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View Full Version : You think this idea will work for retaining wall footings?


mrusk
03-22-2006, 05:52 PM
Well today i messed up. I went to go buy 1in gas pipe to use as screed rails for pavers. Not realizing how pipe is sized they ended up giving me 1in ID pipe. So the OD is 1.25. So now i have a 100 bucks in pipe that i can't use for pavers.

I've hear many of you talk about speed base and was intrigued by it. Its a shame it is not made anymore. I've tried to use screed pipes to level the base course but it was hard to get the pipes level.

My idea is to get 3/4 or 1in steel stakes. Weld a 1/2 threaded bolt to the side of it. Then i would drill a 1/2 hole in the gas pipe. On the job site i could level each stake with the laser and then mount the pipes to the stakes. Then put the last 2in of road base between the pipes and screed it.

What do you guys think? I figure it shouldn't take more than 5 minutes to set up and could save ALOT of time on setting the first course of block.

And i can't return the 1.25 pipe since they had to cut the 21 foot pieces down to 10 and 11 ft lengths!

Matt

kris
03-22-2006, 06:38 PM
Matt...1.25 is fine and Im going to post a couple pics later of the stakes I have have for base work... make yourself a bunch.

kris
03-22-2006, 07:34 PM
here ya go.....

kris
03-22-2006, 07:35 PM
and another

kris
03-22-2006, 07:38 PM
last one ... set them up just as you said...one pipe down one side with a couple of these stakes and another couple stakes and pipe down the other...set them plenty wide enough for your tamper.
I think this is what you were talking about ...hope the pics help.

mrusk
03-22-2006, 07:43 PM
So you loosen the top bolt to raise it and lower it i assume. Your idea is proably better than mine. I was going to weld a bolt on to a stake and just hammer it down more if i was to high.

Do you have any proablems with the pipe staying on the hook?

cgland
03-22-2006, 07:59 PM
Kris - Do you think that your idea would work better than concrete forms? It seems alot easier.

Chris

kris
03-22-2006, 08:02 PM
So you loosen the top bolt to raise it and lower it i assume.

Do you have any proablems with the pipe staying on the hook?

Thats right ... no problems with the pipe staying on the hook . Very easy to adjust either up or down.

kris
03-22-2006, 08:07 PM
Kris - Do you think that your idea would work better than concrete forms? It seems alot easier.

Chris



To tell you the truth the guys don't use these that often... great on long straight sections but most of our walls aren't like that... I should have some curved pieces of pipe or something.

edit..gee sorry I misread your post ... Ive never used concrete forms. Do you mean you would set up concrete forms for base work on a SRW?

cgland
03-22-2006, 09:52 PM
Kris - Yeah, we set them with a laser to get them level and screed our base of of them.

Chris

UNISCAPER
03-22-2006, 10:51 PM
Without a trolley running across those rails you are not really going to be saving any time. The coolest thing about speedbase is that the rails are flexible, and as you Wack the base between them you pull the trolley along to level it. Then you just plant the wall and go. It will save you hundreds of manhours a year once you get it all dialed in.

mrusk
03-22-2006, 11:09 PM
Yea but you can't buy speed base anymore. If it was still made i'd pay the 3k for it without even thinking twice.

Besides speedbase, i do not see how you could possibly level the base any easier than with these stakes. Some how i end up with alot of long stright walls. Last year i did aa 120 ft wall. All stright. It did have 3 step up though. I think with these spikes, even if the wall is only 10-12 feet long, you will still save time.

Matt

UNISCAPER
03-22-2006, 11:16 PM
Matt:

I am almost done with a proto type similar to Speedbase. If I could only come up with a 40 hour work day.......
You could buy wheels with round grooves and design a rolling chassis with a blade across the chassis. Thats really all you need. Just use a curved blade similar to how a tractor blade is formed.

jreiff
03-22-2006, 11:17 PM
Without a trolley running across those rails you are not really going to be saving any time. The coolest thing about speedbase is that the rails are flexible, and as you Wack the base between them you pull the trolley along to level it. Then you just plant the wall and go. It will save you hundreds of manhours a year once you get it all dialed in.


