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  1. #11
    Veteran Member Gizmo2's Avatar
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    Jul 2006
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    1,918
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    New York
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    JD 2320

    Default Re: Retaining Walls

    charliepff,
    Anchor Block, Diamond Straight Face. Suckers weight about 70lbs each.
    Bought them from Oneonta Block. Our wall just happens to be on their brochure, Page 8. Pretty cool huh!
    We sent pictures of our wall, almost complete, to Anchor requesting hats and other free stuff and the next thing we know our wall ended up on one of their brochures. We received a box of free stuff.
    http://www.oneontablock.com/PDFS/rwbbrochure.pdf
    JD 2320, 200CX FEL/61" bucket , 46 BH/16" bucket, FEL Forks, 72" Snow Blade, Landscape Rake, Ballast Box, PHD, The Wife

  2. #12
    Super Member
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    Apr 2000
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    8,259
    Location
    Shingle Springs California
    Tractor
    New Holland TC40D

    Default Re: Retaining Walls

    Too industrial looking! I have set these type block, and they are less expensive than many others. But, there are many varieties of blocks that look better in a home setting.

    Keystone "Country Manor" is on I like. There are a lot of other varieties. Because of cost of shipping, some block styles are regional...

    RCP Block & Brick - Products: Keystone Country Manor Retaining Wall
    Anchor Colorado Stone, Anchor Highland Stone FSW, Rumbled Wall Square Countryside, Flagstone, Anchor Hampton Anchor Highland | Silverado Building Materials

    I like this block because it is easy to install, can make a vertical wall. It comes in a couple shade variations. It is nice to mix in another complementing shade to give the wall texture. The pinned system also allows you to set a block in or out an inch or so; mix this in the wall, and it has a more natural, textured look.

    Anchor and Keystone make dry stacked and pinned systems.

    Quote Originally Posted by Willl View Post
    How do you feel about those larger prefab retaining wall blocks ?

    (pic stole from web)
    RobertN in Shingle Springs Calif

  3. #13
    Super Member
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    Apr 2000
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    8,259
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    Shingle Springs California
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    New Holland TC40D

    Default Re: Retaining Walls

    Others have mentioned... Here in Kalifornia especially, anything over 3' tall typically has to be engineered, permit ect.

    The block you will find at Home Depot, Lowes, is made for 3'. Cause you dont need to engineer it...

    If you can make a terrace in the area above3', so you have two shorter walls, it wold save you the permit/engineering headache. Although in the Bay Area, local reg's may require a permit.

    Quote Originally Posted by ultrarunner View Post
    Seems to be several options for long lasting retaining walls...

    Stacked Blocks, Poured Concrete with re-bar and Filled Concrete Block with re-bar.

    The wall heights I'm considering vary from 3 to 4.5 feet.

    Comments appreciated...
    RobertN in Shingle Springs Calif

  4. #14
    Elite Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
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    3,247
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    Trivoli, IL
    Tractor
    SSTT (Sideways Snake Tain Tractor) and STB (sideways train box) tractor, dirt harvester

    Default Re: Retaining Walls

    if DIY, concrete block walls, or other form of block is way to go. that or Tie walls. tie = 6" x 4".

    poured concrete walls = more likely better off contracting work out. or less you can count on some good friends with muscles to back them.

    =================

    personal preference is going with tie walls. by the time they need to be replaced 25 plus years from now. the wood will have rotted a good amount and the weight is much less to a point were it is much easier to handle pieces. from the old wall.

    tie walls, granted you need to put in your dead man. dead man = tie that runs perpendicular to the wall. or rather runs back into the dirt. it can help keep walls from falling over.

    tie walls for myself tend to be easier putting up. small chain saw, 2 to 3 lbs hammer, and Spikes (large nails). and 2 drill bits (1/2" or or so, depends on spikes) to pre-drill through top tie, shovels. and a tractor makes things easier moving dirt and stuff. and a good 4 foot level and a smaller level.

    getting that initial starter row, and a little re-work for second row. is a must. and what takes the longest. after that. for most part it is just pulling the ties down to were they need to go. make a cut if need be, drill through top tie, place spike in, and hammer it down and move on. exception for the dead man, they take a little extra work having to dig back into the hill. if you have a backhoe with a small bucket on it. that makes things quick work.

    ============

    for concrete block walls, the footer can be a pain. getting rebar and poured concrete in. and then getting all the blocks nice and level on the first row.

    for a novice i might say, get your footer poured first and get it nice and level. and then come back and just place blocks down for first row to get them were you want them. then remove blocks as needed. and use a masonry bit (concrete bit) with a hammer drill to put your rebar in. it is not perfect but. trying to align vertical rebar in footer before pouring the concrete for footer and getting them just right for holes in concrete block can be a pain in the rear.

    concrete mixer is almost required, or less you are in really good shape. personally prefer a 2 bagger (concrete mixer able to handle 2 80lbs bags) prefer a mixer that stands up off the ground and dumps into a wheel barrow.
    any bigger and not worth it, at least to me, or less it was my day job. any smaller and it makes it a pain to deal with. or less putting a little concrete edger around a flower bed.

    pending on length and height of walls. you may need additional horizontal rebar every so many courses. concrete block walls can get complicated. but they are fairly easy to put together. once ya figure out were to place rebar.

    another thing is making a "small wooden shout" for dumping concrete from wheel barrow into the concrete block holes. just some plywood or better yet 1x6 or like lumber. to form a mini slide. (like a kids swing set slide but shorter in length) or you might think of it as a funnel, that just fits over top of the block. and gives you a wider area to dump concrete from wheel barrow into the block holes.

    if you never mixed concrete before. getting the right consistancy of concrete mix and water (most likely ready mix and just add water) takes awhile but once figured out. it pretty easy going.
    Ryan

  5. #15
    Super Star Member
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    SF Bay Area-Ca Olympia WA Salzburg Austria
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    Cat D3, Deere 110 TLB, Kubota BX23 and L3800 Craftsman Mower, Deere 350C Dozer

    Default Re: Retaining Walls

    Sounds like the voice of experience...

