PDA

View Full Version : Wood retaining wall


IAHomeImp
10-25-2009, 05:07 PM
Hate to start off on a new forum with an off the wall question, but i'd prefer to talk with you fellas that do this all day befoe i pull the trigger. and for the record i've used the search button and have'nt found what i'm looking for;)

situation:
MY backyard, this summer i took out 14 tandem loads of dirt, it used to slope from about midpoint in the yard up to the neighbors in my backyard...shot it with the transit and the highest point is 4' taller than grade near the house. When i dug out the yard i kept the back yard higher so finalized grade will be higher and i can run the water out of the yard. But i have to hold this dirt back obviously to prevent further erroding so i'm entertaining all options and that's where you guys come in.

Solutions:
Spendiest to cheapest-
Dig trench footings all the way across the back yard and stick rebar vertical and have it rise above so when we pour above grade it'll all be tied together, along with horizontal rebar to tie it all together too. Am considering building plywood forms since we could do it all in house cheaper than renting aluminum forms. So in doing the wall this way, with proper waterproofing on the back side and tile i would also dig and form the walls for the big stick built shop i'm going to put back there...so it's kind of an all in one deal.

or

Was thinking of stabbing 6x6's vertically 4' o.c. throughout the layout. Was going to put 5' in the ground and 4' above grade then use 2x6 T&G treated lumber to cover the back side of the wall that will get membraned and backfilled. I was going to implement deadmen into the mix as well to help spread the load behind the wall into the small piece of relestate behind the wall. Install the same waterproofing membrane to the dirt side of the hill, bury tile and back fill with gravel, get it within 2" of finish grade and finish it all over completely around the back of the wall with river rock/decorative rock since i dont want to mess with mowing/weeding behidn the new shop.

If i do the wood wall i'd just swap shop construction over to post frame style/pole building style since i'd have my cheap retaining wall and would'nt have to worry about the building itself being implemented as a retainging wall. But i've noticed with the wooden retaining walls i've been seeing, everybody is laying the timbers like bricks. and implementing deadmen to those too.

I'd love to go the cement route, but i'm also doing this all out of pocket since business is slower and bank is being tight. so i could move forward faster being cheap, but at the same time i talk myself out of it since i know cheap never gets anybody far cept spending the money all over again later...but if i could build a wood reataining wall that i could get 20-30yrs out of, i'd be happy since i'll prolly be dead by the time that fails. Heck, my mother owned this house for 23 years and the year they built they just stacked landscaping timbers with rerod to terrace the yard off and it was still holding until i dug it all out this summer;)

This is what i'm dealing with and it'll have a building spanning most of the width of the backyard too.
http://i299.photobucket.com/albums/mm286/iowahome/Home%20Garage/backyard-1.jpg
http://i299.photobucket.com/albums/mm286/iowahome/Home%20Garage/backyard1.jpg

thanks and take it easy on the new guy;) been lurking for awhile, just never joined since landscaping is'nt my bag.

shovelracer
10-25-2009, 08:16 PM
Man that was hard to understand. Neither sounds like a good choice. Wood will rot and the concrete needs to be on a footer if you want it to last. If you must have a wall tight to the fence just use retaining wall blocks, otherwise just slope it out 45* and stick some grass or plants on it and move your shop out a few feet.

Isobel
10-26-2009, 02:02 AM
not hard to read at all, and the pictures definitely help.

First, how does your neighbor's yard drain--basically does the water drain toward that fence, or away from it?

But, I'd go with the concrete rather than wood. The wood will rot, and you'll have to go back and replace it.
I'm not a fan of the way concrete looks, but that can be easily fixed with a stone veneer.

I have a similar problem with a 40-year old retaining wall that is about to go. Built from RR ties it was soaked in creosote and has lasted this long. But now I have to see what to do about replacing it.

IAHomeImp
10-26-2009, 06:56 AM
Sorry if it was hard to read, tried to make it as simple as possible.

Neighbors yard does slope down into mine, so i will pick up whatever excess run off he has, though he's one of those super anal yard keepers with a lush lawn so that helps LOL!!

I dont want the wall right at the fence, I put the fence on the property line and my building for easment purposes has to be off the property line 5' on the back side so that little bit of dirt cushion up there will stay there and will actually be a little wider once i get the retaining wall built and backfill it.

