Permanent Soil Nail Wall Face Options

Soil Nail face Options

While we love soil nail walls and beauty is in the eye of the beholder, plain as-shot shotcrete doesn’t always look the best. The plates are typically exposed and galvanized or are covered with a mound of shotcrete. These two approaches are the least costly. But if you want an upgraded look for your permanent soil nail wall, there are a lot of options out there.

Permanent soil nail wall with mounds of shotcrete over the nail heads. This wall was used as vertical separation between floors and was not visible upon completion of the building construction.


Permanent soil nail wall with an as-shot finish with exposed galvanized plates.

Screeded Shotcrete

One option is to screed the shotcrete. We pull wires and place shotcrete. We then use trowel boards to cut the shotcrete face back to the wire, leaving a plumb faces with excellent horizontal alignment.

Permanent soil nail wall with a screeded shotcrete face.

One downside to exposed shotcrete, which can happen with other types of concrete facing, is calcification stains should ground water seep through the face rather than following the installed drainage and weep holes.

Permanent soil nail wall with a screeded shotcrete face, 3 years post construction.

Segmental Block Veneer

One very popular option is to place a segmental block veneer. The best thing about this option is the “cut” soil nail wall face will match the “fill” segmental block (MSE) walls.

Permanent soil nail wall with a segmental block veneer, under construction.

Architectural Shotcrete Face

My favorite soil nail face is architectural shotcrete. In particular, we like the geologic face. The faux rock face is very attractive and since it looks great with some ins and outs, there is less pressure to hold a perfect line with the soil nail wall. We strongly recommend our favorite partner for architectural shotcrete, Boulderscape.

Permanent soil nail wall with a recently added geologic face.