leveling SRW

Discussion in 'Hardscaping' started by Scag52inch, Nov 4, 2005.

  1. Scag52inch

    Scag52inch LawnSite Member
    Messages: 45

    What is the best way to level the base for a segmented retaining wall? Can you use level string lines like a patio? Can you use forms like concrete? Also I have read some people screed 1 inch of construction sand just like they do for pavers. Does anyone do this?

    One more question:

    once you have your base pretty level, is it better to lay say a row of 5 or 6 blocks and then level them all at the same time or is it better to level each one as you go.

    Thanks so much for any response!
  2. neversatisfiedj

    neversatisfiedj LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,028

    Both . You can use string lines or steel forms (usually used on huge comercial jobs) Just string out your area and go to work leveling each block as you go with no more than 1/2 inch of masonry sand. Hope this helps.
  3. Scag52inch

    Scag52inch LawnSite Member
    Messages: 45

    helps out a lot. I was confused after reading of doing it both ways. Just curious , when companys use steel forms do they get removed or buried??

    Also why just 1/2 inch construction sand??

    If you are using SRW blocks with a lip , do you cut the lip off for the base course or just leave it on?

    Finally , .... when leveling the base course of block front to back do you make it perfectly level or do you tilt the front up a little for the purpose of battering the wall back?

    Thanks again for any responses!!
  4. PAPS Landscape Design

    PAPS Landscape Design LawnSite Member
    from us
    Messages: 81

    use a rotating laser, forms etc will all work. We use rotating laser. My guys also use some sand as the level each block.. or screed a whole pad.

    UNISCAPER LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,426

    We use a lazer reciever on the Mini Ex to dig the trench. For smaller walls, lazer, or bubble level. for large runs, we use "Speed base' It uses a system of 3/6" wide by 3" thick strap steel set on concrete stakes, that we set with the lazer. Once set at 4' apart, we drop in the base and roll it with the pad foot roller and wait forthe engineer to run hardness tests on the base. After he gives his blessing we pull the trolley over the top self leveling the load. We use a vibra-plate for the last inch or so.

    This system will blow convention methods out of the water for time, especially if the specifications on a plan call for a larger batter on the wall. you can actually pre set that by adding a degree or so of pitch from the front to the back of the leveling pad.
  6. Electra_Glide

    Electra_Glide LawnSite Member
    Messages: 75

    Hey Uniscaper,

    Do you guys use your mini-ex for all you jobs, no matter how small, or is there some "minimum" distance where it makes more sense to hand-dig?

    I have a job starting at the end of the week, and I'm trying to decide which way to go. Only need to do about 32 linear feet of base at the foot of a very gradual slope (about 1:3). Excavation is fairly minimal. The site has very limited access (townhouse), and I have to cross a few of the neighbors "yards" to get there.

    I would have to rent a very small machine (Bobcat 316). I figure by the time I factor in getting and returning the machine to the rental yard, it almost seems like more trouble than it's worth. Especially since I will still have to do the "clean-up" work by hand.

    Any thoughts?

    Thanks in advance...

    Joe Kantz

    UNISCAPER LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,426


    One of the reasons we have fewer employees than most is because we are mechanized. Even for something as small as what you described, we would load up the machines, and use them. When you factor rental costs, time to pick up and drop off into the mix, the mechanization can go upside down.
    Do any of your rental companies deliver and drop off? Everyone out this way delivers, and drops off. One even takes your machine off rent when you call and say you are done with it.

    Now if we get into an entry tighter than 36", we would almost have to dig by hand, unless it is a big job and then we would crane the equipment over the rooftop, and use the ride on wheel barrows to move spoils and gravel.

    This state is not work comp friendly at all, so, anytime we can employ the use of a machine and lay a guy off, the better it is.
  8. Electra_Glide

    Electra_Glide LawnSite Member
    Messages: 75


    I have a decent relationship with the local Bobcat sales rep (he's after me to buy a few machines...:)). Called him yesterday, an he's going to drop off and pick up a machine for me, so that's the route I'm going to go. They're a little more expensive, but he's going to deliver it for no charge, so it kind of evens out in the wash.

  9. orionkf

    orionkf LawnSite Member
    Messages: 122

    I've noticed inconsistencies in retaining wall blocks, what do you do to accomodate that...or, what kind of blocks are you using that you don't have to worry about that? Or am I just being too picky about my base?
  10. kris

    kris LawnSite Bronze Member
    from nowhere
    Messages: 1,578

    I would not recommend using any sand at all...

    Bill, the higher the wall the larger the batter ... each block as you know has built in set back.

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