    I've got about 25 used ties that were given to me... not sure if I have enough good ones for the project.

    Also have an ancient mixer... it is a little on the low side so I put it on blocks... It must be really old because the belt pulley also has a crank to turn it by hand... I guess if power is not available.

    Still in the formative stages... priced some block and the ones I like seem expensive and delivery on top of that...

    I've been working on one wall for the past 7 years... it is entirely made up of rocks I find on the property... just about out of rocks and the wall is only 2/3 finished... was supposed to be a corral someday.

  6. #16
    Platinum Member Army grunt's Avatar
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    Dec 2009
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    Georga
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    TC 30 Newholland

    Default Re: Retaining Walls

    I have done more than I can recall, That said you need 2 really important things aside from the face, Its drainage,an dead men.Without both you have the makings for a wall that will fail.I built several up north where you have frost to toss into the mix.Here in the south I use stone, but up north I found pressure treated 6x6s worked great.
    Up north i used tires an crushed stone to back fill.This kept frost from grabbing the wall.
    No frost here so i use stone.
    4 ft. is easy.
    Here are a few shots of this summers project.Ill need to know more about your project sight so I can better advise you.
    Army Grunt
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Retaining Walls-img_6151-jpg   Retaining Walls-img_6154-jpg   Retaining Walls-img_6181-jpg   Retaining Walls-img_6427-jpg  
    "Be who you are, say what you will, those that matter wont mind, those that mind don't matter".

  7. #17
    Elite Member JasG's Avatar
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    Jan 2004
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    3,204
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    CNY
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    Kubota L3240

    Default Re: Retaining Walls

    When I worked for a contrcator in college we built several walls, including along several lakes. All were build out of pressure treated wood. The posts would be 6 X 6 and horizontals would be 4 X 6 stacked on edge. We would leave about a 1/2" gap at the butt seem the lengths behind the posts. The lake walls we used marine grade material and the walls are still in place today 20 years later. The key to the wood walls is lots of crushed stone in behind the wall for drainage, including the lake walls. The lake walls in was important due to it would keep ice from pushing the wall out in the winter. We also would use dead men 8-10' behind the posts and connect with high grade cable, coat the cable with foundation sealer and wrap in ice and water shield. and back fill the cable with stone to keep it as dry as possible.

    We made a couple out of block. All of these we would fill the cores with bar and concrete, coat both sides with block bond. Seal the back side and again lots of stone.

  8. #18
    Elite Member
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    Trivoli, IL
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    SSTT (Sideways Snake Tain Tractor) and STB (sideways train box) tractor, dirt harvester

    Default Re: Retaining Walls

    for me, i live fair enough away from places. it is cheaper and easier just to pay the 50 to 100 buck delivery fee. and if you ask for a fork lift or like. they can place the pallets were you want them.

    though fair warning. some will refuse to drive over a yard. (it just depends on who shows up and how they plan to unload / what they have to unload with.) most places around here all subcontract delivery out.

    if i had a trailer and truck to handle weight, of the block, or ties. it might be different story. but time i figure in gas prices and time wasted (loading / unloading 2 or 3 times to get the stuff were i want it). a few extra bucks for delievery, for me pays for itself.

    =======================

    if you want to finish out rest of your rock wall. contact local "rock quarry" or "block companies" they might be over 2 hour drive in some instances. to find similar block to what you already have. i say rock quarry or block companies over menards / lowes / home depot. because the local hardware stores are pathetic at times in what choices are available to you.
    Ryan

  9. #19
    Super Star Member
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    SF Bay Area-Ca Olympia WA Salzburg Austria
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    Default Re: Retaining Walls

    Thankfully, frost heave isn't an issue here... it would add a whole dimension of design criteria.

    Most of the places will load so that is half the battle. My little trailer can hold a pallet of red clay brick at it's limit... the big trailer can't get close enough to keep from unloading away from the job site.

    A better description of the walls intended purpose is more like a stem wall on the hill or ramp side of a Bank Barn... a barn with two levels and a ramp to access the top level and storage underneath the top...

    So the 4.5 tall wall would be 11' across with 90 degree downhill wings of about 3'... I want to say "U" shape but nothing is round.

    The "Wings" could also have short posts or even a framed cripple wall extending to the above wood beams 30" above...

    Don't have a way to snap a picture or scan a sketch at the moment.

    My thought is concrete wall 12" thick with #4 bar 12" O.C. would make a wall that would last my lifetime and would be far better than the original construction and many time better than the rotten wood that is there now.

  10. #20
    Veteran Member Gizmo2's Avatar
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    New York
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    JD 2320

    Default Re: Retaining Walls

    What's the rule of thumb, retaining wall base should be about half the wall height or something like that?
    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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