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Scag52inch
11-04-2005, 12:24 PM
What is the best way to level the base for a segmented retaining wall? Can you use level string lines like a patio? Can you use forms like concrete? Also I have read some people screed 1 inch of construction sand just like they do for pavers. Does anyone do this?

One more question:

once you have your base pretty level, is it better to lay say a row of 5 or 6 blocks and then level them all at the same time or is it better to level each one as you go.

Thanks so much for any response!

neversatisfiedj
11-04-2005, 01:28 PM
Both . You can use string lines or steel forms (usually used on huge comercial jobs) Just string out your area and go to work leveling each block as you go with no more than 1/2 inch of masonry sand. Hope this helps.

Scag52inch
11-04-2005, 02:41 PM
helps out a lot. I was confused after reading of doing it both ways. Just curious , when companys use steel forms do they get removed or buried??

Also why just 1/2 inch construction sand??

If you are using SRW blocks with a lip , do you cut the lip off for the base course or just leave it on?

Finally , .... when leveling the base course of block front to back do you make it perfectly level or do you tilt the front up a little for the purpose of battering the wall back?

Thanks again for any responses!!

PAPS Landscape Design
11-04-2005, 02:59 PM
use a rotating laser, forms etc will all work. We use rotating laser. My guys also use some sand as the level each block.. or screed a whole pad.

UNISCAPER
11-04-2005, 08:27 PM
We use a lazer reciever on the Mini Ex to dig the trench. For smaller walls, lazer, or bubble level. for large runs, we use "Speed base' It uses a system of 3/6" wide by 3" thick strap steel set on concrete stakes, that we set with the lazer. Once set at 4' apart, we drop in the base and roll it with the pad foot roller and wait forthe engineer to run hardness tests on the base. After he gives his blessing we pull the trolley over the top self leveling the load. We use a vibra-plate for the last inch or so.

This system will blow convention methods out of the water for time, especially if the specifications on a plan call for a larger batter on the wall. you can actually pre set that by adding a degree or so of pitch from the front to the back of the leveling pad.

Electra_Glide
11-07-2005, 12:33 PM
We use a lazer reciever on the Mini Ex to dig the trench. For smaller walls, lazer, or bubble level. for large runs, we use "Speed base'

Hey Uniscaper,

Do you guys use your mini-ex for all you jobs, no matter how small, or is there some "minimum" distance where it makes more sense to hand-dig?

I have a job starting at the end of the week, and I'm trying to decide which way to go. Only need to do about 32 linear feet of base at the foot of a very gradual slope (about 1:3). Excavation is fairly minimal. The site has very limited access (townhouse), and I have to cross a few of the neighbors "yards" to get there.

I would have to rent a very small machine (Bobcat 316). I figure by the time I factor in getting and returning the machine to the rental yard, it almost seems like more trouble than it's worth. Especially since I will still have to do the "clean-up" work by hand.

Any thoughts?

Thanks in advance...

Joe Kantz

UNISCAPER
11-07-2005, 06:52 PM
Joe:

One of the reasons we have fewer employees than most is because we are mechanized. Even for something as small as what you described, we would load up the machines, and use them. When you factor rental costs, time to pick up and drop off into the mix, the mechanization can go upside down.
Do any of your rental companies deliver and drop off? Everyone out this way delivers, and drops off. One even takes your machine off rent when you call and say you are done with it.

Now if we get into an entry tighter than 36", we would almost have to dig by hand, unless it is a big job and then we would crane the equipment over the rooftop, and use the ride on wheel barrows to move spoils and gravel.

This state is not work comp friendly at all, so, anytime we can employ the use of a machine and lay a guy off, the better it is.

Electra_Glide
11-08-2005, 09:19 AM
When you factor rental costs, time to pick up and drop off into the mix, the mechanization can go upside down.
Do any of your rental companies deliver and drop off? Everyone out this way delivers, and drops off. One even takes your machine off rent when you call and say you are done with it.

