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Old 10-08-2015, 03:16 AM   #1
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Retaining wall timber posts are splitting


Hi, I have a problem with the treated pine H4 posts I used with the retaining wall that I built. These have only been in for about a month and already they are splitting. Some are splitting straight down the middle

Is there a treatment or something I can do to prevent this and repair the ones I have done already? They are all cemented in.

Cheers
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Old 10-08-2015, 03:50 AM   #2
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You will always get splits with wood. You need to use landscaping blocks for the retaining wall, not cheap pressure treated lumber.

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Old 10-08-2015, 06:03 AM   #3
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Thanks for the reply gregzoll. That is a little too late now as the retaining wall is finished and I have 12 posts cemented in and 5 of these have splits.

The guys at the hardware store said it'd be fine before I started and the videos I watched before commencing pretty much reenforced what they said at the hardware store. So I went with that.

What I need to know is, is there anything I can do to repair the posts I have or do i leave them?
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Old 10-08-2015, 06:31 AM   #4
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The splits are called 'heart checks' That happens a lot with PT wood because it is so wet when purchased--

They do not affect the strength of the structure as much as you might think--
Not good in 2x4 and 2x6---and will hasten the rotting of the wood when buried--or encased in concrete.

Not much you can do now---just remember this for the next time---
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Old 10-08-2015, 07:02 AM   #5
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Retaining wall? How big is the wall. In the pic you posted it looks like a curb to retain landscaping rock
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Old 10-08-2015, 08:41 AM   #6
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2 X's are not even rated for below grade use, says so right on the tag on the ends when you bought them.
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Old 10-08-2015, 02:47 PM   #7
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You can try to reinforce the split boards by nailing a 2x piece vertically across the splits, to tie the upper and lower pieces together. May not help much, but it might stop them from splitting completely in half..

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Old 10-08-2015, 06:45 PM   #8
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I can't believe you put bolts in it.
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Old 10-08-2015, 08:35 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oh'mike View Post
The splits are called 'heart checks' That happens a lot with PT wood because it is so wet when purchased--
I still have the 1x6's sitting in my garage for capping off the railings on my deck. It helps to pull any moisture in the boards when they are either wet off of the stack, or still a little moist from delivery.

I wished that I had done that to the 2x6's that were used for my deck boards. A bunch of them are now starting to show small splits from drying out after installed.
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Old 10-09-2015, 02:27 AM   #10
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Firstly, why wouldn't I have used bolts? What's wrong with that? Was there another way? It is my first attempt at a timber retaining wall. Having a go at me for what I used is not helpful and it isn't what I am on here for. I am inexperienced. All concidering I did what I thought was right and I think, I didn't do a bad job.

Thanks ZZZZZ. I thought about putting bolts through the sides to pull the post together. Any thoughts?

I've included pics of the retaining wall.
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Retaining wall timber posts are splitting-20150910_164038.jpg   Retaining wall timber posts are splitting-20150825_174146.jpg   Retaining wall timber posts are splitting-diy.jpg  

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Old 10-09-2015, 06:41 AM   #11
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You have carriage bolts on each side of the 2x. That split in the wood is not going anywhere. I would just fill it with epoxy if it bothers you. I would suspect that crack was caused by over tightening the carriage bolts
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Old 10-09-2015, 07:59 AM   #12
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Not sure what the big deal is ether with using bolts, it's done all the time when decks, docks, carports, pole barns, Pergola's.
You will find those 2 X's below grade rotting out though.
It should have been 4 X 4's or 4 X 6's.
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Old 10-09-2015, 08:57 AM   #13
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The only problem with the carriage bolts is that they appear to be standard steel, not galvanized, which is a problem in contact with PT lumber. I probably would have used hot dipped galvanized hex head bolts, not carriage bolts,since you may need to remove one someday, and there is nothing to grip on the dome end of a carriage bolt.

The splits in the wood are typical of PT lumber when it dries, not much you can do about it, and as previously noted, will not reduce strength much. Besides, that is a low retaining wall, so likely no problem at all, other than appearance.

There are some types of PT lumber rated for direct contact with ground, they are expensive and not too easy to find. Most PT lumber is rated for outdoor exposure only, not ground contact. All this means is that they lumber will rot after perhaps ten years, maybe it will go twenty if you are fortunate, so at that point you can replace the wall. When and if you need to replace the wall, you may want to consider concrete segmental block, in my opinion easier to install than lumber, lasts essentially forever, and very cost competitive.
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Old 10-10-2015, 04:06 AM   #14
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Thanks for the reassurance ZTMAN. I was worried about the integritty of the structure.

I didn't want to use the hex bolts Daniel, as I thought the ones I used looked better with the whole being flush thing. Makes sense what you say though. I will remember this for next time. You're right. It was a bugger of a job. I have done a block retaining wall before and it was easy after doing the base.

The carriage bolts I used are coated green. Said on the box that they are intended for outdoor timber use. Didn't think the galvanised bolt would be suitable.

Thanks Joecaption for the tip.

I'll remember for next time.

Last edited by andy434; 10-10-2015 at 04:15 AM.
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Old 10-10-2015, 01:38 PM   #15
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I'm gunna echo Joecaption about the carriage bolts. I see them used all the time in park benches, jungle gyms, and other public-use structures. I can't think of any reason why OP would ever need to remove the bolts cleanly. I think the fact that he cemented the posts in the ground and filled the area up with several thousand pounds of rock indicates that it was a conscious decision to NOT make it easy to come apart. In any case, I think it came out pretty darn nice! Simple but classy. Worse comes to worse, OP could just get a quart of Dap's Plastic Wood putty. Personally, I like a little bit of an aged, rustic look, especially when it's complemented with the more modern 'floating' seating area. Adds character!

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