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Old 03-14-2012, 09:45 PM   #1
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Cheapest Retaining wall


hello

II know nothing about retaining walls and I am going to be hiring people to install one for me at the very end of my property in my backyard. My property slopes down 3 or 4 free at the very end. So, I want a retaining wall and level out my backyard. That way when I hire people to install fence around my property, my fence will all be leveled.

Only thing is I don't have much money to hire people to build fancy retaining wall. Plus, I don't know anything about retaining wall to begin with. Apparently, there are many different types.

This wall is going to be 40 freet wide and probably 5 feet high. Based on that information can someone give me a realistic cost of building one and which type of retaining wall is the most cheapest. I thought wooden wall is the cheapest but apparently not. I like the blocks of cement blocks stacked on top of each other. Is that cheap? Please let me know. This is going to be my next project. I just don't want to be scamed by the contractor.

Thanks in advance,


Last edited by diy4life; 03-14-2012 at 09:47 PM.
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Old 03-14-2012, 09:55 PM   #2
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Cheapest Retaining wall


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Originally Posted by diy4life View Post
hello

II know nothing about retaining walls and I am going to be hiring people to install one for me at the very end of my property in my backyard. My property slopes down 3 or 4 free at the very end. So, I want a retaining wall and level out my backyard. That way when I hire people to install fence around my property, my fence will all be leveled.

Only thing is I don't have much money to hire people to build fancy retaining wall. Plus, I don't know anything about retaining wall to begin with. Apparently, there are many different types.

This wall is going to be 40 freet wide and probably 5 feet high. Based on that information can someone give me a realistic cost of building one and which type of retaining wall is the most cheapest. I thought wooden wall is the cheapest but apparently not. I like the blocks of cement blocks stacked on top of each other. Is that cheap? Please let me know. This is going to be my next project. I just don't want to be scamed by the contractor.

Thanks in advance,
No one is going to be able to give you a quote on this. Too many variables.

It's probably true that stacked interlocking blocks are the least expensive option but I don't know if they will work up to that height.

That also sounds like a lot of dirt...like a few hundred cubic yards. That is going to run you some dough as well.

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Old 03-14-2012, 09:58 PM   #3
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Cheapest Retaining wall


You are already setting yourself up for failure.

There are so many factors....soil condition....rainfall....etc.

Without knowing those, no one can give you an accurate answer....especially on price.

And....based on my experience....when you try to go cheap....it ends up being more expensive...

In other words...it goes like this....

You build a cheap retaining wall.
Said retaining wall fails after the first big rainfall....
With luck, no one is hurt or anything damaged.

You now build the retaining wall right....but you now have the additionall cost of removing the old 'cheap' wall and repairing any damage the failure caused.

So, at the end of the day...going cheap ends up costing you a lot more....new wall + old wall + clean up
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Old 03-15-2012, 12:18 AM   #4
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Cheapest Retaining wall


A couple other considerations:

Placing a retaining wall directly on the property line will require you to design the footing differently than for a standard retaining wall.

With a retaining wall directly on the property line, you cannot use retaining wall systems that tie back into the soil on the high side of the wall.

With a 5 foot-high retaining wall on the property line, you will be need to provide a guard rail for fall protection.

Get some design help, many of us have seen a lot of improperly constructed retaining walls that had to be demolished and rebuilt properly.
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Old 03-15-2012, 06:51 AM   #5
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Cheapest Retaining wall


2nd the opinion about "cheapest" option.

another consideration...anything 36 inches and higher is probably going to require specific permitting / engineering
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Old 03-15-2012, 07:36 AM   #6
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Cheapest Retaining wall


Build your fence a few more feet into your property and make it higher.
No wall at all = cheapest alternative of all.
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Old 03-15-2012, 07:40 AM   #7
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Cheapest Retaining wall


"How much will it cost?" Asking for price estimates here.
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Old 03-15-2012, 09:30 AM   #8
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"And....based on my experience....when you try to go cheap....it ends up being more expensive..."

agreed
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Old 03-15-2012, 10:41 PM   #9
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Build your fence a few more feet into your property and make it higher.
No wall at all = cheapest alternative of all.
True, I actually was thinking of that from the beginning, but it will make our back yard look smaller and my property does extend out.

Actually my retaining wall is only going to be 3 feet high and is more than enough to make our backyard bigger. So, that we can fully use our property.
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Old 03-15-2012, 10:54 PM   #10
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Cheapest Retaining wall


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No one is going to be able to give you a quote on this. Too many variables.

It's probably true that stacked interlocking blocks are the least expensive option but I don't know if they will work up to that height.

That also sounds like a lot of dirt...like a few hundred cubic yards. That is going to run you some dough as well.
I wasn't looking for exact dollar amount or estimation. I just need some idea of what I am getting into.

After spending many hours on this, I have made my decision. Since my retaining wall is only going to be about 3 feet high, I am going to have contractor install stackable cement blocks or stone that has interlocking feature and cement clue for more stability.

