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  1. #1
    Gold Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Posts
    249
    Location
    Indiana
    Tractor
    GC2310

    Default Building a Retaining wall

    I'm planning on constructing some retaining walls on my property. Some of these retaining walls will be 4' in height. I have lots of limestone that I plan on facing these walls with. For the construction of the wall I'm trying to define which direction I should go. I have lots of stone and sand on site and I could potentially by a cheap cement mixer (Lowes $199) and make up my own cement and pour within forms or I could install cinder block and fill. Which would you think would be the lesser expense and lesser labor involved? Either way I still may end up getting a mixer. With block I still need a footer and still need to fill the block but less concrete would be involved.

  2. #2
    Elite Member AlanB's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    2,532
    Location
    Clarksville, TN, USA
    Tractor
    NH 1925

    Default Re: Building a Retaining wall

    I have two concrete mixers at my house.

    If you are doing more than a yard or two of concrete, there are better ways then mixing it yourself, depending on the amount the buggy's or short trucks are cheaper after you buy the Cement.

    Is the limestone in sufficient size to just stack with a good angle and build up that way like a castlewall?

    As a general statement, when you go past 3' with retaining walls you need to think an engineer a bit more, start doing tiebacks, etc. in there.

    Allen Block makes a nice larger block to do those with and the engineering is done for you.

  3. #3
    Gold Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Posts
    487
    Location
    Ohio
    Tractor
    JD 5425 & 4300, Yanmar 1500

    Default Re: Building a Retaining wall

    I agree about the engineering needed. I just finished tearing out a sandstone wall (3 tier) that I placed about 2 years ago...it started to slide! I replaced with Alan Block "Europa." The sytem worked great but is detail/labor intensive. But still nowhere near as hard as laying variable sized sandstone/barnstone. For wall over about 3 feet the system uses a geogrid to tie in to the soil behind. You need to dig out about 4 feet behind the wall to compact with this geogrid. It seems to use more stone than the system calculates. I have now placed about 30 pallets of this stuff. They have 4 block sizes in two patterns that makes nice looking wall. I guess you could use a similar geogrid between normal sandstone to help it hold better.

    If you have facing stone I would put up block and core-fill. But keep in mind that some of the "pre-engineered" systems like Alan block can hold back better and drain better than poured or block concrete. If you don't need a lot of strength (3 feet with no surcharge) could you just core fill every fourth hole or so and drop rebar? That would save a lot of concrete. If I recall it takes just less than 4 block (8x8x16) for one cubic foot of fill concrete or insulation. I don't know if this helped but I just wanted to share my experiences.

    Peter

  4. #4
    Elite Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Posts
    3,238

    Default Re: Building a Retaining wall

    Trapped water will topple a retaining wall. People put up concrete block walls on a concrete footer, and you see them leaning 15-20 years later. They are supposed to be anchored into the hillside with adequate drainage. Doing it right involves a lot of materials and work.

  5. #5
    Veteran Member Gizmo2's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Posts
    1,918
    Location
    New York
    Tractor
    JD 2320

    Default Re: Building a Retaining wall

    Rule of thumb, Retaining wall base should be 1/3 the wall height and taper up.
    I would buy the retaining wall blocks.
    -finished_02-jpg
    JD 2320, 200CX FEL/61" bucket , 46 BH/16" bucket, FEL Forks, 72" Snow Blade, Landscape Rake, Ballast Box, PHD, The Wife

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