View Full Version : I need Railroad Tie wall help

04-30-2006, 06:06 PM
I do mostly lawn and landscape...not too much with walls...I am ripping out an our rr tie wall and putting it back it. Old one is rotted and the customer hates stone walls. He wants the same thing. Anyway...I am looking for someone in the St. Charles, MO area that I can sub it out to. It's about 65 feet of material. Not too big. Anyhelp would be appreciated thanks!

05-05-2006, 10:51 AM
I am going to try doing it myself....anyone have any tips?

05-05-2006, 11:17 AM
what do u want 2 know ?

05-05-2006, 09:56 PM
I have never done one before...ever...so I am glad my first one is only 3 timbers high...what is the best way to start...bury one timber and anchor it with rods and then stack another layer and nail em in or? Any and all help is appreciated thanks!!!!!!

05-05-2006, 10:07 PM
Its a tiny wall. Just talking them into a block wall outta that small block you buy at depot. It will be quicker than messing with ties.

It seems like most people lean towards a rr tie wall to save money. Honest, on any SRW that does not include grid, i can not see how you can save any money with ties. It seems like you might save some money on material, but labor will be much more for the extra excavation for the deadman.

05-05-2006, 10:31 PM
I tried...however he really hates stone walls...which brings up another point...I have another customer that wants a stone wall...I am going out there next Monday to go over the details with him...but if I can find a guy to sub it out to...I will have to bid it...and not sure what to charge...on the home depot blocks that are like $1.50 or so...how do you guys charge? say its 4 feet high by 35 feet wide...those home depot blocks just lock together with a tongue or something right? And I bury one level of block to start right? Then just stack a level, back fill and repeat right? Once you level the bottom layer will all the others just be level once you get to the top? Thanks!!!!!

Also Today I gave an estimate to the timber customer...$650 to remove old wall, and put in ten 8 foot timbers...does that sound right? The wall is so short it needs no deadmen...the existing one is 16 years old and has no deadmen. Let me know thanks!!!!!

05-05-2006, 11:15 PM
$18-$24.00 sq.' I refuse tie walls, regardless what the home owner thinks its block or they can go else where. Dont need that kind of business.


05-05-2006, 11:24 PM
$18-$24.00 sq.' I refuse tie walls, regardless what the home owner thinks its block or they can go else where. Dont need that kind of business.


What's your objection to timber walls?:confused:

05-05-2006, 11:25 PM
No you stack them like brick sso say like two ties below then a third across on top where the two come together and so on.You have to drill through all of the ties and drive rebar thru all of them to tie them together..gosh amI gonna have to draw yet another pic of this?

05-05-2006, 11:26 PM
Mike i'm with you. I do not want to be bothered with a rr tie wall. I don't even have a clue how to build them correctly.

05-05-2006, 11:40 PM
Timber walls rot eventually and Block walls don't simple as that.There ARE customers who will insist on
Tie or timber walls though so you should know how to build one.Versitility is the name of this game

05-06-2006, 11:31 AM
And this guy is one of those guys that INSISTS on a timber wall...he is older and set in his ways...he is a customer that I do lots of lawn and landscape work for so I don't want to just tell him go elsewhere...does $650 sound like enough for the timber wall?

05-06-2006, 05:15 PM
What's your objection to timber walls?:confused:
They look like ****, they will not last or you wouldnt be replacing them now. i can build a allen block wall with in 20% of wooden wall. You can not get 2 pieces of 6x6 the same size heaven forbid rr ties. They stink, draw yellow jackets, and black snakes. I will build an block wall juat as fast as an other crew building a wooden wall. being both sites were already preped. Please visit my website and tell me what you prefer. www.bobcatservice33.com
A srw if built right will last a life time.


01-13-2011, 08:54 PM
This is an old thread but i decided to respond any way. This man was interested in building a rr wall. to those that say they can build a allean block or any other stone stacking system as fast as a rr wall its not true. . Ive watched the block stacking systems emergeing for 20 years. They are not longer lasting if you live in the frost belt. They are very rarely built according to recomendations, because doing so is very expensive. the geo grid alone is about the same cost as the blocks. Its a very abused system where builders cut corners. Im not blameing them they generaly have to to get the bid.