At a $1.88 a stone 40 feet wide and 4 layers. That's $320 approxmiately and for labor maybe $500. That comes to $820.00. I am not looking to spend $5,000 for a simple retaining wall. Plus, our backyard is not totally sloping hill. It is totally flat 90% and at the end it slopes down 4 to 5 feet.

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Old 03-18-2012, 07:32 AM   #11
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Cheapest Retaining wall


Just a thought, not sure if u were quoted the $500 labor price already, but that seems a really low for a 40'x3' wall. Maybe your in a warm climate that doesn't require much excavation, but for a wall of that size in new england we would have to dig at least a foot and install an aggregate base material, that would probably take two guys a day or one guy with a mini and truck one day, at least $700-$1000 just for base prep, another day to stack and half a day for cleanup and capping. Assuming you get an big bulky ALLEN BLOCK (80 lb widow makers) which is about $6-$7 a square facial foot, you would still be looking at $650-$800 just on block, $100 or so on base materials and glue and 2-2.5 days of labor.

Just as a frame of reference, without truly knowing the job, it sounds like I would conservitavely charge between let's say $2200-2500. If you are getting someone to build it for $800.... Make sure you get the specs from the contractor and how he plans on building it. Commonly a homeowner will ask, why is this guy so expensive?, when the question needs to be, why is this guy so cheap?

Beware the lowest price when it comes to landscaping there are many corners that can be cut in which you will not see thier effect for a couple years when the wall begins to heave and bow. Landscaping is a man hour driven business and you will truly get what you pay for.
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Old 03-18-2012, 09:00 AM   #12
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Cheapest Retaining wall


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Originally Posted by diy4life View Post
At a $1.88 a stone 40 feet wide and 4 layers. That's $320 approxmiately and for labor maybe $500. That comes to $820.00. I am not looking to spend $5,000 for a simple retaining wall. Plus, our backyard is not totally sloping hill. It is totally flat 90% and at the end it slopes down 4 to 5 feet.

First off I can tell you are looking at the wrong walling material.
The kind of system you need cost easily $5-7 range.
As the poster before me explained to you.
I think you should find out WHO makes the materials that you are going to use and read up on how the manufacture recommends installing them.
I spent a huge amount of time researching this,I looked at walls that were installed around my area and asked people where they got their material.
I am by no means a noob when it comes to excavation work and I can tell you with certainty that two main thing apply here for a good long lasting wall.
1) footing and drainage
2) proper type of material used and installed properly

Last edited by Ravenworks; 03-18-2012 at 09:02 AM.
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Old 03-18-2012, 10:54 AM   #13
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Cheapest Retaining wall


I did a small retaining wall/paver patio myself. I used inexpensive block and pavers and had about $600 wrapped up in a 12' diameter circle with retaining wall that wrapped around it, approximately 20 ft or so. The materials won't be the cost issue...it'll be the labor. Expect a few days worth, plus excavation costs.

Any wall higher than 3 ft is going to cost extra to have it engineered....which has already been said.
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Old 03-18-2012, 11:25 AM   #14
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Cheapest Retaining wall


From an initial investment and cost, wood might the the cheapest, but will not be pretty for long abnd will have to be replaced.

The segmental concrete block walls (SRW) are the most commonly used in the world because of strength, appearance and ability to adapt to a site (grade and height changes plus the ability to do inside and outside curves.). They are not cheaper initially that the wood, but have taken the market away.

The crazy comments on the height restrictions may be poor education, fables or just uneducated conservative local codes. Normally, the maximum height for a SRW wall without engineering is 5', but some places arbitrarily place the limit at 4'. With engineering, I have seen walls 5 miles long (curved) that avary between nothing and 40' high along mountain roads. The 4 major licensors (Allan Block, Anchor Wall Systems, Keystone and Versalok) license producers intentionally and have extensive web sites with installations, ideas and applications that are based on truckloads of testing and work with state and municipal organizations. Several do make the units on a local basis, but mainly they license concrete producers in various countries and provide technical support and marketing because the acceptance by various municipalities and DOTs. There are numerous local "knock-off" products that have different configurations and features.

Concrete footings are not required and recommended. The wall is actually a flexible wall that will flex slightly with the conditions and not crack like a rigid concrete wall that is more limited and more costly.
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Old 03-18-2012, 04:32 PM   #15
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The crazy comments on the height restrictions may be poor education, fables or just uneducated conservative local codes. Normally, the maximum height for a SRW wall without engineering is 5', but some places arbitrarily place the limit at 4'. With engineering, I have seen walls 5 miles long (curved) that avary between nothing and 40' high along mountain roads. The 4 major licensors (Allan Block, Anchor Wall Systems, Keystone and Versalok) license producers intentionally and have extensive web sites with installations, ideas and applications that are based on truckloads of testing and work with state and municipal organizations.
You are right,and most manufactures already have the engineering done for you if you follow their directions for tying it into the existing earth with geo grid,where most HO have failures is they don't do their research.
As for footings most require a compacted aggregate,no concrete
I have installed miles of this stuff in all sizes and shapes.
To the OP what ever you do make sure you get IN WRITING just what they are going to do when they install you wall,nothing is worst than doing it twice.

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