You have any pictures of the speed base & trolley that you are talking about???

Drafto
03-22-2006, 11:19 PM
here ya go.....

Forget about wall base for a second, is it just me or do Kris' stakes seem like they would speed everything up that we do with modified 2A? It seems like those things would eliminate a lot of rake leveling for the final base before we install our sand. No only that, wouldn't these things virtually eliminate needing string lines? Set our lifts exactly not needing to carry so many different size PVC? Am I the only one that thinks these things are ridiculously useful?

Dan

mrusk
03-22-2006, 11:39 PM
Drafto- I think on a large patio they could be use full. On walkways with alot of curves you would have to use alot of stakes with smaller peices of pipe.

My friend owns a steel shop. As soon as he gets back from vacation enxt week i am going to have him make me up 6-8 of these stakes. Can't wait to see how much time i save.

Drafto
03-22-2006, 11:44 PM
Drafto- I think on a large patio they could be use full. On walkways with alot of curves you would have to use alot of stakes with smaller peices of pipe.

My friend owns a steel shop. As soon as he gets back from vacation enxt week i am going to have him make me up 6-8 of these stakes. Can't wait to see how much time i save.

Patios, driveways, straight retaining walls..................I love this site! I will be at a welding shop in the morning.

Heres one for you guys:

http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/displayitem.taf?Itemnumber=46225

I know what you are thinking, how nice could that be for $200.00, but I have a 20% coupon and for $160.00 if it lasted for 2 jobs it pays for itself. I am going to the Harbor Freight store, after I go to the welding shop tomorrow.

Dan

mrusk
03-22-2006, 11:52 PM
Drafto- I wouldn't waste my money on that saw. It won't lat you long. But these stakes should really shred time. Its alot easier to set stakes to certain high, then trying to build up the 2a just enough so its level or pitch to where you need it.

This year i am all about being more efficent. I plan on working smarter not harder, and making more money in the process!

kris
03-23-2006, 03:35 AM
Am I the only one that thinks these things are ridiculously useful?

Dan

No , they are really useful in lots of applications.


I'd love to see your system bill ...even without,rail, trolley etc these stakes will same you time.

neversatisfiedj
03-23-2006, 08:17 AM
Myself and my crew keep talking about making something similar. Even for patios and walkways. It just makes sense than to keep using a rod and laser. Set your forms and do you lifts and screed. I have a weekend off. I'm going to try to configure something also.

WildLake
03-23-2006, 07:14 PM
for patios, a guy around me drives his wood stakes to grade, then sets angle iron with holes all down it on top of the stakes (so the top is flat like an "L" upside down) and drills to the stakes. Sets his screed board on the iron. Sound alright but I have not tried it.

MarcusLndscp
03-23-2006, 09:43 PM
Kris, what type of screed do you guys use?

kris
03-24-2006, 06:25 AM
Marcus ...either our aluminum rakes or wood ... really need to get some aluminum ones, just haven't gotten around to it.

KeystoneLawn&Landscaping
03-24-2006, 08:57 AM
I've done the wood stakes and angle before and works good for me...but I use aluminum angle...no rust!

UNISCAPER
03-24-2006, 10:11 AM
If you are talking about a wall, you should not have any more than 1/4" of loose gravel/screed under the bottom block. I know someone somewhere will reply back that they have been using an inch of sand for years and never had a problem, and all I can really say is if they have never had a problem they are lucky. You need to see 90% compaction at the bottom of the trench and on top of the leveling pad, as well as in the reinforcement zone behind the wall.

