Mini Skid vs Mini Ex for Small retaining wall

Discussion in 'Hardscaping' started by andersman02, Aug 16, 2012.

  1. andersman02

    andersman02 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 579

    Alright so after countless hours of prep and figuring specs and materials, my first retaining wall job is set for next thurs. The wall itself will only be about 50' long with two c curves at each end going into the hill, only 3' tall for the just of it

    The jobs calls for this
    -demo of existing timber wall
    - grading area to left where wall was but new wall will not cover
    - excavate back about 2'
    - dig trench 1' deep to allow 6'' compacted class 5, fabric and first level of block
    - drain tile along w/ 2 daylights
    - 18" 3/4 clear behind wall
    - we will be using umber beveled diamond block (customer likes this best, also has some of this scattered throughout the existing landscape)

    First you should know this is my girlfriends parents house and they are letting me do this as they needed it done and want me to get experiance

    We will be demoing the old wall with the skid steer and a helper with a sledge if needed, also will be excavating back 2' with the skidsteer

    My question is, we already own the skid steer but will be renting either a mini EX or a dingo for the 1' excavation for the trench. I know its only 50' long and could probly be hand dug but id like to get experiance with using machines to dig it since most projects would call for one.

    What do you guys think... Can i get a away with using a mini skid? Should i use a mini ex hands down? The one problem i see with using the mini ex other then the price is having a 3' soil wall directing to the one of the side of the trench, i think it will get in the way of digging and i will have to end up digging it at an angle with the mini ex compared to a mini skid where i can just come in from the side

    all criticism with my planning is helpfull.... let me have it!

    By the way the soil is a pretty heavy clay which is why im taking all the precautions with drain tile, 1 layer block under soil line and geo tex

    Also is there a certain type of fabric i should be using? i know not to use regular landscape fabric but what kind of weave am i looking for?

    thanks for reading my wall of text...
  2. GreenI.A.

    GreenI.A. LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,131

    Since you already have a full size skid on site I would go with the mini-ex. I'm confused about what you are asking about the trench (see bold above). I understand that you will have the 3' wall of dirt after removing the existing wall. But why will your trench be dug right up to that? If you are putting drainage and stone behind the wall then either 1) the trench should be dug a little infront of the dirt wall to make room for the drainage or 2) you should be cutting into the the dirt wall to move it back to make room for the drainage.

    Also, when we have to dig a trench close to an existing structure we dig the trench with the mini-ex at what we feel comfortable being a safe distance. We then come in and cut in the last couple of inches off the side of the trench with shovels/picks
  3. andersman02

    andersman02 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 579

    I guess i will not be right up against the wall but pretty close, figuring about 18" of drainage, im just thinking it will be very hard to dig the trench because i may not be able to get parallel with the soil because of the width of the mini ex, kinda confusing to explain
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  4. zak406

    zak406 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,516

    I see what he is saying. Since he isnt going to take the drainage back any farther he is worried he wont be able to dig a straight trench because the machine will be on an angle. One thing I have learned over the years is always over excavate. It makes things easier and more productive. When I dig my base for my walls I make sure its over excavated so all I have to do is build the base and put the block in. I dont have to mess around because my holes not big enough. If I was you I would take some of the lip back were the existing wall was. You already have a machine its not like your going to have to dig it by hand. As for digging a proper base for a wall with a skid steer, good luck... I would go with the mini. Worse come to worse you will have to get rid of a little extra dirt. Since you already have a skid it wont be hard to dispose of. Or if you could get a small back hoe you could dig parralel and swing it up over the top of the lip were the existing wall was. I think I would still go with the mini x alot more efficent and easier to operate.
  5. 4 seasons lawn&land

    4 seasons lawn&land LawnSite Gold Member
    from NY
    Messages: 3,613

    You would use the boom offset on the mini to dig like that. Much easier than any skid!
  6. alexschultz1

    alexschultz1 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,588

    the full size skid can do everything the mini skid can do. The only benefit of a mini skid is the ability to fit into tight areas and to leave a small footprint.

    For a 50' wall can you justify the cost of a mini ex? i would hire 3 people at $10 an hour for a day to dig the drainage and move all your material. A mini ex still requires a lot of work. Sure it can dig the ditch and sharpen up your edges on the wall however you still need to operate it and clean up after it.
  7. zedosix

    zedosix LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,665

    No question for this job and most every job involving retaining walls a mini ex is the way to go.

    Messages: 1,343

    We own a mini skid and i would say get that mini ex! Much better for trenching and beside the fact you already will have a full size skid on site.
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