Build a retaining wall ?

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sixtyforty
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Build a retaining wall ?

Post by sixtyforty » Tue May 08, 2018 4:49 pm

I'm looking to build a retaining wall at the corner of our house. It has a pretty good slope to it and the rain gutter empties there. I've looked at some youtube videos but honestly man of them appear to use special equipment etc. Any of you have any links or sources on how to just build a simple retaining wall ?
"Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication" - Leonardo Da Vinci

Rupert
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Re: Build a retaining wall ?

Post by Rupert » Tue May 08, 2018 4:52 pm

How tall with the wall be? It's simple if it's just a 2 or 3 foot wall. It's not simple if it's taller.

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Watty
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Re: Build a retaining wall ?

Post by Watty » Tue May 08, 2018 4:54 pm

sixtyforty wrote:
Tue May 08, 2018 4:49 pm
simple retaining wall
It is is more than about three feet tall then it may require permits, inspections, and possibly an engineers approval. I looked into that a while back and once they get that tall they are far from "simple".

Along with all the other problems if you do it without the right permits your insurance may not cover you if it fails.

The Wizard
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Re: Build a retaining wall ?

Post by The Wizard » Tue May 08, 2018 4:58 pm

Rupert wrote:
Tue May 08, 2018 4:52 pm
How tall with the wall be? It's simple if it's just a 2 or 3 foot wall. It's not simple if it's taller.
Right.
Once it starts to get tall, you want to go with a reinforced poured concrete wall with some angles in it. Serpentine, for a complicated example...
Attempted new signature...

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Pajamas
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Re: Build a retaining wall ?

Post by Pajamas » Tue May 08, 2018 5:18 pm

sixtyforty wrote:
Tue May 08, 2018 4:49 pm
I'm looking to build a retaining wall at the corner of our house. It has a pretty good slope to it and the rain gutter empties there. I've looked at some youtube videos but honestly man of them appear to use special equipment etc. Any of you have any links or sources on how to just build a simple retaining wall ?
It's not a simple retaining wall because:

1. It's at the corner of your house.
2. It has a pretty good slope.
3. The rain gutter empties there.

Get a professional to design it if you must have a retaining wall under those circumstances.

But why are you looking to build a retaining wall in the first place? Maybe there is better solution to the problem.

Globalviewer58
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Re: Build a retaining wall ?

Post by Globalviewer58 » Tue May 08, 2018 5:36 pm

Another idea is to search for the condition, such as soil loss, and see solutions. Here's a set of solutions for Soil Loss due to Downspout drainage:

https://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/soil-wate ... rol-runoff

sixtyforty
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Re: Build a retaining wall ?

Post by sixtyforty » Wed May 09, 2018 10:31 am

Thanks for the feedback. I agree our situation is not that simple. I'm going to get a couple of landscaping companies to come out and give us some ideas along with estimates.
"Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication" - Leonardo Da Vinci

Glockenspiel
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Re: Build a retaining wall ?

Post by Glockenspiel » Wed May 09, 2018 10:38 am

If the wall is taller than 3-4 feet, a lot of municipalities will REQUIRE a Registered Professional Engineer to design it. There are a lot of considerations, drainage behind the wall, soil stabilization, proper bedding under the stone/blocks, etc.

If it's a short 2 ft wall, you can do it yourself with rocks/blocks, but understand that it doesn't take a very big rock/block to weigh too much for you to handle without equipment. We built a short 2 ft wall ourselves, and had a hard time lifting rocks that were big enough for the base of the wall.

hicabob
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Re: Build a retaining wall ?

Post by hicabob » Wed May 09, 2018 10:43 am

Here are a few drawings to see how they get built - I had one build decades ago so developed an interest in them


https://www.google.com/search?q=enginee ... Jduc9s1mGM:

inbox788
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Re: Build a retaining wall ?

Post by inbox788 » Wed May 09, 2018 10:45 am

Pajamas wrote:
Tue May 08, 2018 5:18 pm
But why are you looking to build a retaining wall in the first place? Maybe there is better solution to the problem.
Yes. How long has it gone without a wall and why now? Maybe you can reinforce or extend out the foundation and divert the drainage?

ad2007
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Re: Build a retaining wall ?

Post by ad2007 » Wed May 09, 2018 10:51 am

sixtyforty wrote:
Tue May 08, 2018 4:49 pm
I'm looking to build a retaining wall at the corner of our house. It has a pretty good slope to it and the rain gutter empties there. I've looked at some youtube videos but honestly man of them appear to use special equipment etc. Any of you have any links or sources on how to just build a simple retaining wall ?
Not a civil engineer here, but we are on a hill in Florida and the water run off during summer rains can be problematic. Not sure what your situation is, but doesn't sound like a wall is the solution if you're having problems with water run-offs.

We've decided on a rain garden along with lots of ground covers that thrive in our climate. May be more reliable and less costly than building retaining wall(s).

Glockenspiel
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Re: Build a retaining wall ?

Post by Glockenspiel » Wed May 09, 2018 11:02 am

If you really want a retaining wall, it would be advisable to extend the downspout to drain beyond the wall, and not behind it. Or, you can route the downspout through the wall, from behind, if you like that look better.

