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Old 04-26-2010, 09:33 PM   #1
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DIY CMU Split Face Wall


sorry i dont know if this belongs in building and construction or lawn and landscaping... i guess its a little of both...

basically im confident i can erect a 113 linear ft. 6' high cement block wall by myself in my own time (no deadline) and save tons of money in labor.

my issue is the foundation and footer block. i feel as i may struggle with that. (is a cement truck required for that much of a foundation anyway? i dont know)

anyways... is it asking a professional too much (or too little) to pour a foundation and set the first row of cmu?

ive had bids for (split face cmu) about $8500 for this project. i figure i can get the cmu and caps for about $2500 and save on all that labor cost (i assume liscensed contracters have a high margin on this anyway. maybe an unliscensed out of the pennysaver would be so affordable i would have them do the whole project...


we will see

thank you

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Old 04-26-2010, 09:52 PM   #2
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I've done a few of those. You're about right on the material costs. The beam is normally made like a foundation beam, and should be designed by an engineer. The last wall we did was 8' tall, had a 24" x 12" beam and had drilled bell bottom peirs every 12', but we have heavy clay soils so that might not apply to you.

No one can give you a proper foundation design over the internet. It wouldn't hurt to at least contact an engineer, they may have predesigned plans that the sell to you. I wouldn't cut corners on the concrete beam. If you set over 700 blocks by yourself, you're not going to want to see it fall apart within the year. It'll break your heart.

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Old 04-26-2010, 10:08 PM   #3
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DIY CMU Split Face Wall


Is this retaining wall or a privacy wall? What part of the world are you in and what is your climate and frost depth?

If it is a free-standing privacy wall, you will need a concrete footing below frost plus some rebar and grout from the poured in place footing to the top of the wall plus horizontal rebar in in the top course of the block below the caps. Ready mix from a truck should be used to get a continuous footing. In many areas, the city/county will have approved designs for you to follow.

If it is retaining wall you can use colored split-face retaining wall block (not normal shaped block), since you need something to prevent horizontal shear movement. No concrete footings are recommended or used and no vertical rebar is necessary, but you might have to use some geogrid soild reinforcement for the areas that are over 4' high, depending on the soil type. Often cities and counties have standard design for their own project, but the licensors of the good systems have great web sites.- You can hire someone to dig first and backfill later and then do the "bull work" yourself since it is very easy after the forst course it set and leveled.

Dick
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Old 04-26-2010, 10:45 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by altc81 View Post
sorry i dont know if this belongs in building and construction or lawn and landscaping... i guess its a little of both...

basically im confident i can erect a 113 linear ft. 6' high cement block wall by myself in my own time (no deadline) and save tons of money in labor.

Hate to say it, but this is where many DIY projects fail. If you're doing this with the intentions/goal of saving 200% of what a contractor charges who does this every day, odds are you won't be successful.

my issue is the foundation and footer block. i feel as i may struggle with that. (is a cement truck required for that much of a foundation anyway? i dont know)

Yes, a concrete truck would be necessary, & cheaper when compared to quikcrete.

anyways... is it asking a professional too much (or too little) to pour a foundation and set the first row of cmu?

Personally, I wouldn't touch this with a 10' pole. If the wall would fail in the future, the contractor assumes a lot of liability & risk for having ANY involvement in the project.

ive had bids for (split face cmu) about $8500 for this project. i figure i can get the cmu and caps for about $2500 and save on all that labor cost (i assume liscensed contracters have a high margin on this anyway. maybe an unliscensed out of the pennysaver would be so affordable i would have them do the whole project...


we will see

thank you
I don't understand this last part at all, sorry.
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Old 04-27-2010, 09:25 AM   #5
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you will probably need a permit for a wall that high as well.
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Old 04-27-2010, 09:32 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by altc81 View Post
(i assume liscensed contracters have a high margin on this anyway. maybe an unliscensed out of the pennysaver would be so affordable i would have them do the whole project...
thank you
All I want is to make the incredible profits that everyone accuses the general contractors and skilled subs of making....just for one year...after that I would be looking at this site from my palatial ocean side villa on the Costa Rican coast.

You can probably very easily find the referenced "unlicensed pennysaver"
to do the work. Just expect the quality of the job to be a reflection of the quality of the "contractor"; hope no one gets injured (as the unlicensed pennysaver will also be uninsured), hope you don't need him to fix any sub standard work (as he will always be there "next week"), will of course need to be paid in cash (we don't need any contract, my word is good enough) and hope the local inspector doesn't spot the non permited work(and make you tear it down and start with an engineers foundation plan).

Other than such trivial things, it will be a great deal.
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Old 04-27-2010, 05:26 PM   #7
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DIY CMU Split Face Wall


Retaining wall or just a 6' privacy wall holding back no soil? Most places require 4' or higher retaining walls to be engineered. But even a 6' privacy wall not holding back soil needs to be done right or could be hazardous. I recall reading of an incident where part of a block wall fell on a child and caused serious injury.

That being said, laying block can be fun and satisfying. It can also be hard heavy work. But first and foremost is to have a good structurally sound design.
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Old 04-27-2010, 05:55 PM   #8
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Im in los angeles... do you know how many 'unlicensed' 'professionals' there are here? ill quote george lopez..."better, faster, cheaper". this would be a 6' high privacy wall.
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Old 04-27-2010, 05:57 PM   #9
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I'd be wary about doing this without a permit, and without a set of plans. A six foot wall will kill a child if it falls over. And if it ever got to the suing stage, and your insurance company found out nobody provided a legit design or it was done without a permit, you're in deep do-do.

Also, if it were mine, I'd throw in some pilasters. I really dislike CMU walls without pilasters.
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Old 04-27-2010, 06:04 PM   #10
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maybe i should just do a certainteed/bufftech vinyl privacy fence eh?? anybody any luck with those?
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Old 04-27-2010, 06:33 PM   #11
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Virtually every municipality in Southern California has free standardized plans for the common 6' high privacy walls because it makes the approval and inspection much easier, since routine jobs like that are not money-makers and the detailed process costs more than the permit.

You can get them from your municipality. If the don not just go to and jacent one since the designs are controlled the building codes and the local conditions (soil, wind, etc.).

If it is a privacy fence on the property line approval of anything non-standard can be costly because more parties are involved.

Dick
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Old 04-27-2010, 07:43 PM   #12
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Another good resource is your state government. I think every DOT in the nation maintains a web site with CAD drawings of standard items. Your tax dollars and the freedom of information act at work.
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Old 04-27-2010, 08:34 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by altc81 View Post
Im in los angeles... do you know how many 'unlicensed' 'professionals' there are here? ill quote george lopez..."better, faster, cheaper". this would be a 6' high privacy wall.
Maybe 2 out of 3
6' wall of cement block without a permit
You better hope it never falls over & your neighbors don't make a phone call
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Old 04-27-2010, 10:05 PM   #14
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Here is some light night time reading to get you going: http://books.google.com/books?id=GCO...page&q&f=false

Notify your homeowners insurance carrier.....

Be safe, Gary

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