Tips for rock walls

Discussion in 'Hardscaping' started by S&S Outdoor Services, Dec 28, 2009.

  1. S&S Outdoor Services

    S&S Outdoor Services LawnSite Member
    Posts: 170

    I know retaining walls and paver patios but I have no experience with rock walls. Any tips, required equipment, direction etc. would be helpful. Also a ball park price of costs compared to SRW. Thanks in advance for the help
     
  2. 2low4NH

    2low4NH LawnSite Bronze Member
    from NH
    Posts: 1,891

    dont do it! thats the best advice. i also see that you have been asking alot of wuestions about pricing on the site. Good luck with that. As far as equipment goes
    Mixer-$1200
    hammers,Chisels(carbide)-$1500
    compactor-$4000
    skidsteer-$5000-45000
    excavation contractor-$45-200/hour
    1 ton truck (dump) $4500-65000
    hand tools trowels shovels picks jointers-4000
    thats a rough strat up cost for doing both dry laid or wet walls. it will take about 5 years of building walls before you make any profit on your equipment unless you do alot of walls.
    Just an FYI im the 4th generation of a family Masonry comapny we specialize in stone. I could tell you how much we charge per sqft but you will never get anywhere near that price until you have atleast 5 years under your belt.
    Stone work is a special animal. you can build what looks like a nice wall and have it fall apart in a week or you can have skills and build a beautiful wall that will last a lifetime.
     
  3. S&S Outdoor Services

    S&S Outdoor Services LawnSite Member
    Posts: 170

    I was actually talking more about Boulder Walls or whatever you want to call them. Not the concrete walls you're talking about. And I've been in the business for a couple years so we have a good amount of that equipment already. Thanks for the reply
     
  4. 2low4NH

    2low4NH LawnSite Bronze Member
    from NH
    Posts: 1,891

    im talking walls in general. be it a retaining wall a dry laid wall a farmers wall. they are all the same. the "mud" is just to help secure the stones and also one of the easiest walls to build. pretty easy to spend alot of money on tools you will never use. my chisels were 1400 for a set of 4 chisels. i have a hammer that cost 200 never mind my block hammer 2lb hammer and a sledge. trust me if you have never built stone walls stick with block walls they are much more user friendly
     
  5. S&S Outdoor Services

    S&S Outdoor Services LawnSite Member
    Posts: 170

    Fair enough, I'll leave them to the other guys for now then.
     
  6. 4Russl5

    4Russl5 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 160

    I think if you have an interest in stone and it is a service you want to offer your customers, go for it. The boulder type walls are called 'rockeries' here in the NorthWest.
    Retaining walls are structural. Rockeries sell for about $30- a square foot in Seattle area which is competitive. Dry stone retaining walls sell for more depending on stone/style/site/economy/etc... I build dry stone retaining walls which are a totally different beast. There can be good money for this service for you. Choose your first project with the reality of being able to build what your client wants, building it well, being profitable, and being able to warranty it. You can get your mind around this if you want to.

    Your tools will vary depending on what type of system you build for the client. Rent what you don't own. SRW is the cheapest, fastest, and quickest structural ugly beast you can throw up for a client. We only do natural stone. Myself and my lead are certified Dry Stone Masons through the Dry Stone Conservancy in Kentucky. You will spend a lifetime, or 4, learning how to have a successful relationship with stone.

    Read some books and don't give up so quick.
     
  7. stuvecorp

    stuvecorp LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,213

    You are talking about Boulderscaping? The ideal thing is a mini x with a totem grapple. I would think you could talk to someone like Hedberg for tips. As for price and construction it depends on soils and height. I personally would rather build with Versa-Lok than do a big boulder wall.
     
  8. 2low4NH

    2low4NH LawnSite Bronze Member
    from NH
    Posts: 1,891

    im not telling the guy to give up. i just dont wanna see him ruin his biz trying to build a stone wall and not know what he is doing. we have done many "repair" jobs fixin others work. stone work is very intricate work and back breaking. not everyone can do it. it takes talent to look at a huge pile of stone and see the face of a stone and say hey that will fit great right here! there are many tricks to learn alot is practice. build a couple walls for yourself before you think about taking it to a customer.
     
  9. 4Russl5

    4Russl5 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 160

    Are you just kicking the idea around of getting into this as a service, or do you have a job to bid on? What type of retaining walls do you know?

    As 2low says, this is a skilled trade that ain't for the faint of heart. Example... to pass my basic exam as a dry stone mason I had to take down and rebuild 7 linear feet of dry stone fence 4' tall with new foundation and through stones in 8 hours. That is 1 1/2 tons per 3 linear feet by 4 feet tall or roughly 3 tons of stone. Cost wise people charge around $100 per lineal foot by 4' high in Kentucky for restoration work. All you need tool wise is a few hammers and carbide chisels. Trow & Holden can help you here.
     
  10. 2low4NH

    2low4NH LawnSite Bronze Member
    from NH
    Posts: 1,891

    trow and holden are very nice 4russ
     

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