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Old 04-27-2012, 02:47 PM   #1
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Aggregate Under Retaining Wall

Hi All,

So I'm building my first retaining wall and I have a question regarding suitable aggregate for under the wall. I have help from a landscaper friend for the construction, but he's been unavailable the past few days and I was left to procure the materials myself, so I appeal to the masses for an answer.

Please pardon me if any of my terminology is off.

The wall is 3 feet tall and 20 feet long.

I had planned to use 3/4 inch crushed limestone for the base and 3/4 clear for the backfill. I had trouble finding the crushed and so I ordered extra clear and some limestone screenings. I've since found the crush, in a few places, but I'm planning on contruction tomorrow and getting a delivery early in the morning at this point is impossible.

Without the crush, my plan was to use either straight up 3/4 clear under the wall, or else 3/4 clear with screenings on top for easier levelling, and I wonder which option is best, or if neither is acceptable. I have a fair bit of construction labour under my belt, but this is my first time building a wall.

Unless both options are significantly bad ideas then construction must go forward tomorrow, because that's when the labourers exist.

Any and all advice is greatly appreciated.


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Old 04-27-2012, 03:02 PM   #2
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Sounds okay. Make sure you line the back part of your wall with landscape fabric to prevent dirt, etc. from running through the wall blocks.


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Old 04-27-2012, 03:34 PM   #3
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It might help if you tell us where you live (affects frost depth) and what kind of wall you are building (affects required foundation type). Also, local terminology like "clear" may mean something completely different in different parts of the country and the world than it does in your area, or may mean nothing at all. Better to describe exactly what you are thinking of purchasing, i.e. "average 3/4 inch crushed stone" has the same meaning everywhere.

So as to your questions, I would be happy to take a crack at them if you describe the type of wall you are building (concrete block, wooden railroad tie, stone, cast-in-place concrete etc.), the soil conditions at your location, the frost depth, what type of fill you plan to place behind the wall, what type of drainage you intend to install, how high the fill will be.
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Old 04-27-2012, 05:38 PM   #4
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I'm in the Toronto, Canada area.

It's a timber wall (pressure treat 6x6), with four 4 foot tie backs.

My frost line here is 4 feet I believe.

Soil is sandy.

I have weeping tile the length of the wall for drainage that will dump out into a French drain further across the yard.

I'm backfilling with the 3/4 clear as described below.

Gravel terminology is proving the tricky thing for me, that's why I didn't find what I was originally looking for.

When I say 3/4 clear I mean 3/4 inch rough stone that has been washed and is "clear" of smaller pieces.

When I say 3/4 crush I mean the same, but that has not been washed and so has lots of smaller pieces in it of varying sizes. This is also called Crusher Run around here.

Thanks, and let me know if I can offer more info.
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Old 04-27-2012, 06:02 PM   #5
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Without the fines I'm not so sure it will even compact.
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