KeystoneLawn&Landscaping
03-24-2006, 09:17 PM
ditto uniscaper....the leveling pad should not have any sand...

cgland
03-24-2006, 09:58 PM
Got that Drafto!!!!

mrusk
03-24-2006, 10:01 PM
Who the heck is talking about using any sand at all on a retaining wall base?

kris
03-24-2006, 10:08 PM
I didnt see anyone saying anything about it.

UNISCAPER
03-24-2006, 10:40 PM
When someone mentioned screed, I assumed they were leveling gravel then screeding like you would build a paver patio. Maybe a misundersanding???

kootoomootoo
03-24-2006, 11:11 PM
Who needs screeds...build the walls on top of the grass.

Drafto
03-24-2006, 11:36 PM
Got that Drafto!!!!

Thanks for throwing me under the bus Chris!

To shed some background for you guys, this is my second year hardscaping. I have invested a lot of money and time getting myself and crew educated in hardscaping. I called Chris the other day to ask him this same question about the 1" of sand. He said NO, and after talking with him I proceeded to make phone calls, 2 guys said they did, and two didn't, but the ConServ (manufacturers rep) guy told me to use the sand so I did.

Every show, exibit, or seminar I attended this winter they all used and preached 1" of sand under the base course. I respect many of your opinions on here so I will be eliminating that 1" sand step on my walls from here on out.

Dan

Dreams To Designs
03-25-2006, 08:37 AM
Chris, I think we have converted Dan. Can I get an amen??? Everyone has to learn, some just prefer to learn the hard way. Just because someone else is doing it, doesn't make it right!

Dan you did the right thing, you asked. Unfortunately the source you consulted gave you the easy way, but we can make it work, this time. That's why we are all here to learn and share with those that do it everyday.

Kirk

kris
03-25-2006, 08:52 AM
Heck, SRWs are even newer than pavers in North America .. I don't think I started using any until early 80's , maybe mid to late I can't really remember. I've probably made every mistake in the book and allot of times it was because of bad advise from distributors/manufactures... they what you to install their product and have an easy time doing it.
All we can do as an industry is seek out the "truth" and change when we find the right way.

kris
03-25-2006, 08:55 AM
When someone mentioned screed, I assumed they were leveling gravel then screeding like you would build a paver patio. Maybe a misundersanding???

Yes I think it was .... we screed the gravel.

waltero
03-25-2006, 07:00 PM
I am looking into buying steel concrete forms and I just got some info on some plastic ones and I wasn't to impressed with them at first. The steel ones would require me to buy both straight and flexible forms and they aren't interchangable. The Plastic ones flex and after thinking about it for a while I came to the conclusion that the plastic ones would be much better suited to this field because they adapt to anyshape and can do straight runs and curves down to a 4' radius. They are also cheaper then the steel ones and are easy to adjust up and down with the camlock clamps. I am still new to this so let me know what you think. I will include a link to the place that sells them so you can get a look at them.

http://64.111.99.245/mm5/merchant.mvc?Screen=CTGY&Store_Code=1001&Category_Code=PFFS

and the main company

http://www.plasticforms.com/plasticforms.htm#5ways

mbella
03-25-2006, 08:41 PM
I am one of the ones that uses a bedding layer, but my ears are open.

Bill, or anybody else, what is the fear with using a bedding layer?

UNISCAPER
03-25-2006, 08:44 PM
Mike:

All I'm doing is what the gnineers require me to do. They test base for compaction hardness, and they won't allow more than a 1/4" bedding layer under a wall. If you heave say an inch at the toe, it can and will escalate into a 1' dip 12' over grade, which throws all the math off for the grids and every other component of the wall.

mbella
03-25-2006, 08:51 PM
Mike:

All I'm doing is what the gnineers require me to do. They test base for compaction hardness, and they won't allow more than a 1/4" bedding layer under a wall. If you heave say an inch at the toe, it can and will escalate into a 1' dip 12' over grade, which throws all the math off for the grids and every other component of the wall.

Bill,

I'm thinking most of your installs are reinforced walls. Ours are not. So, I'm speaking about walls generally <3'.