You must have well-drained gravel/rock behind the wall, to reduce lateral hydrostatic pressure, and its always a good idea to have a perforated draintile behind the base of the wall that can outlet to a low point beyond the end of the wall or through the wall.

brandy
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Re: Build a retaining wall ?

Post by brandy » Wed May 09, 2018 11:26 am

I logged on to add my experience, but the former pretty much said it all:
Glockenspiel wrote:
Wed May 09, 2018 11:02 am
If you really want a retaining wall, it would be advisable to extend the downspout to drain beyond the wall, and not behind it. Or, you can route the downspout through the wall, from behind, if you like that look better.
You must have well-drained gravel/rock behind the wall, to reduce lateral hydrostatic pressure, and its always a good idea to have a perforated draintile behind the base of the wall that can outlet to a low point beyond the end of the wall or through the wall.
Instead of extending the drain, I used an "underground slope"
https://www.easydigging.com/Drainage/fo ... spout.html from the house out to the wall, and had a french drain installed behind the wall. One should have been put in when it was built, but it was not. I surrounded that gravel with perforated ground cloth so water could pass through, but not so much dirt. for emphasis, You must have well-drained gravel/rock behind the wall, to reduce lateral hydrostatic pressure, and its always a good idea to have a perforated draintile behind the base of the wall that can outlet to a low point beyond the end of the wall or through the wall.
Even for such a short wall.

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lthenderson
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Re: Build a retaining wall ?

Post by lthenderson » Wed May 09, 2018 12:46 pm

sixtyforty wrote:
Tue May 08, 2018 4:49 pm
I'm looking to build a retaining wall at the corner of our house. It has a pretty good slope to it and the rain gutter empties there. I've looked at some youtube videos but honestly man of them appear to use special equipment etc. Any of you have any links or sources on how to just build a simple retaining wall ?
Go to youtube and google "How to Build a Retaining Wall". There are probably a hundred unique videos showing the steps. I've built quite a few over the years and it really isn't rocket science. About 95% of the effort is in prep work and the remaining 5% is actually stacking the blocks.

Like someone mentioned above, I wouldn't have a rain gutter downspout empty water on the uphill side of any retaining wall, especially in climates with freezing temperatures. For a clean look, I bury a pvc pipe that comes out at the base of the retaining wall that goes up to your downspout next to the house.

Jack FFR1846
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Re: Build a retaining wall ?

Post by Jack FFR1846 » Wed May 09, 2018 12:59 pm

Yah....have an engineer look first. Our house backs up to a hill. We have a small culvert to channel water away from the base of the hill and from the house. Our problem is that the granite that is under everything near me was blasted to make the basement when the house was built. So we're sitting in a giant granite tea cup and when water makes its way far enough, it goes where it can, which is in the basement. We've solved this with channels all around the inside of the floor leading to a sump pump. But before we did that, we could see water seeping in from the floor through micro cracks that could get to a few inches deep.
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likegarden
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Re: Build a retaining wall ?

Post by likegarden » Wed May 09, 2018 2:43 pm

In case you have a drainage problem with water coming out of gutter downspouts, note that a 4 inch flexible PVC pipe could be used to drain water to a low spot away from the house. Those pipes come in 100ft and 10 ft length. 25 years ago I dug trenches 18 inches deep for the 4 inch PVC pipe which brought rain water to a low spot far away, and we got a dry basement.

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unclescrooge
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Re: Build a retaining wall ?

Post by unclescrooge » Wed May 09, 2018 3:04 pm

I'm no expert, but I had water leaking into the lower level of my house (half of the lower level is below the ground level).
We put in a french drain that diverted water 27 ft away and below the level of the house and it solved the problem.

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saltycaper
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Re: Build a retaining wall ?

Post by saltycaper » Wed May 09, 2018 3:39 pm

sixtyforty wrote:
Wed May 09, 2018 10:31 am
Thanks for the feedback. I agree our situation is not that simple. I'm going to get a couple of landscaping companies to come out and give us some ideas along with estimates.
Not a bad idea, but do your own research too. Under what circumstances are permits required? Under what circumstances are engineering drawings required? Is the landscaping company coming up with a design to deliberately skirt these requirements in order to get you a lower bid? That might be problematic, if, for instance, they want to build two small walls close together instead of one large wall without consideration for how the walls interact with one another, particularly if the consequences of wall failure are more involved than simply having to repair the wall. Be wary of companies overselling capabilities and competencies. Taking shortcuts or trying to "get away with something" when it comes to structural and geotechnical matters is ill-advised. Of course, if the consequences of wall failure are not that great, this may not matter so much.
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needhalpplease
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Re: Build a retaining wall ?

Post by needhalpplease » Tue May 22, 2018 5:34 am

hello. i am removing two 8 foot in some section retaining walls. i cannot find any videos anywhere so far on how to safely do this. its versa lock blocks. we are re using blocks .

RudyS
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Re: Build a retaining wall ?

Post by RudyS » Tue May 22, 2018 3:09 pm

needhalpplease wrote:
Tue May 22, 2018 5:34 am
hello. i am removing two 8 foot in some section retaining walls. i cannot find any videos anywhere so far on how to safely do this. its versa lock blocks. we are re using blocks .
To needhalpplease: you should really start your own thread with the subject "Removing Versablock retaining wall, help needed." More people will see it.

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