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Old 05-26-2012, 04:56 PM   #61
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The Big Dig! (redoing a retaining wall around my driveway)


Lots of updates!

So I totally have to redact(sp?) my info of harkens garden center in east windsor CT. I went in there and talked to my main contact (Kristi) after doing some math on my own, and she looked me right in the eye, apologized for her mistake, and asked what she could for me to make it better. As a fellow salesperson, I can't give her enough credit for doing this. After selling yourself as an authority on the matter at hand, it takes a lot of cajones to look someone in the eye, and tell them you messed up. Long story short, they were willing to ship the blocks for free because it was their error. Normally this would be an extra $75 to me. I am impressed.

I have a crew coming over tomorrow (my little brother graduated today in upstate NY, so no work got done today), and I truely thing we are going to finish it off other than the caps. Will post updates.

Ravenworks: Not willing to terrace due to my lot being only 50 feet wide and wanting to get as much usuable yard out of this project as possible. As always, I appreciate your input, but I am going to go with my original plan on this one.

Jomaama: Yes I already backfilled and compacted over that layer, just wanted for everyone to see how it looks before you cover it.
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Old 06-04-2012, 02:08 PM   #62
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The Big Dig! (redoing a retaining wall around my driveway)


I will get some new photos soon, but just let everyone know, I am done with the blocks! All I have left are caps for the curve, which based on my curve's radius and the amount of stepups that occur on the curve, is going to take time. I got a circular saw (already regretting the 7 inch... it doesn't cut all the way through the caps lol), and the appropriate blade.

Any tips on this stage?
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Old 06-04-2012, 04:47 PM   #63
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The Big Dig! (redoing a retaining wall around my driveway)


Yea,I have an idea for you,put the saw away and use a grinder with a masonry blade on it,cut all the way around your cut to score it and wack it with a flat chisel and a hammer,it should go on the first hit.
Easy peasey
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Old 06-04-2012, 06:01 PM   #64
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The Big Dig! (redoing a retaining wall around my driveway)


There is nothing wrong with using a hammer and chisel to knock of some of the vertical "tails"of the segmental retaining wall block since they are burried and reall dont cary much, if any, load. Using a saw is slow and a waste of time.

Some systems also have matching cap block that are available in a 1:1 ratio (short front and short back) to be used on straight walls or on inside or outside corners. Just combine is them in the desired percentage and use them with full caps for any situation.

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Old 06-04-2012, 07:21 PM   #65
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The Big Dig! (redoing a retaining wall around my driveway)


If you want them to fit tight on the curve, I'm pretty sure you're going to be stuck cutting them with a saw. Can't speak for a circular saw, as I've only used a 14" cut-off saw, with good results BTW.

You'll want to dry-set the caps as you go adjusting for the ideal front overhang (1" or so is what I prefer) and marking one cut at a time. I typically don't even measure, just simply use the 1"+- edge of the level to align with the previous edge. Then, mark the other side of the level. If you need to take more than 1" off of the block, "sight" it, and give it a shot. The real benefit (other than speed) here of the 14" cut-off saw is that you can fit the block together after the original cut drop the saw through the less-than-perfect cut, and open it up perfectly with the width of the blade though the entire depth, being careful not to score the wall block below.

I also snap or chisel the end of every cap at the exposure so that every visible (other the the top of the cap) part of the wall is rock faced. I do the same thing with the last block at a jump in the wall as well: Score the edge of the block 1/2-3/4" deep through the middle, lay the block upside down chisel the top 3" that will be seen above the cap, and set the block in upside down in the wall so the pin slots are hidden. If this doesn't make sense, I may be able to take a few pictures of an example for you...........
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Old 06-06-2012, 07:30 PM   #66
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The Big Dig! (redoing a retaining wall around my driveway)


Looks AWESOME!

I rented a brick saw, made installing caps a breeze, short of the weight. The brick saw was a wet saw so no mess/dust.

I pretty much did mine by myself. Waiting on soil to fill and gutter repair. I have another entire side to do in next 18 months...

Once the second side is done will complete paver walkway to walkout door.

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Last edited by ChrisDIY; 06-06-2012 at 07:34 PM.
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Old 06-28-2012, 03:01 PM   #67
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The Big Dig! (redoing a retaining wall around my driveway)


Sorry for the delay guys. Had some family issues come up and I haven't been able to get a free minute.

ITS DONE!!!

Couple things before the pictures. Ravenworks: Block splitting is one thing, but to get the caps to go flush around the corner, I would need a smooth cut one way or another. The 7inch saw ended up working out great, it just required two cuts. Considering I spent on it what I would have spent renting a gas 14 inch saw for 1 day, I am very happy with my purchase. I made at least 30 cuts with it, the saw had plenty of power (13 amp skil), and the blade still seems to be in good shape for whatever comes next.

Concretemasonry: I don't understand what tails you are talking about, but if you see an example of a tail in any of my pics, please point it out.

Jomama: I argued with my wife on this one for a whole week, she thought that it would look better with a smooth cap end, where I really liked the split end. Ultimately I put my foot down as she has done about 1% of the work on the project and told her if she doesn't like it then build her own wall (this rarely works folks lol). She agreed after it was all said and done that the split end looked way better.

Chris: Your wall looks AWESOME. nuff said.

So there is a little surprise in these pictures. One thing I didn't like on the old wall was the fact that somebody could just go walking off the edge or, even worse, a little kid could roll off the edge, right onto the hard driveway. I worked with my block lady at Harkens and found a CST product called "veranda wall" which is basically a two sided versalok looking block that glues together, and is not load bearing. I used this at the very top to kind of frame the main part of my back lawn, and as a little protection from that errant ball/toy/animal/baby that could go careening off the edge. I never bothered bringing it up here because I was having a hard enough time getting all the technical stuff in writing, but I REALLY like how it came out.

Does the wall look perfect? No. I know that you can see a few 1 mm gaps here and there, and that there is a little color variation, but I dont care. the load bearing part has been up for a month and it is still dead level, and I really am happy with the results. Once again, thank you all for being so helpful!!

Here we go!

















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Old 06-29-2012, 09:44 AM   #68
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The Big Dig! (redoing a retaining wall around my driveway)


Looks great!
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Old 06-29-2012, 05:40 PM   #69
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The Big Dig! (redoing a retaining wall around my driveway)


Looks good,I have no doubt that your wall will last.
Now to get ride of that ugly chunk of concrete at the end of the wall.
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Old 07-01-2012, 07:04 PM   #70
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The Big Dig! (redoing a retaining wall around my driveway)


Looks good! I can't wait to finish mine.

Are you planning to backfill to the top?
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Old 07-02-2012, 01:53 PM   #71
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The Big Dig! (redoing a retaining wall around my driveway)


Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisDIY View Post
Looks good! I can't wait to finish mine.

Are you planning to backfill to the top?
Nope, the top two courses are a two sided freestanding wall product called Versalok Veranda Wall.

http://cstpavers.com/retaining-walls...k-veranda-wall

I am going to be dropping in about 6 inches of topsoil over that dirt to cover the top of the retaining wall, and to grow grass, but the veranda wall will be about a foot over the grass. I am using it to frame my yard a bit. I will get more pics when the grass comes in, you will see my vision.
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Old 08-23-2012, 04:15 AM   #72
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The Big Dig! (redoing a retaining wall around my driveway)


Looks great! I'm just starting the planning for a wall like this myself, a recent rainstorm finished off the 36 year old crib wall beside my friend's driveway; gotta do something before the rest of it comes down!
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