Retaining Walls

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    Retaining Walls

    What are some do’s and more specifically don’ts for building a retaining wall? We are going to repour my driveway level (mines on the right) and want to Continue to bring the wall From the fence foreword and plant some bushes up between it and the driveway to give us some privacy and put a fence and gate the driveway in front of the garage. The current concrete is about 1ft lower than it will be when we level it. Cost is a big factor. Cross Ties are what’s in the back along the property. I don’t have a problem using them but the google reviews are horrible and I’ve never dealt with them. I’ve got access to whatever equipment I need to set whatever we go with. Thoughts?

    saw a old post but wouldn’t open about sleeper walls but I also need to maintain looks in our neighborhood.

    #2
    how tall is your wall going to be?

    Do you want to just pour the wall solid at the same time you do the concrete for the driveway?


    Up is difficult, down is dangerous

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      #3
      Originally posted by Provience View Post
      how tall is your wall going to be?

      Do you want to just pour the wall solid at the same time you do the concrete for the driveway?
      About 36” ish. No because we want to have a gap for us to plant bushes or other vegetation. Something like 24” wide the same height or close to the elevation of the driveway.

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        #4
        You can still do the wall as solid concrete and make it ~6" wide and frame it out with a gap for the flower bed, then the flatwork for the driveway, if you want.

        otherwise, block is the next easiest thing because of size. Always be mindful of drainage to keep pressure off the wall and to keep the water going through it from bringing a bunch of minerals, causing discoloration.

        basically, same as everything else. What is your frost line at? Go below that, compact the base very well or bring in ~4-6" of base rock to build it up, stack blocks, stab some rebar through the blocks every so often, fill them with sand or mortar or concrete or whatever, give them a capstone and don't think about them for the next 75 years


        Up is difficult, down is dangerous

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          #5
          Frost line is likely zero we are in Texas. Cool I’ll measure and see what i think.

          i had an estimate and it was 24 a square face foot for concrete wall. So that little run was close to 9000

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            #6
            Originally posted by Kyle View Post
            Frost line is likely zero we are in Texas. Cool I’ll measure and see what i think.

            i had an estimate and it was 24 a square face foot for concrete wall. So that little run was close to 9000
            9k for just the wall



            that's got to include digging it up, forming it out, pouring/finishing it, stripping and backfilling. right? No way that is just to pump mud in there.


            Up is difficult, down is dangerous

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              #7
              my personal retaining wall that i made ~3' tall is just stacked railroad ties that i got for free. they were previously on a dock or some such, so they aren't in good shape, but they are oil soaked and will hold up just fine. I didn't really prep shit. sort of dug it down so that it was about level for the base, set a 4" or 6" (don't remember) perf pipe behind the first row, wrapped it in fabric and stapled it to the first row. Cut some 2x4's to a quick angle/tip and hammered them in ~18" in the ground and ~32" above the ground. Stacked the railroad ties so they are offset and against the 2x4 stakes, backfilled with dirt, set the drain to drain out the end toward the street.

              the exposed side just goes to a bunch of blackberries, but i haven't had any issues otherwise.

              I do NOT recommend this is you are paying the ~$25 per tie that they try to get at retail for them


              Up is difficult, down is dangerous

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                #8
                Even though you're in Texas I would still dig down and fill with sand. It makes it much easier to set them level in sand.

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                  #9
                  Add weep holes along the bottom and geotextile along the inside face of the wall. I doubt you need perforated pipe at the bottom, but I don't know how much rain you get.

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                    #10
                    What does your town say about wall height before needing a permit? FYI the measurement is from the bottom of the wall, not the exposed wall above ground. Where I am it is 4’ before you need a permit and an engineer. We also have basically no frost line, so we went a full course below grade. Put landscape fabric down, then backfill with gravel. My wall was not very tall so we were comfortable allowing it to drain through the face. A tall wall you want to have a wrapped perforated pipe behind the first course to collect and drain water either through the face or two the sides. You can also use geotex or similar to reinforce the wall by laying it over the block and then burying it with your backfill. In your case I would think about a curb or sloping the driveway away from the wall to avoid excess water there. That is ultimately your enemy. If you use railroad ties, make sure to use deadmen as well - basically install one on end into the wall, with another piece attached crossways like a T, and bury that end. Same principle as geotex in a block wall.

                    thing about those ties is all the chemicals and creosote and whatever. We used block for cost/ease of slinging them around, but also because it was for the playground for the kids, and did t want them near that stuff

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                      #11
                      Segmental block is typically the most cost effective for something that won't rot out. Not sure about Texas $ but should be about 9 bucks a square foot for the 80-90 pounders. Add in some gravel, geogrid and sweat. Equipment helps too.

                      Obligatory wife pic.
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                        #12
                        Frost isn’t an issue in Texas but expansive soil could be depending on where you live. Is your house on a slab, do you know if it is typical in your area to use PT or post tensioned slabs for houses? If PT slabs are common, expansive clay is probably a concern to some degree. The expansive clay could either swell or shrink depending on the current water content and the minerology of the clay. Putting in a planting that you would want to water could cause issues if you have expansive clay that you don’t address somehow.

                        Since the wall is only 3’ tall I would be inclined to use a gravity wall like in Chzbrgr picture. I built a wall about 10 years ago that was 3’ tall with the cheap blocks at Home Depot and just used mason glue. Thing is still standing and looking fine. Depending on the size of the blocks you get, you probably would not need any grid reinforcement. Just put a zone of fabric wrapped stone behind the wall with weep holes through the wall for proper drainage.

                        If you think you have expansive clay about the best you can do for a reasonable budget is undercut the wall (as much as budget allows 2’ to 3’) and put sand in. You would also want to try and daylight the weep holes away from the wall.

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                          #13
                          I an not sure what your wall height will be from the picture to know how much support you will need, but have you considered gabion baskets and filling with rip rap or creek rock?
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                            #14
                            Not to hijack, but didn't want to start another thread...

                            I know it's overkill for this project (but maybe not), but I've been looking at using the 4'x2'x2' concrete blocks to build a retaining wall to expand my driveway and maybe lengthen my shop/pole barn. Have any of you had experience with them and for a 4' to 6' wall, do you think it would need geo fabric?

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                              #15
                              Originally posted by dman33733 View Post
                              Not to hijack, but didn't want to start another thread...

                              I know it's overkill for this project (but maybe not), but I've been looking at using the 4'x2'x2' concrete blocks to build a retaining wall to expand my driveway and maybe lengthen my shop/pole barn. Have any of you had experience with them and for a 4' to 6' wall, do you think it would need geo fabric?
                              https://www.redi-rock.com/documents/...ion-Manual.pdf

                              If you follow manufacturers recommendations and you are by nature a worry wart, then yes.
                              Last edited by The Beens; 06-15-2020, 02:18 PM.

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