01-13-2011, 11:18 PM
If you are only compareing the cost of the materials 6"x6"x8' or 6"x8"x8' timbers vs stone stacking system 6"x12"x16" or similar there is not much difference in costs; but the ties are cheaper. When you compare labor costs 2 guys will in 4 hrs lay 6"x6"x8' timbers what will take 5 guys four 8hr days to stack 6"x12"x16" blocks. Thats 8 hrs in labor costs vs 160 hrs in labor costs. The timbers do decay but will last + 30 years, look for timbers preasure treated to .15. Dont use landscape timbers that are dipped and unrated. Its true that there are fluctions in the thicknesses of wood, but there are many timberwall styles, the pattern that I use, lumber can very in thicknes by as much as 3/4" without affecting the finished product (hint) pick a style that reminds you of a chainlink fence. Use tiebacks, for every 8' tie we lay, we use a 4' tieback and a 1 foot block and it will not add to the cost of the wall to do it. I dont have to cut corners or do anything special,to build a tiewall that will support a swimming pool and it wont move. build any other type of retaining wall that can do that and compare the cost. Mostly when we finish the wall we are just getting started. There are lawns, plantings, swimming pools, driveways or houses behind it. These are the reasons people build retaining walls in the first place. All these things are supposed to work together, to create that home that looks good and blends with its surroundings. If more people would go back and look at any style of retaining wall in as little as 10 years, they might be surprized what walls last the longest. Most folks are only comparing brand new walls with walls that have stood the test of time.

Murphy's Law
01-14-2011, 12:11 PM
You lost me after your second sentence. You just pulled labor number out of thin air. I'm not even sure how to respond but you can't honestly think 2 guys laying a timber wall for 4 hours equals 5 guys laying SRW wall for 4 days! I mean, come on! I get it, you like timber walls but your ideas of labor time is way, way, way off.

01-14-2011, 05:49 PM
No I did not pull the labor figure out of thin air. We have duplicated time and again 2 men laying out 120 6x6x8 in 4 hrs spiked and ready to be backfilled. You can do the same number of ties using 6x8x8 also if you need more wall hight useing the same amount of timbers. The time will remain the same.
A very typical span 52'3/4" L x 71 1/2" H will use exactly 89 6x6x8 and will be 13 courses high or u can build 52'3/4" L x 96"H useing again 89 6x8x8 timbers again thats 13 courses high. This is just the difference between useing
6x6x8 vs 6x8x8 timbers. usually I can find 6x8x8 for the same price or less than 6x6x8. The 6x8x8 though will be rough cut and there is more variance in thickness. When useing 6x8x8 I'll search for red pine because the preasure treatment penitrates farther. The 6x6x8 lumber is surfaced lumber and is actually 5.5"x 5.5". If you try building this hieght with the block system you have to start burying more courses under ground. and this is where people start cutting corners, they dont go deeper, they dont add geo grid, they dont use soil compaction equipment. The guy selling the stone at your local block supply, will say "no you dont need to go deeper". He will have a great big grin on his face when he spits that lie out to you,:). Two years ago I took out a keystone wall built 27 courses 13.5' highx 70 ' in lenght, without a single course below grade and with only 3 courses having any gravel behind them. The wall had stood for 4 years and was in danger of falling into the patio and swimming pool. I have pictures of the lean. We took the wall down and rebuilt it but taking it down was a dangerous proposition. I dont mind building stone system walls, I build them too. But costs start to scream eeeeeek. And then because of the costs of the wall, the customer wants me to start cutting corners on the lawn and shrubry, lets plant grass without topsoil, on and on. I'll say it again most people are only compareing brand new walls with walls that have stood the test of time. Its just salesmen telling people what they want to hear.

DVS Hardscaper
01-14-2011, 07:59 PM
Most competent contractors would never refer to a supplier for construction advice. Dude that's like getting a fuel pump from NAPA and them telling you how to install it.

As far as base courses, just cause you saw a wall I
Properly constructed doesn't mean that's how they're done. That just means a lawn jockey turned hardscape guru built the wall.

Also why would one buy aggregate from the block supplier? You buy aggregate from the quarries.

Yes it may take more hrs to build a SRW. you can hang vinyl siding on the side of q house faster than you can brick it!!! Vinyl siding wil need replaced. So will your wooden wall :)

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