Rebuilding A Retaining Wall - Building & Construction - DIY Chatroom Home Improvement Forum

Go Back   DIY Chatroom Home Improvement Forum > Home Improvement > Building & Construction


Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 07-20-2008, 09:33 AM   #1
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 13
Rewards Points: 10

Rebuilding a Retaining Wall

Once upon a time I let a Sumac tree grow too tall and it broke my wall. This was in 1980. I used 24" drywall block to rebuild it. The internet wasn't around then, so I had a lot fewer resources. The wall I built stayed up for 28 years... but it was starting to lean a little too much so I'm building it again.

I want it to be safe, but I'd rather not spend a fortune on it. I've taken some photos. If you look at the pictures what you see is nearly all I want to do in terms of removing old brick. For the part of the wall that was leaning, I've been thinking about leaving the ground-level course (visible in the photos) and just building a wall up from just inside that course. Most of the part I'm talking about is near ground level already. It's the big corner section towards the back of the yard that I'd rather not tear down/rebuild.

Rather than tearing that part down, again I thought about rebuilding a second wall right inside the existing one.

The part I really don't want to rebuild is the corner - that's where all the slope is - plus it's tricky supporting the soil under the porch while I rebuild.

Any suggestions will be sincerely appreciated!
Attached Thumbnails
Rebuilding a Retaining Wall-before-more-less.jpg   Rebuilding a Retaining Wall-view-between-houses.jpg   Rebuilding a Retaining Wall-view-front.jpg   Rebuilding a Retaining Wall-closeup-wall.jpg   Rebuilding a Retaining Wall-view-side.jpg  


pilk00 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-21-2008, 12:21 AM   #2
Be green & save green
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Posts: 24
Rewards Points: 10

oh boy!!!

The strength of the retaining wall is very much depended upon the footing and the wall being fully grouted with proper rebar.

If the footing is stable enough i guess you try to drill 1/2" - 3/4" holes in the footing I would go at least 18" deep. Then insert rebar along with epoxy to make them whole.

Start by rebuilding the wall with 8" or bigger blocks, make sure you have both horizontal & vertical rebar’s with at least 18" joints. Make sure you fully grout the wall as you are building it and use a vibrator or a rebar on a drill and vibrate the concrete. Make the corner area (L shape) overlap each other.

But if you want my honest opinion hire a licensed contractor, too much responsibility.


mgsproperties is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-26-2008, 01:43 PM   #3
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 4
Rewards Points: 10

Concrete footing

Tear out the bottom course, level and gravel the run and then pour at least a 4" concrete footing with rebar going down at least 18". As you lay the block in courses, continue to mortar but also move each course back about an inch, backfill as you go and tamp your earth down tight.
newpaint is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-26-2008, 02:07 PM   #4
concretemasonry's Avatar
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota - Latitude 45.057 Longitude -93.074
Posts: 4,075
Rewards Points: 2,640

Where are you located? - Climate with frost?

If so, forget about a mortared and reinforced wall unless you get it below your frost depth. Even a 1/4" frost heave will crack any reinforced wall.

You old wall moved if there was frost and you never saw the crack or heave. In the spring it comes back close to where it was. Your old wall just did not have any horizontal shear resistance other then the weight of the wall on a smooth surface with sand and water for lubrication.

When you built segmental retaining walls were not common in the U.S., so there were limited choces for a dry stacked wall. Today, there are more options. A segmental retaining wall (SRW) is built without a concrete footing (concrete not permitted!!) and specially shaped block are used. Because of the lack of demand for plain units, they are available only in split, colored units.
concretemasonry is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-27-2008, 01:31 AM   #5
Contractor - Renovations
fungku's Avatar
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Vancouver
Posts: 260
Rewards Points: 250

Where I come from there is a lot of frost and heaving. here is how I would do it, using Allen blocks or other morterless blocks. no concrete or mortar.

1. take out the bottom course, dig back some of the earth on the high end so it's sloped back while you work and doesn't come crashing down.

2. Where the bottom course is going to be, dig below grade on low side, maybe around 6 inches.

3. level, compact, and then put landscape fabric where the bottom course will go and up the slope.

4. Put 3/4 crushed rock, where bottom course will be. level and compact

5. lay your bottom course, keeping a straight line and keeping level.

6. keep laying courses straight and level while backfilling behind the wall with crushed rocks and the cut-offs of block (to save having to throw them out)

7. remember to keep compacting the backfilling of rock.

9. when you get near the top stop backfilling with rock, fold the landscape fabric back over all the rock you've been backfilling with and backfill the last course or two with soil.

10. Do the capstones and you're done.

it is a lot of work and will take a long time, but it should last you forever or close to it.

also, consider running drain tile behind the wall for drainage
fungku is offline   Reply With Quote

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Retaining wall Hurriken Landscaping & Lawn Care 7 09-22-2009 11:26 AM
Retaining Wall DIY_JC Building & Construction 5 05-21-2008 01:48 PM
retaining wall luv2hunt Landscaping & Lawn Care 1 05-02-2008 07:45 PM
Raising Doorway Height (load bearing?) treefrog Building & Construction 6 02-25-2008 09:11 PM
Low Retaining Wall cibula11 Landscaping & Lawn Care 3 07-29-2007 12:02 AM

Top of Page | View New Posts


Search Engine Friendly URLs by vBSEO 3.6.1