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dutchacres
10-27-2012, 05:09 PM
Thank you to all you guys that helped me on my pricing for the wall project I was bidding. I had a meeting with the couple this morning and they signed on. The choose to go with Versa Loc non weathered. I really was trying to get them to go with the weathered look but they liked the clean lines of the traditional block better I guess. I will be starting the job a week from Monday since I will need to have it marked and get all the supplies in. I am so excited and this is a blessing that I wasn't expecting. When I get time I will post some pics of the before. If you didn't read my post before the wall will be 90' long and about 50' of it will be 6' tall with the remainder running out to 1'. They have already recommended me to someone else. And they told me today that it will take them 3-5 years to get the landscaping up to there standards. They are wanting some more walls and pavers done next. This is going to be a good account!! Thank you guys again for your help!
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Gilmore.Landscaping
10-27-2012, 05:21 PM
That's a big project to build your first wall on, I hope you have some good drawings/specs to follow. Lots of liability when you start building walls...

dutchacres
10-28-2012, 11:13 PM
Oh it is far from my first wall. I have built several walls and this one is going to be fun. It is not even close to being the biggest by length or height. I am actually certified in SRW install as well. It has been a few years since I have done any hardscapes but I am sure the rust will knock off quickly once I get started!
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DVS Hardscaper
10-29-2012, 12:33 AM
50 linear feet at 6-feet high.

"marking". "order supplies".

Curious as to why no mention of *engineering*?

jbailey52
10-29-2012, 11:55 AM
50 linear feet at 6-feet high.

"marking". "order supplies".

Curious as to why no mention of *engineering*?

Didnt you see the part where he mentioned he has done this before?! And much longer and higher, too!

DVS Hardscaper
10-29-2012, 12:33 PM
Didnt you see the part where he mentioned he has done this before?! And much longer and higher, too!

LOL - what did I just write about that last week!?!
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KeystoneLawn&Landscaping
10-31-2012, 06:38 PM
50 linear feet at 6-feet high.

"marking". "order supplies".

Curious as to why no mention of *engineering*?

I was wondering the same!

jbell36
10-31-2012, 07:53 PM
keep it up guys, tearing the guy down again when he comes to say thank you...

DVS Hardscaper
10-31-2012, 08:40 PM
keep it up guys, tearing the guy down again when he comes to say thank you...

Call it as you wish.

I am NOT "tearing the guy down".

Retaining walls are NOT to be taken lightly. They're expensive to build. And even more expensive for the client to rebuild.

This forum is intended as an industry professional meeting place. I'm obligated to steer folks in the direction of doing things professionally. A 6-foot high wall typically needs engineered. 6-feet is a hefty height. There's a good amount of weight bearing down on that 6-feet.

I recently priced a job. Included obtaining a county permit. And doing everything by the book. The home owner, a female attorney in the DC area said to me "we're gonna look for a better price, why are you so expensive?" I replied "we're
Doing everything to industry standards, we're even pulling a permit, most contractors will try to skirt around the permit". She replied "well how much is the permit?" LOL She, Ms Attorney, could not realize the difference between a professional contractor verses a Craigslist contractor. Go ahead, find your better price, I don't like people like you.

I'm happy for the topic creator, I really am. But I want him to be aware for his future jobs that he needs to utilize the services of an engineer when his walls are at 4-feet and above. It's to his benefit.

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italianstallion69
10-31-2012, 10:32 PM
what goods an engineering plan without geotech report?

face it residential walls dont have an extra 5 grand of margin for 2 engineers.

why i dont do residential.

good luck on wall man! throw 3 layers of 3.0 geogrid 6' back.... its a start.

italianstallion69
10-31-2012, 10:33 PM
pS 90' long i would go with a lean concrete footer. personally.

