Solid VERSA-LOK units are some of the heaviest and most stable units, per wall-face area, in the segmental industry.
VERSA-LOK provides the best value in segmental retaining wall solutions for everything from intricate landscaping features to tall, commercial walls. VERSA-LOK units offer a pleasing appearance and endless design options, while also delivering the most cost-effective and stable retaining wall systems. VERSA-LOK retaining wall systems have been specified on thousands of commercial, public works and residential jobs across North America. State transportation departments and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers routinely use VERSA-LOK systems for many of their projects. The Highway Innovative Technology Evaluation Center (HITEC) has published evaluations of the VERSA-LOK retaining wall system.
Solid VERSA-LOK retaining wall units open a world of design possibilities to creative architects and landscape architects. Because the wall units can be modified easily onsite, VERSA-LOK walls will conform to almost any layout, including all kinds of curves and corners, and a seemingly endless array of special features, including steps, freestanding walls, parapet, columns, seat walls, window wells, planters, bump-outs in walls, detention ponds, or stream and lake shore walls. Even projects build with the more complex and random-appearing Mosaic wall system easily incorporate such special design features.
VERSA-LOK concrete units do not create any environmental hazards like some chemically-treated products. VERSA-LOK units are made locally and are shipped only short distances. Concrete is a sustainable material preferred by architects, designers, engineers and other design professionals. And VERSA-LOK retaining wall systems can help your next project qualify for LEED credits.
VERSA-LOK gives you a choice of face textures: traditional split-face or the more natural looking Weathered look. VERSA-LOK units have varying heights and widths and so can create wall faces with different scales and setback options. Also, various units can be combined to create a more random, natural stone look, or to include special accents, such as stripes or insets, in wall faces. Combining Standard and Cobble units creates varying widths. The Mosaic wall system combines units that vary both in height and width. Specialty units that have smooth faces or special pre-cast molded faces also are available in some regions. Because units can be installed with a variable bond, VERSA-LOK retaining walls do not have the unsightly gaps that some other systems require to maintain half-bond.
VERSA-LOK solid units are versatile enough to easily accommodate all your special design details, so even up-close, features can have professional finishing touches. Practically any exposed faces of solid VERSA-LOK units, such as exposed back of units or the side of units in top of wall step downs, can have pleasing textured split faces.
VERSA-LOK’s simple and easy installation means even complex-looking Mosaic walls or specialty design features, such as columns, can be built easily and routinely from solid VERSA-LOK units without requiring uncommon or difficult construction methods. High-end looks comparable to expensive natural stone or wet-cast structural elements can be achieved easily, usually without need for structural footings below frost. Our section for contractors describes in more detail the reasons for VERSA-LOK’s industry leading ease of installation and design flexibility.
Many color options, from solid to blended mixes, are available; check with your local producer as colors vary regionally. Colors are integral throughout the units, so modified surfaces will display color consistent with the rest of the unit. This ensures that the color of a special feature will match the feature’s other units. Units and caps of various colors can be combined for aesthetic effects. For larger projects, units with custom colors can sometimes be produced, consult with your local producer.
Solid, high-strength concrete VERSA-LOK units offer superior resistance to damage during construction. VERSA-LOK’s pinned interlock eliminates block protrusions, such as lips, and thin sections that are vulnerable to damage. Solid wall units often are preferred when a parking lot, roadway or body of water is at the base of the wall, because solid units provide improved durability against accidental impacts or flood debris.
Solid VERSA-LOK units are some of the heaviest and most stable units, per wall-face area, in the segmental industry. They are also at least twice as deep as they are high, providing a low, stable center of gravity for each unit during construction and in the finished wall. With proper geogrid soil reinforcement, VERSA-LOK wall can be stable in excess of 50 feet in height. All VERSA-LOK walls, even the random-appearing Mosaic system, have level coursing that easily accommodates geogrid. The setback between courses of units ensures that walls lean back into the soil they are retaining, improving stability.
Over the last 20 plus years, VERSA-LOK walls have been used or approved by many conservative engineering agencies, including the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Federal Highways, and many state Departments of Transportation. VERSA-LOK walls built for agency projects includes critical shoreline flood control structures, retention ponds, bridge abutments, road widening walls, erosion control and slope stabilization walls, and tall walls with heavy surcharges. VERSA-LOK walls have also been through extensive reviews to obtain published evaluation reports from the commercial wall ICC Evaluation Service and the transportation agency oriented Highway Innovative Technology Evaluation Center (HITEC).
VERSA-LOK segmental retaining walls cost significantly less than cast-in-place cantilevered walls, big pre-cast blocks, or natural stone walls. For shorter walls, VERSA-LOK walls save money because they do not need structural footings below frost. Geogrid soil reinforcement provides a cost-effective way to stabilize taller VERSA-LOK walls. In fill situations, geogrid can be placed as the fill behind the wall is compacted, at very low additional cost. In cut situations, soil behind the wall must be over-excavated to place geogrid-reinforced soil. However, the excavation needed for geogrid lengths is generally comparable to that needed for deep, structural footings of cast-in-place walls or that needed for big, deep pre-cast units and the drainage aggregate behind them. As a result, the total installed cost of VERSA-LOK geogrid-soil reinforced segmental retaining walls is significantly lower than the material cost alone of large, pre-cast units or cast-in-place structures.
Solid VERSA-LOK units consistently deliver the properties assumed in design, because they do not rely on contractors to fill hollow cores with aggregate. The assumed design weight and the stability of solid VERSA-LOK units are provided consistently, automatically. In addition, with solid units the assumed interlock between units (shear strength) and the interlock of units with geogrid (connection strength) are not subject to variability resulting from contractors filling cores.
VERSA-Tuff pins are made from a high-end, fiberglass-reinforced nylon that is durable, inert, and does not corrode like steel reinforcement. This pinned interlock eliminates the need for protrusions, lips or tongues, so geogrid can be placed on a flat, uniform unit surface between courses of units. This aids proper installation of geogrid and avoids geogrid damage that can occur when grid is wrapped or bent around a protrusion. VERSA-LOK’s unique hole-to-slot pinning allows variable bond, a structurally preferable installation method, because variable bond eliminates the gaps between units that are necessary with wall systems that require half-bond installation.
VERSA-LOK’s unique pinning system provides excellent interlock of units and connection to geogrid. While some systems have only one type of connection, VERSA-LOK’s interlock system delivers a premium combination of both a mechanical (pinned) connection and a frictional connection. The mechanical connection insures excellent interlock even when weight on the units is low (during construction and at the top of finished walls), which purely frictional connections do not provide. The frictional portion of interlock between solid VERSA-LOK units is greater lower in the wall, where units bear more weight. The frictional portion of the interlock also evenly distributes loads across the whole connection and maintains good interlock even around curves.
VERSA-LOK units are placed on granular leveling pads and are dry-stacked without mortar. This creates a somewhat flexible structure, because the units can move slightly in relation to each other without structural damage to the walls.
Because VERSA-LOK walls are built without mortar, water can pass through the wall joints to help eliminate hydrostatic pressure behind walls. In addition, VERSA-LOK walls easily accommodate other drainage materials in and behind the walls so that water loads can be avoided even in high groundwater environments.