retaining walls cost

Installing precast concrete retaining walls costs $45 to $270 per linear foot on average or $15 to $45 per square foot. Total prices depend on the concrete block or panel type, installation method, design, and site preparation needed.

Precast concrete retaining walls installation prices
Material type Cost per square foot Cost per linear foot
Modular interlocking $15 – $35 $45 – $210
Large concrete blocks (2’ to 6’ wide) $20 – $45 $60 – $270
Concrete cinder blocks (CMU) $20 – $35 $60 – $210
Precast-concrete panels $25 – $40 $75 – $240

*Installed prices for 3’ to 6’ tall walls.

Precast concrete wall for landscaping
Precast concrete wall for landscaping

Modular interlocking retaining wall blocks prices

An interlocking concrete block retaining wall costs $45 to $210 per linear foot installed for 3’ to 6’ tall walls or $15 to $35 per square foot. Interlocking concrete blocks cost $2 to $10 per block for materials only, depending on the size, type, and brand.

Criblock interlocking retaining walls cost $20 to $35 per square foot and are ideal for waterfronts.

Interlocking retaining wall blocks prices
Brand Cost per block
Allan Block $5 – $10
Belgard $3 – $6
Keystone $7 – $9
Pavestone $2 – $5
Unilock $4 – $9
Versa-Lok $4 – $10

*Material prices only.

These modular concrete blocks are quick to install with their mortarless design. Some concrete-mold options imitate the look of natural stone.

Large concrete retaining wall blocks cost

Commercial or large concrete retaining wall blocks cost $60 to $270 per linear foot for 3’ to 6’ tall walls or $20 to $45 per square foot installed. Large concrete retaining wall block prices are $25 to $100 per block, depending on the size.

  • Block sizes are from 2’x2’x2’ to 6’x2’x2’ each.
  • These larges blocks create a gravity wall, where the mass and weight of the blocks are self-supporting. Each block weighs 1,000 to 3,500 lbs.
  • Large blocks are more difficult to transport but quicker to install with heavy machinery.

CMU or cinder block retaining wall cost

A cinder-block retaining wall costs $60 to $210 per linear foot for 3’ to 6’ tall walls or $20 to $35 per square foot of surface area with backfill and footings. Total costs depend on the size, foundation type, wall finish, and reinforcements.

Concrete precast panel wall cost

Building a concrete precast panel wall costs $25 to $40 per square foot. These factory-built panels require crane installation after delivery to the site. Installation takes less time than on-site-built concrete walls.

Concrete bag retaining wall cost

Building a 25’x3’ concrete bag retaining wall costs $360 to $600 in materials. A 60- to 80 lb.-bag of concrete mix costs $3 to $5 per bag. Concrete-bag retaining walls are an easy DIY project built by stacking bags up to 2’ to 3’ tall max.

Concrete bag retaining wall cost
Wall size Concrete bags needed Material cost
10’x3’ 50 $150 – $250
25’x3’ 120 $360 – $600
50’x3’ 235 $700 – $1,200

*Price for 60- to 80-lb. concrete-mix bags only.

  • Hire a retaining wall builder for constructions on steep hills or walls taller than 3’ that often need rebar reinforcements and permits.
  • A compacted and level gravel foundation, adequate drainage, and stabilized soil behind the wall are essential to prevent wall failure.

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Cost factors to install a concrete retaining wall

Installing a concrete block retaining wall costs $45 to $210 per linear foot for 3’ to 6’ tall walls, depending on the construction method.

Cost to install a concrete retaining wall
Factor Cost per linear foot
Blocks and materials $12 – $120
Construction labor $33 – $90
Total cost $45 – $210

*For 3’ to 6’ tall walls.

Many local conditions, including the weather, soil type, and site location all have an impact on the cost to build a concrete retaining wall:

  • Size – Taller retaining walls need stronger foundations and additional reinforcements.
  • Design – Complex designs, curves, and steps take more labor time.
  • Foundation – Concrete footings cost $18 to $55 per linear foot according to the depth. Builders sometimes change a wall’s planned location to avoid cutting underground utility lines.
  • Site access – Rugged and sloped terrain or sites with limited access for delivery trucks or heavy machinery increase labor time.
  • Site leveling – The cost to level or regrade land is $0.40 to $2.00 per square foot.
  • ObstaclesTree stump removal costs $160 to $350 on average.
  • Drainage – Installing a French drain costs $10 to $30 per linear foot to prevent erosion and flooding near the retaining wall.
  • LandscapingLandscaping costs $50 to $100 per hour for additional garden projects.
  • Backfill – Delivering fill dirt costs $150 to $600 per truckload or $15 to $50 per yard.
  • Excavation – Removing old retaining walls and dirt costs $130 to $230 per cubic yard, including disposal. Additional excavation is sometimes necessary to stabilize all soil behind the wall before building.
  • Permits – A permit costs $50 to $450 for walls more than 3’ to 4’ tall, depending on the location and design.
  • Engineering plans – A structural engineer charges $100 to $500 per hour for designing 3’ to 4’ tall walls or higher.
  • Walls on slopes vs. flat ground – Retaining walls on slopes cost up to 3 times more than building on a level surface due to deeper footings and extra drainage.
  • Wall-surface finish – Textured finishes or coatings cost $1.50 to $10.00 per square foot of surface area from sealants to various siding options.

Cost of concrete blocks for retaining walls

Concrete blocks for a retaining wall cost $2 to $10 per block on average or $4 to $20 per square foot for materials only. Prices depend on the block type and size. Some interlocking-concrete wall blocks don’t need mortar to install, reducing installation costs.

Cost of concrete blocks for retaining walls
Block type Cost per square foot Cost per block
Concrete cinder blocks (CMU) $1.35 – $2.75 $1.25 – $2.50
Interlocking-concrete blocks (1’ to 3’ wide) $4.00 – $20.00 $2.00 – $10.00
Large concrete blocks (2’ to 6’ wide) $6.00 – $9.00 $25.00 – $100.00

*Material prices only.

Labor cost to build a concrete retaining wall

The labor cost to build a concrete retaining wall is $40 to $80 per hour or $10 to $25 per square foot of the wall surface, depending on the material and construction method.

Labor cost for concrete retaining wall
Wall type Cost per square foot
Concrete cinder blocks $10 – $17
Interlocking-concrete blocks $10 – $25
Poured concrete $10 – $15

*Labor cost only.

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Frequently asked questions

How long do concrete retaining walls last?

A concrete retaining wall lasts 50 to 100 years on average, depending on the installation and design quality, maintenance level, and local soil conditions.

Can you stain concrete retaining wall blocks?

You can stain concrete retaining wall blocks in many colors. Exterior concrete stain costs $30 to $60 per gallon that covers 200 to 400 square feet. Stained concrete blocks imitate the look of bricks, stone, or wood.

How deep does a concrete retaining wall need to be?

A concrete retaining wall needs a 1.5’ to 2.0’ deep footing for most walls 4’ to 8’ tall. In Northern regions, footings should be deeper to go below the frost line for stability. Taller walls also require larger and deeper foundations designed by engineers.

How thick is a concrete retaining wall?

A concrete retaining wall is 6” to 12” thick, depending on the height, reinforcements, design, and soil type. Most retaining walls are 8” thick for heights of 4’ to 6’ tall, and walls must be 12” thick for retaining structures 10’ to 12’ tall.

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Hiring concrete retaining wall contractors

Most building codes only allow DIY concrete retaining walls up to 2’ to 3’ tall maximum before a structural engineer and mason are necessary. Use this checklist when hiring concrete contractors near you.

  • Compare at least three bids from various contractors.
  • Look for installers certified by the Mason Contractors Association of America (MCAA) or the National Concrete Masonry Association (NCMA).
  • Beware of the cheapest quotes that often signal low-quality work.
  • Check company reviews on HomeGuide and Google.
  • Pick licensed, insured, and bonded companies with years of experience.
  • Don’t pay in full upfront. Use a payment schedule.
  • Keep an itemized bid listing all costs.

Questions to ask retaining wall builders

  • Which materials do you recommend for this retaining wall, and why?
  • Can you match the block colors or mortar finish to my home?
  • Will extra fees apply for delivering materials to my home’s location?
  • Can I see photos of other retaining walls you’ve built?
  • Will I need a concrete or compacted-gravel footing?
  • How long have you been installing retaining walls?
  • Will you pull the building permits and supervise site inspections?
  • Do I need additional drainage for this wall?
  • Can you show me a scaled wall design before construction?
  • Do I need landscape fabric behind the wall?
  • How do you handle unexpected project delays?
  • Are all materials and labor costs in this estimate? What extra fees can apply?
  • How much space does the crew need?
  • Will contractors clean up after the job is complete, and does that cost more?
  • How should I contact the supervisor?
  • Do you have subcontractors, and if so, are there extra fees to manage them?
  • What does your warranty include?
  • How long should this wall construction take?
  • What’s the payment schedule?
  • Can you provide a contract copy before the building starts?

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