dutchacres
10-31-2012, 11:39 PM
Well I am not real sure what to say. I am not opposed to a engineer but in this neck of the woods you would go hungry if you tried to charge those kinds of rates you would need to cover that cost. Just some info on the wall I am installing and maybe this might be good or bad for me on here but it is what it is. I am using Versa Lok block and using geo grid at 3' and at 5' per specs running 6' behind the wall. I am using 12" of compaction packing every 3". I am installing a 4" drain behind wall covered in washed stone with a barrier between stone and dirt to keep dirt from leaching into stone. The first course will be below grade. When back filling I will compact dirt on geo grid so it will not move or settle. All this is done per specs according to my certification. This may not be what you guys do but this is what I have done on every wall that exceeded 3'. All the walls look as good today as the day I got done installing them. I'm not saying I am the best or that I am a expert by any means but I do feel I have educated myself well enough to know what I am doing. Sure there are more experienced guys out there but they were where I am at at some point in there career also. If you want to bash me then go ahead. I am always open to honest help. Everyone has there way of doing things and I am no different.
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dutchacres
10-31-2012, 11:45 PM
Just remember that there is always someone better than you and if you dish it out you better be able to take it if down the road someone says you need to do something different. I'm not looking for guys on here that have little man disease. I have been open and honest about my abilities and what I am doing. Maybe I can do something different and maybe you know something that will help me next time. If so that is fine but don't come on here and bash me and act all big and bad because you think yours don't stink. We all wake up and put our pants on the same way. The higher you put yourself up the harder the fall.
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italianstallion69
10-31-2012, 11:47 PM
you need geogrid on the first layer above grade. + the layers your propose.

you should go with 2 full blocks of embedment. 6" embedment isnt great on 72" height. 12" is stellar.

i would use 3.0/300 grid. but then 150 is biaxial and faster.

you cant charge a homeowner 5 grand for engineering, they would never go for it. commercial jobs only do it due to liability, even then sometimes they test for compaction sometimes they dont...

PaperCutter
11-01-2012, 11:05 AM
If you're paying $5k to engineer a wall, you need to shop around. I designed a garage that needed an engineer to design and stamp the structural slab, back wall (the slab was 8' above grade in the back), and hurricane tie downs, because I couldn't fit shear panels between the doors. All that plus having the engineering firm do private inspections they certified with the county - $3300.

DVS Hardscaper
11-01-2012, 11:11 AM
what goods an engineering plan without geotech report?

face it residential walls dont have an extra 5 grand of margin for 2 engineers.

why i dont do residential.

good luck on wall man! throw 3 layers of 3.0 geogrid 6' back.... its a start.

Not sure where you got the 5 grand from?

I pay an engineer $800 to $1200 for the whole sha-bang. Soil testing. And wall design. Have never paid more. But I realize it may be slightly higher for others. but not 5 grand. Most wall designs are copy and paste. Some deeper base courses, some longer and more frequent grid.

This guy needs help, lets try to keep what we type accurate.


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DVS Hardscaper
11-01-2012, 11:28 AM
Just remember that there is always someone better than you and if you dish it out you better be able to take it if down the road someone says you need to do something different. I'm not looking for guys on here that have little man disease. I have been open and honest about my abilities and what I am doing. Maybe I can do something different and maybe you know something that will help me next time. If so that is fine but don't come on here and bash me and act all big and bad because you think yours don't stink. We all wake up and put our pants on the same way. The higher you put yourself up the harder the fall.
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I'm not sure who you're directing that to. I presume italianstallion?

Walls "fall" too :)

Can you build a wall without grid? Sure can.

Should you build a wall without grid? From a professional business and from a liability standpoint - NO. If someone is paying you to do the job they are trusting that you are competent. They expect this work to still be standing 13+ yrs from now. In 9 years the people dont wanna be contending with health problems and then have a wall that needs torn down and rebuilt.

I saw a couple weeks ago where you were looking for help pricing. I was quite busy then and didnt really look at the replies people were giving you. Had I not been busy and had I sat down and read the replies - I would have pointed out
that said wall must be engineered. I wont participate in telling you what the pricing numbers will be. I am against that, and it drives me up the wall when other members tell people what their price would be. You can't learn that way. But I usually go to extremes to assist folks in what to account for and why. Right down to factoring in the cost of the porta pot rental.

The liability with retaining walls will carrry through with you as long as you live (if you're a sole propertiership), or as long as you're in business (if you're a corporation - Inc, LLC).

I have written on this forum extensively about retaining wall construction and liability, if you have time feel free to do a search under my user name and you should find all sorts of posts and threads from me on the subject.

Itallion stallion mentioned burying 2 courses of base block. May not be a bad idea. Of all the walls we have done - we have only buried two courses on extremely steep slopes. But since you're not using an engineer it may be wise to bury two courses, this wal that wall won't slide down the slope. Is the wall on a slope or at the bottom of a slope?




