Crumbling retaining wall - pictures inside.

Discussion in 'Hardscaping' started by Y2K, Apr 22, 2009.

  1. Y2K

    Y2K LawnSite Member
    Posts: 16

    Hello everyone. Found this forum today and have been reading non-stop and learning. Gotta admit, I am not a professional, just a homeowner with a big retaining wall problem. Before I hire a pro I wanted to educate myself a little and understand my options. I am in MA and we purchased a house in 2003. The lot is sloping from front to back. So a large retaining wall was built to level the concrete patio and put a pool in. It was done in early 1980s. I suspect the drainage was not done correctly and concrete blocks used were poor quality plus time has taken it's toll so the wall has been slowly crumbling and it is getting worse after each winter. The wall is 80' long and 5' tall. It is about 15' long on each side. Below are some pictures so you can see it from all sides as well as specific problems with the blocks.

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    So what are my options?

    1. Take the old blocks out and rebuild it? This is a huge job and would require a very heavy equipment.

    2. Build a new wall around it with appropriate drainage and fill the cracks with gravel or something?

    3. Any other options?

    Thanks for any advice.
     
  2. amscapes03

    amscapes03 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 398

    First off - Yikes!!! Curious about a few things: 1. Septic or sewer? 2. What is the access to the back yard like? 3. How far back is your property line from the retaining wall? 4. You mentioned that the patio is cement. Is the patio/deck around the pool cement or pavers? A picture or two looking down at the pool/wall from your wood deck would help too.
     
  3. Y2K

    Y2K LawnSite Member
    Posts: 16

    Yup, yikes sums it up pretty good :)

    1. Town sewer.
    2. Access is easy from either side of the house.
    3. Property line is pretty far - 60' or so.
    4. It's pored concrete I believe which is separated in a few places by joints (and some cracks now as well). You can sort of see the layer they pored on top of the wall.

    It's dark out now, but I will take a picture from the top tomorrow.

    Thanks!
     
  4. amscapes03

    amscapes03 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 398

    Is the pool gunite, or a fiberglass shell? Whats the appox. distance from the pools edge to the inside of the retaining wall? Sorry, I know your looking for answers and all i'm doing is asking questions. I will help with answers, as i know a lot of other qualified/experienced members here will as well. Considering the height and length of the wall, and what it's actually retaining, I would strongly recommend having an engineer come out and take a look first.
     
  5. Y2K

    Y2K LawnSite Member
    Posts: 16

    Actually, I want to THANK YOU for asking questions. This speaks a lot of your professional experience meaning that you would need to get all the facts first before recommending best advice or solution. I will be happy to answer all of them.

    The pool is gunite. The distance from the pool to the retaining wall is about 15' I would say from the closest edge but since it is kidney shaped that distance varies. I actually found some pictures from the top in my archives. It is not full top view (I will take and post that tomorrow) but it should give a better idea.

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    The pool is now winterized so it's hard to see the edge.
     
  6. Danscapes

    Danscapes LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 331

    Holy sheep **** batman!! First of thats not a retaining wall that is just concrete block stacked up,lol. And you better get your wallet out for this one.

    Here's how it should be fixed:
    1)Drain pool completely
    2)Remove half assed wall and patio
    3)Excavate back to the pool
    4)Rebuild the wall with interlocking units
    5)Make sure you use geogrid
    6)Also ad proper drainage behind wall
    7)Pour a new patio or lay pavers
    $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$
     
  7. Danscapes

    Danscapes LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 331

    I have a picture on my website of how a retaining wall around a pool should be done
     
  8. amscapes03

    amscapes03 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 398

    An engineer would be the one to make the call to either completely demo and rebuild new, or build a new wall encapsulating the old. The latter would obviously favor the budget.
     
  9. Y2K

    Y2K LawnSite Member
    Posts: 16

    Heh, yea, I think if it would be built from LEGOs it would hold better :)

    So I had a mason look at it last year and his opinion was that with proper drainage, it is possible to build an interlocking blocks wall around the current one and fill the gaps. Also, the patio would need to be paved as you said. Now, I had to put the project on hold last year so I did not get any other opinions on this; hence, I am here. Obviously I am not made of money (especially with current economy) so if the above option is doable I would prefer that route. However, if this would be a short-term solution then I would definitely stay away from it.
     
  10. Y2K

    Y2K LawnSite Member
    Posts: 16

    Thank you both. So I take it my first step would be to find an engineer to take a look.
     

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