Drew Gemma
03-26-2006, 01:10 AM
Don't kill me but I talked to an individual who uses plastic steaks pounds them into the ground and uses the laser level to set htem each at grade every so many foot. then he compacts over them leaving them in the base. Kind of like pouring a footer. I think it woulod be a pain in the azz!

kris
03-26-2006, 09:46 AM
I am one of the ones that uses a bedding layer, but my ears are open.

Bill, or anybody else, what is the fear with using a bedding layer?

Thats a very good question Mike... I fear the bedding sand washing out but I have no hard data to prove this. Also sand isn't preforming the same function as it is with pavers. I've always just felt that having two different types of materials is not as good as one.

On the other side ... you are still getting your 98% Standard Proctor with your crush.

If anything , I would use no more than 1/2 inch and it would have to be very consistent.

I'm going to have to research this more.

Drafto
03-27-2006, 12:40 AM
Thats a very good question Mike... I fear the bedding sand washing out but I have no hard data to prove this. Also sand isn't preforming the same function as it is with pavers. I've always just felt that having two different types of materials is not as good as one.

On the other side ... you are still getting your 98% Standard Proctor with your crush.

If anything , I would use no more than 1/2 inch and it would have to be very consistent.

I'm going to have to research this more.

Kris,

I don't think "wash out" would be a problem, our sand does not migrate through our modifed base fro pavers? When we use the sand we backfill both sides with our base stone until our 1st course is buried, I don't see how the sand could migrate out. If you use 1" of sand consistently how could one section settle more than another? I CAN see if you use it for a sitting wall, the load shifting could be a problem.

We use the sand, but most of our information comes from manufacturers, their experienced help, and thier engineers, and they recommend we use it. I am all ears also but for a 2' high wall is this really a debate?

Dan

fall46
04-03-2006, 03:41 PM
After reading some of the posts regarding adding a bedding layer underneath the first row of retaining wall block I thought I'd chime in. Last summer we did rather long wall apprx 90 linear feet. What we found after compacting the base pad is that setting the block directly on the pad was extrmely cumbersome. We used Anchor Block and what we found is when you chisel off the lip of the block invetibley a bit more will come off than desireable which leaves the underside of the block that will be placed on the pad "not perfectly level" Couple this with the fact no matter how well u compact your base their always seems to be a slight variance in the base due to the angled nature of the stone...

What we found worked good is using .50-.75'' of sand adding in scoop of pure portland cement something like a 4:1 to 5:1 ratio (orginally got this idea from Rex Man) this gives u some room to "tweak" the block. My guess is by the time your fine tuneing the block to get it level you truly dont have the .50'' of sand you started with underneath ........as some will migrate into your base pad and some will squish outwards from aplplying pressure to the block.

Futhermore by adding portland cement to the sand your "firming it up" making it less prone to wash out as some have mentioned. The key however is to limit the sand to .50'' or less,,,,,,as anything more would seem to be making up for sloppy work on getting the base pad level....

Any thoughts.....

Pavers Plus
04-13-2006, 05:52 PM
I think my fear with recommending a sand setting bed under ANY height wall is that the contractor may be "hiding" imperfections in the gravel base. There are too many inexperienced contractors building walls of any size. Attached is a picture of a 10" wall I took a picture of while driving through a neighborhood the other day. Any height wall can settle. Adding 1" of sand makes me think you are going to guarantee some form of settling on any wall if the gravel base is not perfect.

Also, when leveling block, how many times do you or your men hit one block so hard to level it and push it into the base you need to replace it, while the next block seems almost perfect and a couple soft taps make it seem level. Seems like there has got to be some sort of problem with settling at some point.

Just my thoughts....

fall46
04-13-2006, 11:58 PM
The silver lineing is using a max of .50'' sand... anything more as u stated would potentially be covering for a shotty base pad. As for water "washing" out the sand I would think the majority of the water would be diverted into your drain tile.