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alexschultz1
11-01-2012, 11:39 AM
Just remember that there is always someone better than you and if you dish it out you better be able to take it if down the road someone says you need to do something different. I'm not looking for guys on here that have little man disease. I have been open and honest about my abilities and what I am doing. Maybe I can do something different and maybe you know something that will help me next time. If so that is fine but don't come on here and bash me and act all big and bad because you think yours don't stink. We all wake up and put our pants on the same way. The higher you put yourself up the harder the fall.
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The degrading comments are from people who have already made the mistakes. I was in your shoes 3 years ago, all excited about a huge install i landed. DVS came on and ripped me a new one saying blah blah blah your going to screw up blah blah blah, and it pissed me off! well my hard head didnt listen to his advice. 6 weeks later and -$2000 in my bank account i realized he was right.

That being said... I think we are off topic and the bashing needs to change into something helpful. Every day take pictures and post them, ask questions, and when you finish, if everything was done perfect, you can tell us to SHOVE IT. Congratulations on the job btw :dancing:

DVS Hardscaper
11-01-2012, 12:03 PM
The degrading comments are from people who have already made the mistakes. I was in your shoes 3 years ago, all excited about a huge install i landed. DVS came on and ripped me a new one saying blah blah blah your going to screw up blah blah blah, and it pissed me off! well my hard head didnt listen to his advice. 6 weeks later and -$2000 in my bank account i realized he was right.

That being said... I think we are off topic and the bashing needs to change into something helpful. Every day take pictures and post them, ask questions, and when you finish, if everything was done perfect, you can tell us to SHOVE IT. Congratulations on the job btw :dancing:


Yup! very fast it can cost you money! Believe me - I KNOW! We have a portion of a job that we did in 2010 that we're about to go back and rebuild. It's gonna cost me AT LEAST $2000.00, probably closer to $3k. You can lose money during the construction of the job or you can lose money long after the job was initially executed. It happens. And it will happen.

And yup! I come on very strong. I want my words to be in the back of people's minds the entire time they are doing the job. I want them to be determined to prove me wrong. But most folks think I'm just some lonely, miserable, internet troll - LOL




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dutchacres
11-02-2012, 12:22 AM
The ground is pretty level where the wall is going acrossed it. The slope is running up the driveway which the wall being just ending the farther up I go. I don't know if I am explaining it well enough for you guys to understand. I have some before pics and will post them tomorrow when I get on the computer. I know you guys seem to think I don't have much experience with walls but that really isn't the case. The first wall I built was 8-9 years ago at a holiday inn and it was 300' long but on 4' tall. I have built walls from 3' and 50' long at the bottom of a hill two walls I built around fire hydrants that were on a mound and they wanted the ground level around the hydrant so I cut the hill back built walls around and sloped the hill back to normal. There has been jobs where I built walls for walk in basements that the walls were at least 8' tall. I am far from a rookie at this hardscape stuff and the main reason for posting was because I had not built any for awhile and I just wanted to kind of see what the going rate was. I know everyone's rates are different depending on the area, overhead and block type but why should I charge $35 sq ft when I could get $40-45 sq ft and make more money. I do thank all you guys for the help and I don't mean to come off as a jerk or know it all. I am always looking for better ways of doing things and believe no matter how long I am doing things I will never know it all. The reason I am building the wall the way I am is for two reasons 1 is that when the salesman came out to look at the job he stated that I needed to bury one course. The ground behind the wall is level and the ground below is level it isn't holding anything back besides dirt and a few trees. The second reason I am building the way I am is when I got certified in SRW installation I have specs that are followed depending on soil type, slope, load and all that good stuff. When I looked at all those factors that is how I made my decision on how many course to bury and where to put the geo. I will post pics as I am building and tearing down so you guys get a better idea. I'm not the best at describing things so I may have everyone confused and thinking I have no clue as to what I am doing. I am very confident that the wall will stand the test of time and will out last me. Thanks again and sorry I came off rude or inconsiderate I just know how some people can be.
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dutchacres
11-02-2012, 09:11 AM
Here is a before pic. I am having a problem getting it to load the others so I will post when I get it figured out.

