Welded Wire Forms

Welded Wire Forms for Retaining Walls

Bluestone Supply recommends you follow an architectural design process when planning permanent or temporary walls. Engineering considerations include considering the forces on walls, especially for pressure relief walls. Our standard 4" x 4" mesh baskets with W4 gauge wires are suitable for most applications, although we can supply custom sizes for special applications.

How Sturdy Are Galvanized Steel Welded Wires?

Our galvanized welded wire baskets are strong and hold their shape. We start with a malleable hot-rolled wire and then cold-draw the wire to the right gauge. Cold-drawn wire has high tensile strength, a smooth finish and accurate dimensional tolerances. We cut and weld the wire into a mesh using an automatic welding machine, and we use a powerful press brake to form the 90-degree angle used on most L-baskets. Cold-drawn welded wire mesh is rigid and strong. The wire fabric can withstand considerable forces while retaining an aesthetically pleasing appearance.

L-Basket Wire Coatings

We sell our welded wire forms with one of three finishes:

  • Raw steel
  • Electro-galvanized
  • Hot-dip galvanized

Raw Steel

Raw steel (black wire) welded wire basket forms have no protective coating. We primarily recommend their use for temporary applications and on vegetated walls.

Electro-galvanized

Electro-galvanized wire undergoes electrolysis to deposit a thin layer of zinc onto the steel wire. Our supplier places the baskets in a large tank containing a zinc solution and passes an electric current through the tank. The electric current draws the zinc out of the solution and plates the steel with a thin layer of zinc.

Hot-dip Galvanized

The hot-dip galvanizing process is more involved. The first step is to clean the wire to remove all traces of dirt, grease and welding slag. The manufacturer places the wire forms inside a large tank containing molten zinc. The zinc deposits onto the steel to create a corrosion-resistant barrier.

What Is the Purpose of Welded Wires?

Welded wire mesh is stronger than other forms of mesh. The spot-welding process ensures full penetration welds as strong as the original metal. This allows us to use a relatively large 4" x 4" mesh. The high tensile strength of cold-drawn wire creates a strong wire structure for wall systems. 

How Do Welded Wires Help With Construction and Engineering Applications?

Our welded wire-formed retaining walls are simple to install. Apart from site preparation, the erection of the baskets goes quickly, and it's easy to erect long walls by overlapping L-baskets.

We recommend tying the sections together to keep them in alignment during backfilling. Their open design together with the use of facing wraps facilitates the use of mechanical equipment to fill the L-baskets. The baskets require no external support, only the use of basket support struts every few feet to retain the basket shape when filling. Compared to gabion baskets, Bluestone L-baskets are stronger, easier to use and faster to install.

This type of retaining wall is excellent for preventing erosion and stabilizing soil while providing good drainage and the ability to accommodate differential soil settlement.

Does Welded Wire Rust?

All components made from mild steel will eventually rust. The effective life of our wire form baskets depends on the environment and the type of steel coating used.

In desert environments, raw steel baskets may have an indeterminate life, but in damp environments and low-pH soils containing sulfates and dissolved salts, black steel may rapidly corrode. We suggest you use black steel baskets for temporary installations or with aerated vegetated retaining walls with good drainage.

Electro-galvanized and hot-dip galvanized wire forms are best for permanent structures, especially those subject to corrosion. The zinc coating protects the steel from moisture and prevents corrosion. Although zinc corrodes, the corrosion process is extremely slow compared to steel. Additionally, zinc acts as a shield and still protects the steel in case of damage to the zinc coating.

The thickness of the zinc coating determines the effectiveness of the corrosion protection. Electro-galvanized steel has a zinc coating that is typically 0.4 mils thick, while on hot-dip galvanized steel, it is approximately 4 mils. Electro-galvanized steel does not last as long as hot-dip galvanized steel, which generally has a useful life of 20 years or more. 

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