Beauty of Natural Stone in New Retaining Wall Material

In the 1980s, Paul Forsberg, a landscape contractor who built commercial and residential retaining walls across the Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minn. region, invented and patented mortar-less concrete blocks. He thereby set the stage for the first revolution in retaining wall construction. However, during the two decades since Forsberg's innovation, manufactured concrete block walls have become so commonplace that their appearance, which was new and different in the 1980s, has become dated and generic. Today, as president of Millenia Wall Solutions, Forsberg is leading a new revolution in retaining wall materials and construction with Millenia's patented technology that uses 100 percent recycled pre-consumer polymeric resins to attain the beauty of natural stone.

"The gritty granularity of concrete constrains the extent to which it can replicate the fine details and subtle variations of real stone," said Forsberg. "Our polymeric resin materials have the right consistency to capture the essence of natural stone."

Millenia's patent pending imaging technology enables the company to take exact impressions of stone faces from rock formations and quarried stone from which it fabricates the molds used to manufacture its retaining wall faces and caps. "When we inject our polymeric material into the molds, it flows smoothly and fills completely to get every detail," said Robert J. Race, P.E., chief technology officer, Millenia Wall Solutions. "And it enables us to produce faces and caps in an array of designs, shapes, sizes and colors with the true tones and textures of natural stone."

The faces and caps attach to Millenia wall units, which are also made with recycled polymeric resins. The units consist of a fill-containing confinement cell secured to a rigid frame that has structural cross ribbing for strength. Unit-to-unit connection locks them together in all directions. Then, instead of installers hauling and lifting the weight of a wall in the form of heavy blocks, a front-end loader delivers the weight to the wall in the form of crushed stone backfill. The ingenious design of the confinement cells enhances the properties of the fill. Compacting the fill into the strong geometric form of the confinement cells achieves stability.

Millenia wall units come in two sizes. The one-half square foot size weighs 2.5 pounds and is designed for landscapers and smaller walls. The one square foot units weigh 5.5 pounds and are designed for contractors, larger applications and engineered walls.

Millenia Walls Solutions will present its remarkable retaining wall system at the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) National Green Building Conference, May 11-13, 2008 at the Sheraton New Orleans Hotel, New Orleans, La. Millenia will be at booth G608. Millenia will also exhibit at PCBC 2008, homebuilding's premier tradeshow and conference, June 24-27, 2008 at the Moscone Center, San Francisco, Calif. Millenia will be at booth 6602.

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