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dutchacres
11-02-2012, 09:14 AM
This pic is actually where I am removing all the dirt. The new wall from this point will be 30' father back and running running back into the hill and then down to where this pic was taken. We are adding more parking space because this property does not have hardly any.

alexschultz1
11-02-2012, 07:08 PM
she's gonna blow!!! that at that thing bow...

and fudge wall huh?

italianstallion69
11-03-2012, 01:46 AM
last wall i did was just at 100g. engineering- versa loks guy was 3600. geotech guy who i did not pay but someone paid, had to be close to that amount as well.

guess it depends on your SFF but 5g seems pretty realistic.

italianstallion69
11-03-2012, 01:50 AM
personally even at 60 a SFF i cant make enough money to cover the headaches of retaining walls vs easy landscaping.

DVS Hardscaper
11-03-2012, 09:26 AM
Here is a before pic. I am having a problem getting it to load the others so I will post when I get it figured out.

259778

It you're replacing the wall in the pic - you're screwed. Definitely needs engineered no ifs or buts about it. To even consider doing wall to replace the one in the pic with no engineering is flat out incompetent. You are probably hating me right now. I'm sorry, but I can't say anything encouraging based on all I've read and based on the wall in the pic you posted.

My employees have done tons of walls. Installed a gazillion pavers. But they're not qualified to be contractors as they know nothing about WHY engineering is necessary. They know nothing about liability and Lawsuits. They dont even know anything about drafting a detailed, fair contract. You say you build all sorts of walls. So have my immigrant staff.

I would love to see your contract in its entirety for this job.

A scary job for a rookie to have going into winter. If you didn't price it right and you run out of dinero - you may not have any money after the job is complete to pay Your home heating bill.

As simon cowell Used fo say - You're not going to Hollywood :)

Pictures and threads like this have given me an idea for launching a forum geared towards beginner hardscapers. An idea that's been in my head for about a year now. I even have a simple and easy to remember domain name in my head . I just don't know if I want the head ache of moderating.

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Groomer
11-03-2012, 01:46 PM
DVS, I thought you were the moderator? lol. Maybe the thread title should have read, FIRST job.

dutchacres
11-12-2012, 09:06 PM
Here are some pics of the progress. The project is coming along on schedule and we will be laying block by Wednesday at the latest. We have about 30' for excavating work to complete tomorrow since it rained here last night and today. We will have that done by noon and be onto getting the base down. I will post more pics of the completed project which should be done this week or maybe the first of next week.
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Lite4
11-13-2012, 09:30 AM
It was a nasty, wet day yesterday here in Indiana.

alldayrj
11-13-2012, 02:46 PM
Are you dumping that stone on site too? Nice excavator
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dutchacres
11-13-2012, 06:59 PM
Yes the owner is putting stone on a hillside to stop erosion so we piled it up for him. The excavator is nice and one day I will own one since this one is a rental. It was a little big for digging the base as I couldn't maneuver it in where I need to but it was nice having that big of machine when removing all the dirt and the two stumps we had to pull out. We will be finally to the point of building the wall tomorrow. We got all the base dug out today so in the morning we will start putting the compaction material down. I am really excited to see it when we are done. It is going to be a nice looking wall and they are gaining a lot of parking space as well.
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dutchacres
12-05-2012, 10:35 AM
Here are the pics of the job completed. It turned out awesome! I am happy with it and more importantly the customer is extremely happy! I do wish I would have put a few more lights on it. I had never done lighting before so I did not know how far to space things. It is lighted up well and the lights under the caps are really sweet. I am going to go one night and take some more pics of it then. The job took us two weeks but we just finished it yesterday because we waited three weeks for our lights to come in when they were supposed to be here weeks ago.
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DVS Hardscaper
12-05-2012, 11:38 AM
Hope all is going well for you Olmond.

I'm not really sure what you want us to say. Umm....how bout "The newly completed wall looks nice"?

You had mentioned that you were going to skirt your way around having the wall engineered.

Some commentors had recommended that if you insist on skirting the engineering - then at least install grid. But as I examine the photos, I don't see any grid popping through the face of the wall. Which yes, we do trim the visible strands of grid, hopefully that's what you did.

I have an OLD buddy that is in the asphalt paving business. He told me years ago "a driveway is only as good as what's underneath it". Same can be said about retaining walls and interlocking pavements.

