Choosing the right wall caps is an important decision that can impact your walls’ durability, aesthetics, and functionality. They come in many different materials, sizes, and shapes to customize how your walls look and optimize your aesthetic AND budget.
When you have no previous experience with wall caps landscaping projects, you can find it challenging to choose the right type of materials for your home project, and this is where we come in.
Let’s discuss wall caps, their benefits, types, and how you can easily install them to avoid compromising the integrity of your building and enjoy your home even more. Without further ado, let’s begin!
What Are Wall Caps, Really?
Retaining wall caps serve as protective barriers between the top of the wall and the elements. They are essential to maintaining the structural integrity of walls by protecting them from water damage, cracking, and other forms of deterioration.
Wall caps retain the soil or water beneath them, so choosing a suitable material, shape, and profile that withstands the pressure is important. You normally use them to confine the soil between different levels in areas where you:
- do construction work
- have limited space
- need them to sustain and stabilize terrain against collapsing naturally
- use them for design purposes
What Are the Benefits of Using Wall Caps?
When choosing the type of wall cap appropriate for your landscaping design, consider its benefits. The three most important are style, durability, and reduced maintenance, of course:
- Style – “dress” your retaining walls with wall caps to give them a complete, stylized look. Use different materials to highlight contrasts and create interesting textures that draw people’s attention.
- Durability – reinforcing your retaining walls with wall caps increases their overall durability. They seal the top of the wall, thus preventing moisture and water from sneaking into the lower structure of the wall, where they can create damage over time.
- Maintenance – protecting your walls from the elements can reduce the required maintenance, saving time and money in the long run because you won’t be repairing or replacing damaged walls as much.
Retaining Wall Caps Materials And Their Usage
You can find many different materials used for wall caps, each with its own unique benefits. Some are made from natural materials, while others use synthetic ones.
When choosing the right wall cap material, consider the style of your building, the climate in your area, AND your budget.
Always do your homework, research, and ask for a professional opinion before buying to find the best wall caps for the design you’re looking for, within your budget.
Let’s see what some of the most popular wall cap materials are and when to use them:
- Natural stone – it’s versatile, durable, and aesthetic, and it resists well over time with minimal maintenance, making it an excellent choice for many home projects. You will usually find granite, sandstone, limestone, and bluestone wall caps in various colors and textures that match your desired aesthetic.
- Brick – choose brick wall caps for a classic look specific to colonial-style and traditional homes. Just like many other types of wall cap materials, they are available in many different colors and textures, and they last well, are weather-resistant, and require minimal maintenance.
- Concrete – use it when you need a cost-effective option that you can install quickly and doesn’t lack durability and strength.
- Metal – it’s a great choice when you have a modern or industrial-style building. Metal wall caps are sleek and durable and resist corrosion well over time.
- Precast concrete – these caps are effortless to install because they are pre-made. You can customize them to your liking, and they have a simple installation process and last well.
- Wood – it’s a cost-effective material that gives your retaining wall a rustic look. It doesn’t resist as well to the elements, though.
- Polyurethane – this high-density synthetic wall cap material is new on the market and mimics the look of wood and stone in various textures and colors.
As expected, materials like natural stone and brick give you a timeless look more appropriate for traditional and colonial-style homes. Metal and concrete wall caps are excellent choices for modern and industrial-style buildings, so there’s something to please everyone.
Which Wall Cap Shape Do You Really Need?
Your wall can be any size or shape you want. And wall caps must follow that wall silhouette. You will find many different shapes and sizes, the most popular being the following:
- Radius wall caps – they are ideal for curved walls because they have a curved edge on both sides and slanted outer edges
- Straight wall caps – found in square or rectangular varieties with straight edges all around
- Universal wall caps – they have a trapezoid shape with two parallel sides and two slanted sides. As their name suggests, use them for any wall shape.
What About Wall Cap Profiles?
The wall cap profile is an important aspect of wall caps. The profile refers to the shape of the wall cap and how it fits onto the top of the wall. The right profile ensures that the cap covers the top of the wall, providing maximum protection against the elements.
A proper wall cap profile guarantees suitable water drainage, which is crucial for preventing wall water damage. The problem with choosing a lousy profile design is that water can accumulate at the top of the wall, leading to mildew, mold, and structural damage.
Additionally, the profile can impact the aesthetic appeal of the wall cap. Here are some popular styles:
- Square style – a flat cap with squared-off edges for a contemporary look
- Chiseled style – the cap has a rough front face, making it resemble natural stone for a more rustic look
- Bullnose style – used more for traditional style retaining walls, it has a rounded edge and a flat top
- Peaked style – the wall cap peak runs down the middle, helping water drip down the wall
Tips on Installing Wall Caps
Most wall caps are easy to install by yourself. You need the right materials and some time.
Firstly, don’t use a landscape adhesive to hold your wall together. Use it instead when installing the wall caps on the wall. Remember to buy an adhesive made especially for stone and block.
Use a caulk gun to apply the adhesive to each block.
Firmly place the cap on top of the wall and rock it back and forth to distribute the adhesive.
Place the cap where you want it and let it dry. Repeat the process with every remaining wall cap until you’re finished.
Consider sealing the caps with a waterproof sealant to prevent water damage and extend the life of your retaining wall caps. That’s it!
With these tips, you can guarantee that your retaining wall caps are correctly built, provide optimum protection, and improve the overall aesthetic of your retaining wall.
Choosing the right material and shape for your wall cap is just the first step in protecting your walls and improving your landscape.
Ultimately, the wall caps you choose should be durable, weather-resistant, and easy to install and maintain.
With the proper care and maintenance, your wall caps will protect your walls and add to the aesthetic appeal of your home for many years to come.
So, take your time and choose wisely – you’ll be glad you did!