IF i do the concrete route, it will all be footing depth and rebared, and i will also dig the footers in for my building at the same time, it'll be a big maze of poured footers and such, but it'd be a 2 for 1 thing. I'd have footing for the large buidling and footings for the retaining wall too. The exposed side if i end up running concrete i'd like to do a rock veneer, kind of give it that rustic look vs just plain old concrete, or if i wanted ti kill two birds with one stone doing that too, I could just order the rubber form liner and staple it up insdie the forms for the rock look and have the concrete tinted like we did on this flip house porch:
http://i299.photobucket.com/albums/mm286/iowahome/Quam/finishedexterior.jpg

White Gardens
10-26-2009, 08:47 AM
Concrete footings aren't necessary for retaining walls.

A minimum of 6-8 inches of crushed and compacted gravel would be sufficient with the first course below grade. The only engineering aspect to consider is if you have more than a 2-3 high block wall, then geo-fabric will need to be placed to lock the wall into the dirt your retaining.

Good Luck.

Isobel
10-26-2009, 12:32 PM
Concrete footings aren't necessary for retaining walls.



I have to disagree with this statement.

If the retaining wall is 4' high, then you'll want to put in a proper foundation and tie it into the wall. if you want a retaining wall to last.

IAHomeImp
10-26-2009, 07:08 PM
Concrete footings aren't necessary for retaining walls.

A minimum of 6-8 inches of crushed and compacted gravel would be sufficient with the first course below grade. The only engineering aspect to consider is if you have more than a 2-3 high block wall, then geo-fabric will need to be placed to lock the wall into the dirt your retaining.

Good Luck.

I'm not doing a standard block type retaining wall, it'll all be solid concrete and rebar..or wood, but the more i think the more i've convinced myself to jsut do the concrete, incorporate the buildings footings into the retaining wall footing. tile, waterproof like a basement and call it DUN for good. I'll still be at least money with a poured wall than buying the retaining wall blocks, originally that's what i planed on initally and had severe sticker shock LOL!! For what it would take me to install the stackable blocks correctly, i'll be able to do all the footings for the retaining wall, the actual retaining wall of poured concrete AND the room addition i have to put on the house to build the shop the size i want it....so the concrete is pretty much a no brainer from my stand point...i dont have hook up's in the landscaping area:(

mdlwn1
10-26-2009, 07:29 PM
I have to disagree with this statement.

If the retaining wall is 4' high, then you'll want to put in a proper foundation and tie it into the wall. if you want a retaining wall to last.

Somehow Im sure we are talking apples and oranges...but no...you dont ....way too many factors to say it that simply.

IAHomeImp
10-26-2009, 07:35 PM
Somehow Im sure we are talking apples and oranges...but no...you dont ....way too many factors to say it that simply.

There is no way i would pour 140'x4'x8" concrete wall that will be holding back landscaping and just pour it on a gravel base.

I think your talking about stacked blocks, i'm talking a poured concrete wall....like a poured basement wall.

mdlwn1
10-26-2009, 07:36 PM
Gotchya.....I had a feeling I was off on that one...

White Gardens
10-26-2009, 09:18 PM
Ya, I was thinking the stacked concrete blocks, not necessarily a solid concrete wall.

ParkviewNursery
10-28-2009, 06:01 PM
Where are you at in iowa? used to live in boji but i find it hard to believe that a retaining wall is going to cost more than poured wall and your addition footings as well......what did they quote you?

IAHomeImp
10-28-2009, 07:09 PM
Where are you at in iowa? used to live in boji but i find it hard to believe that a retaining wall is going to cost more than poured wall and your addition footings as well......what did they quote you?

Waterloo area, just north of where you were at.

It was a loaded question since I'll be doing the digging/forming/pouring of all the concrete so all i'm paying for is concrete at my discount and rebar which wont amount to sqaut....whereas the reataining wall block, the big boys as i call them, dont know what you guys in the feild call them, roughly 24" wide/8-10" tall i think?? hollow cores for gravel and rods to be driven in as a double stop type situation...i'm stupid with the landscaping terms since it is'nt my bag...worst than a homeowner LOL!! But just the block alone was almost $9K not including base material, backfill, fabric/tile so i'd of easily been over $10K installing the retaining wall which is waaaay more than i can afford out of pocket right now...the concrete i can manage since it's quite a bit cheaper obviously. Not as sexy looking, but they make crap for that after the fact LOL!!

I was just looking for an easy quick out, but after reading what i typed here i cussed myself for being so stupid because i preach to customers on every bid about doing it right once and be done vs spending half to do the job now and twice as much later to redo it LOL!!