So, in the pictures I see a tall wall with an enormous amount of weight behind it with block that relies on grid.

Pictures are nice from time to time.

But what really matters is whether or not you used any grid. And did you install the grid correctly?

As far as I'm concerned - if there is no grid, and it wasnt installed correctly - then the photos are better suited for Facebook.

Hopefully I'm dead wrong and you can shove my words back in my face.


Also, a majority of the slope behind the wall is sloping to the wall. Water is a wall's enemy. There needs to be a swail on the slope to direct water away from and around the wall.

zedosix
12-05-2012, 04:12 PM
How about drainage pipes and outlets, don't see any. Maybe they are buried? Looks nice and level, wouldn't want to drive a tractor off the end of it though!

mrusk
12-05-2012, 04:56 PM
You know where he screwed up? The base isn't wide enough. How do I know? You can see where he did the pavement patch. He should have base 12" in front of the block and 12" behind. It looks like the asphalt patch is about 2 or 3".

wrtenterprises
12-05-2012, 06:05 PM
Good eye rusk....

dutchacres
12-05-2012, 07:15 PM
Wall has two layers of grid. One at 3' and one at 5' on everything that is over three foot tall. How ever tall the wall is is how far the grid goes back. Say the wall is 5.5 ft the grid went back 5.5 ft. The base is 14" of compacted material which it was only speced for 12". I am not asking for any advise or anything I just figured I would show a finished look since I had posted before pics. There is also a drain tile running the entire length of the wall as well as 2' of washed stone directly behind the wall to help with drainage. The grading isn't competed because we have had rain and plus there are areas that are going to settle behind the wall from digging up water lines and such. The finish grading will be done as soon as it dries up enough to complete. I do not really know why I even bothered posting as all you guys can do is bash people's work. I built the wall to spec and if anything a little better than spec. You guys can pick it apart all you want and the pics are a little deceiving as to size and distances as well but I know I built a top notch wall and I know I built it to last a lifetime. I have not one concern of anything going wrong with this wall.
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DVS Hardscaper
12-05-2012, 07:37 PM
Wall has two layers of grid. One at 3' and one at 5' on everything that is over three foot tall. How ever tall the wall is is how far the grid goes back. Say the wall is 5.5 ft the grid went back 5.5 ft. The base is 14" of compacted material which it was only speced for 12". I am not asking for any advise or anything I just figured I would show a finished look since I had posted before pics. There is also a drain tile running the entire length of the wall as well as 2' of washed stone directly behind the wall to help with drainage. The grading isn't competed because we have had rain and plus there are areas that are going to settle behind the wall from digging up water lines and such. The finish grading will be done as soon as it dries up enough to complete. I do not really know why I even bothered posting as all you guys can do is bash people's work. I built the wall to spec and if anything a little better than spec. You guys can pick it apart all you want and the pics are a little deceiving as to size and distances as well but I know I built a top notch wall and I know I built it to last a lifetime. I have not one concern of anything going wrong with this wall.
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Look brother I'm only responding to what you have written. So you got us before pics. And after. But no during? I don't believe you used grid.

You didn't "Build the wall to spec" as you claim. Whos "spec"? the man on the moon? Because I have NEVER seen grid speced to be used at THREE FEET HIGH!! For a wall with that surcharge there is normally grid utilized at the base course. And then at two feet. So in other words when the wall is 2' high it should have 2 layers if grid in the ground. And another at 4'. And probably another at 5'4. Four layers total.

And Rusk-a-Roni wasn't talking about the thickness of the aggregate base. He was referring to the width. The footings for such walls are typically 2' wide with the block placed in the center.

This is a Hardscape forum. We all build walls day in and day out. We see them in our sleep. You posted pics because this is your first wall you did on your own and you're proud of it :)
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zedosix
12-05-2012, 07:38 PM
I think most of us who were commenting weren't bashing we were hoping you would answer our questions and you did. So good job! Thats all. Except maybe for the overdig part. :)

alldayrj
12-05-2012, 09:10 PM
Well i think it looks good. The details of engineering are best left to the wall gurus above. I've only done 3 that were small enough to not need engineering and I happen to still enjoy pics.
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jbailey52
12-05-2012, 10:17 PM
There has to be tons of mid construction shots. Let's see them.