Question - Wall Install

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by MDScpr, Jul 7, 2004.

  1. MDScpr

    MDScpr LawnSite Member
    Posts: 52

    Hopefully this will come out right...

    Looking to install a small wall at my dad's house, basically for practice. Question has to do with prep.

    The house is a walkout, so naturally the grade from the front of the house to the back of the house drops - probably about 4ft or so. The house is 40ft wide with a chimney in the center of the wall. The idea is to install a small wall from the right side of the chimney to the back corner of the house. Question is, do I start at the back corner of the house, the lowest point, and cut level to the chimney to start the first course of block? This would cause a few courses (or at least half of them) to be buried. Is this an effective way to go about this venture?
     
  2. landscapingpoolguy

    landscapingpoolguy LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 819

    pictures would really help on this one

    Chuck
     
  3. blafleur

    blafleur LawnSite Member
    Posts: 229

    You do not need more than one course buried, and depending on the height and type of block, you may not even need a whole course buried. You do need to bury at least part of the first course. Just follow the manufactorers suggestions.

    You have frost heave to contend with, here I just dig a trench twice a deep as my block height and fill with crushed compacted gravel to approximately the starting level. I then start the first course at the lowest point, and level in all directions. I continue with this course until the point where a whole block would be buried, then I step up a course. Not sure if I am painting a clear picture, but Im sure someone here can explain it better than me.

    Bryan
     
  4. Rex Mann

    Rex Mann LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 621

    You could do it like that. But, you'll waste a lot of material in doing so. You can do what we call stepping the wall.

    First off, rule-of-thumb on how much wall to bury, is 10% of total wall height. 24 inches tall, bury 2.5 inches of wall.

    Next stepping. You take the thickness of you base course of block, say 3 1/2-inches thick. wherever the grade drops or rises 3 1/2-inches or somewhere close to that you'll have a step. Each step down will need to be excavated the same as the higher level plus the thickness of the block. The next step will need to be excavated the previous depth plus the wall units thickness. Each step should have a solid overlapping block splitting the joint.

    Starting at the lowest point is the best way for beginners working with stepping walls down. Here are a few pics of step-downs in a wall.

    The stakes represent every step-down. In this picture the base course is 3 1/3 -inches thick. Every time the elevation drops 3 1/2-inches we have a step.

    Peace,

    Rex Mann

    ARIZONAPAVERS.COM

    rw7-08-04.jpg
     
  5. Rex Mann

    Rex Mann LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 621

    This picture show the base course very close to one of the steps.

    Peace,

    Rex Mann

    PAVERSINSTALLED.COM

    rw7-08-04-2.jpg
     
  6. MDScpr

    MDScpr LawnSite Member
    Posts: 52

    Thanks REX - hopefully I can get some pics to clear it up a little.
     
  7. Stihl036pro

    Stihl036pro LawnSite Member
    Posts: 232

    MDS, Do you see the step in the picture above. Its about half way in the middle of the wall. Its easy once you get the hang of it.
     
  8. bottlefed89

    bottlefed89 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 243

    rex, what are you using as a final base over your gravel??
     
  9. Rex Mann

    Rex Mann LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 621

    We mix 5-parts concrete sand with 1-part portland cement. No water is added. We call this, "dry-mix". then we screed it out just like sand for pavers. Gives us a nice level pad to set on. Also, speeds up the leveling of each block front-to-back and side-to-side. Then we lightly wet it after the base course is installed.
    And, we have never had a wall fail:)

    Peace,

    Rex

    PAVERSINSTALLED.COM
     
  10. bottlefed89

    bottlefed89 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 243

    so you wet it with just the base layer in place?? Then do you give it some time to set up before moving on?? thanks for the advice.
    greg
     

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