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diy_derek 04-21-2012 01:19 PM

Cap stones instead of bricks for retaining wall
Just what it sounds like...Anyone ever done this before?

A friend of mine has a skid of approx. 250 2"x12"x8" cap stones. Squared on all sides except the decorative side, which has a distressed / rough edge.

He suggested I could take the skid and use them to build up a retaining wall for flower beds in my yard. The cap stones would be free to me so I was just wondering if there are any obvious cons to using what is traditionally considered a cap stone for actually building up the retaining wall.

The way I look at it it's free stones and an easy way to get creative with a DIY job. In any case the cap stones would look better than the pitiful irregular landscaping rocks that were used to wall off the beds by the previous home owners.


Jeeps 04-21-2012 02:04 PM

If used as a retaining wall with them not having the typical "lip" hanging over on them like standard retaining wall blocks do, to lock in onto the lower course, they could need mortar or some type of masonry glue to help hold them in place....

Even then, one would have to be careful how high the wall was built and be mindful of how much pressure wet dirt puts against vertical structures on a grade. jmo

teamcampreder 04-21-2012 03:56 PM

Provided you would only be going a couple courses high (so less than a foot), I don't think that re-purposing the caps would be a bad thing. if we are talking about SRW units, the caps are made out of the same material as the blocks, just without all the nice interlocking features. Concrete adhesive is advised to attach the caps to the blocks, so I would use the same product if I were you.

diy_derek 04-21-2012 06:06 PM

Thanks for the replies

I forgot to mention this wall would be for beds that are kept against the house with a lawn that has a relatively low grade. It wouldn't be to wall off a large amount of earth or a steep slope.

I figured i'd have to glue it to keep it structurally sound, which isn't a big deal. Other than that I figured the job would be pretty much the same as putting up other retainer walls (which i've done before). Like I said I just couldn't see any obvious cons to the job.

My initial planning has me stacking up the wall about 18" because I have such a large amount of foundation showing. I'll try to throw some pics up to get an idea of what i'm trying to do and maybe everyone will get a better sense of what i'm trying to achieve.


mikelase890 10-29-2012 05:49 AM

i will prefer cap stones instead of bricks, because they are good in use and have great useability compare to bricks...
indian natural stone paving

joecaption 10-29-2012 07:52 AM

The con is where your planing to build it.
The last thing you want is to hold water right up againt a foundation.
A flower bed is like building a pond.
Take a look at the hundereds of post about wet basements and crawl spaces.
Termites need mud to build there tunnels to get into the home, why bring to them on a platter.

KevinPh 11-03-2012 12:50 PM

Since they are only 2" thick, they are more like a veneer. If you were going to have a maximum ht. of 8" or less, then I would say you should have no problem, but 18" is too high. I would use it as a veneer mortared to stacked concrete blocks or a 4" thick concrete slab with rebar.

If you are in an area subject to freeze/thaw, drainage is critical. Make sure you have a good foundation sitting on a bed of 2" loose aggregate and place at least 4-6" of aggregate behind the wall and have it sloped to a weeping hole and/or use perforated weeping tile. Make sure you bury at least 12" under the ground for an 18" high wall.

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