FWIW, i know market's are completely different where we're all at and i will stab a pen in my eye after i hit reply, BUT....can somebody PM me a "rough" figure based on pics above what you'd bid the job at using landscaping block to hold back that 4' ledge of earth. 2 inside 90* corners 1 90* outside corner and and let's just say 150 LF for all practical purposes. nothing fancy, just a standard, run of the mill retaining wall. I'm hesitant to call anybody out to bid it since i hate wasting other contractors time as i myself wanna punch tire kickers in the ballz, but if the price was right i really have no problems farming out this kind of work either...that way i continue to work and make money and not worry about this kinda crap.

alright..prepping to stab my eye for asking the "what'd it cost question":hammerhead::laugh:

nylandscapepro
10-28-2009, 11:22 PM
I'd do a pt wall with deadman, we use spiral spikes and then in the dead man we run 4' rebar through the ends into the ground for added strenght, 6" of run-a-crush below 1st course 1 course embedded, 4" corrugated pipe behind using high friction #2's tamped at every course, Besides this I would do an SRW wall

4Russl5
10-30-2009, 09:58 PM
You have access to great-flat-inexpensive limestone material where you live. Build a dry stone retaining wall. Don't waste your money on wood, it will betray you over time for endless reasons.
Based on your stated dimensions above, you'll need about 1 1/2 tons of stone for 3 linear feet of retaining wall 4' tall, which includes your foundation stones- throughs and coping stones. Business is slow, well by the time you are done with this you'll have a beautiful wall, you'll understand dry stone masonry, and it should be 3 weeks before Christmas... if you don't have an assistant.

I agree with Shovelracer.... slope it/plant it /move the shop. Too much work for the return.

What is your local set back for buildings where you are?

4 seasons lawn&land
11-01-2009, 02:26 PM
solid 4 foot concrete wall has to be 3 feet in the ground and be engineered for drainage. You wouldnt have to do that with wood. there are alot of RR tie walls around here.

White Gardens
11-01-2009, 07:23 PM
Even 6 x 6 landscaping timbers will hold up for a long time. I've pulled small retaining walls with those in them and after 12 years, they really hadn't deteriorated at all.

The thing I don't like about RR ties is that they are already used when you get them so they've been beat up by the weight of the trains rolling over them.

If you go with wood, something you might consider.

If I had to do a wall I wanted a good return on property value wise, then I would go with a good block wall. Concrete and timbers don't have as much appeal to most people looking to buy a house.

IAHomeImp
11-05-2009, 06:43 PM
You have access to great-flat-inexpensive limestone material where you live. Build a dry stone retaining wall. Don't waste your money on wood, it will betray you over time for endless reasons.
Based on your stated dimensions above, you'll need about 1 1/2 tons of stone for 3 linear feet of retaining wall 4' tall, which includes your foundation stones- throughs and coping stones. Business is slow, well by the time you are done with this you'll have a beautiful wall, you'll understand dry stone masonry, and it should be 3 weeks before Christmas... if you don't have an assistant.

I agree with Shovelracer.... slope it/plant it /move the shop. Too much work for the return.

What is your local set back for buildings where you are?

Now this is something i've never considered and i think looks wise would add some character back there...granted most of it wont be seen behind the building, but what would be seen, it'd look kinda of cool....and it'd be using natural product which i always have liked the looks of in landscaping vs man made stuff.

I'll do some googling, but would you happen to have any links/sources a person could do some investigating on this method? Seems like alot of phyical labor to do this properly so i definately want to have the base and back of the wall prepped/drained so it wont look like doo doo 5 yrs from now like a HO just threw some rock up and called it a day if ya know what i mean? Definately got the common sense to make it work out, but before i venture into uncharted territory i research until my eye's bleed so i'm armed with everything possible to try and do it right, so any help on this method would be greatly appreciated!! Trucking buddy of mine still owes me some favors to having multiple tandem loades of limestone dumped would be no problem!!


As far as easement, I installed the privacey fence on the property line...actually i kept it 3 1/2" back on my side for arugement sake since all my neighbors are pizzed i put this type of fence up..though i did it for their own good to hide all my trucks/trailers/work stuff..it's an eyesore for me and coming home looking over at my place i just hated having all my stuff here...so i hid it with the fence. Side lot lines i have to be back 3' for a building and the back lot line i have to be 5'....so with my fence and the amount of earth i left i'm right at 5' off the rear property line, plus i'll have a space between the retaining wall if i go this route vs doing a poured wall to incorporate a wall for the garage too..so we're fine on easements all the way around.

Thanks thus far guys!!