Bill,

I have a decent relationship with the local Bobcat sales rep (he's after me to buy a few machines...:)). Called him yesterday, an he's going to drop off and pick up a machine for me, so that's the route I'm going to go. They're a little more expensive, but he's going to deliver it for no charge, so it kind of evens out in the wash.

Joe

orionkf
11-14-2005, 02:23 AM
We use a lazer reciever on the Mini Ex to dig the trench. For smaller walls, lazer, or bubble level. for large runs, we use "Speed base' It uses a system of 3/6" wide by 3" thick strap steel set on concrete stakes, that we set with the lazer. Once set at 4' apart, we drop in the base and roll it with the pad foot roller and wait forthe engineer to run hardness tests on the base. After he gives his blessing we pull the trolley over the top self leveling the load. We use a vibra-plate for the last inch or so.

This system will blow convention methods out of the water for time, especially if the specifications on a plan call for a larger batter on the wall. you can actually pre set that by adding a degree or so of pitch from the front to the back of the leveling pad.


I've noticed inconsistencies in retaining wall blocks, what do you do to accomodate that...or, what kind of blocks are you using that you don't have to worry about that? Or am I just being too picky about my base?

kris
11-14-2005, 08:57 AM
I would not recommend using any sand at all...

Bill, the higher the wall the larger the batter ... each block as you know has built in set back.

UNISCAPER
11-14-2005, 09:40 AM
Bill, the higher the wall the larger the batter ... each block as you know has built in set back.

True, however there are some instances where soil conditions require more than a 1" setback per block, and there is no room to terrace a wall. So, by adding a degree more to the front of the leveling pad, you can control the batter. Works like a charm.



I've noticed inconsistencies in retaining wall blocks, what do you do to accomodate that...or, what kind of blocks are you using that you don't have to worry about that? Or am I just being too picky about my base?

The only wall we install is Keystone, Country Manor,Cantury Wall, Standards, and so fourth. I have never seen inconsistencies, at least from the manufacturer we use. I have seen slag down deep into the pin holes and have had to spend time drilling it it out so the pins would set in.

allaccesslandscaping
11-14-2005, 10:45 PM
Uniscapper,

what kind of mini ex do u use Iam looking to get the mustang 3003... I TO belive in going in the Mecinzed way.....I have the mt 52 bobcat thats been great... I saw yourr web site Itlooks like you are the king of country maner in s.cal.... I look to be king of northern ca. Do you have any specs. sheets when it comes to do fireplaces waterfalls etc...

Thanks All Access
707-333-7272

UNISCAPER
11-15-2005, 12:58 AM
We use 301.8 Caterpillars equipped with all 3 buckets, an adapter for a Dingo trencher so we can trench right on any fence line, and a rip tooth. We are getting a 305 next spring for the larger walls.

All the stuff in our site was designed by myself, and what you see is the as built. The best laid plans always have changes, so, the sheets we have are not even close to what was built. Too many environemental regs for their own good around here.

allaccesslandscaping
11-15-2005, 02:07 AM
Can you or have you use a trencher before to do a footing for country manor

allaccesslandscaping
11-15-2005, 02:11 AM
pic 9 of 39 on your website What kind of liner did you use for your pond

UNISCAPER
11-15-2005, 10:39 AM
With an excavator, you don't need a trencher for the footing. occasionally we need to use the rip tooth before digging with the bucket.

There is no liner in the pond on that page. It is Country Manor, set on a 12" slab with a 6" inlay around the base. 1/8" wire mesh holds the walls together, we paid it on the base course and scored the inside so it will lay flat and intermingle with the blocks. The wall was carefully mortared, beat stupid with a dead blow hammer to shrink the grount lines to less than 1/8". The face was then sprayed off with water to was the mud from it. When the outter walls set, we used pool plaster and tooled in a 45° angle at the top under the caps. When the plaster hardened we dyed 2 bags of Thuro-Seal deep brown and painted it on until the entire inside was coated. The column at the back has a 1 1/2" copper tube a a modified wier and we run a Nautilus 60 pump with a "T" style check valve to flow water around the inside help stop skeeter larvae from being dropped. We are building a much larger one as a memorial at a local hospital next month, we will use Century Wall for that.