Stronger: Mortared Stone Or Retaining Wall Blocks (SRW)? - Concrete, Stone & Masonry - DIY Chatroom Home Improvement Forum

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Old 06-17-2017, 07:08 PM   #1
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Stronger: mortared stone or retaining wall blocks (SRW)?

I need a low high retaining wall that is only 10" high and 6-7" wide but it will be backfilled with roadbase (crushed limestone to dust) which will have an above ground pool (30,000 lbs of weight) on it. So I am trying to determine the strongest masonry material.

So, my questions are:

1) Any idea what masonry material is strongest?

I googled and have ruled out wood/timber/RRties as not as strong as masonry, and I don't want to do cinder blocks or poured concrete.

So I guess I am down to Segmental Retaining Wall (SRW) blocks (e.g. Pavestone at Home Depot*) and mortared real stone. Or am I missing something?. Brick would clash with my nicotine-stone-faced house.

But I couldn't find online whether SRW blocks or mortared real stone is stronger. The only indicator is that SRW are meant for low walls, but I'm not sure about mortared stone.

SRW is not mortared, but some brands are interlocking. Pavestone (Home Depot) only has a lip which keeps it in place and ensures that each course steps back a bit. Also, SRW, when used for a straight wall, has triangular voids since it is trapezoidal. Wonder if that makes it weaker compared to stone...?

* The Pavestone product I like best of what my local Home Dept offers is "RockWall":
Pavestone RockWall 17.5 in. x 7 in. x 6 in. Palomino Concrete Retaining Wall Block-79881 - The Home Depot
but it does have cavities (maybe fill in with roadbase material?)

2) Is mortared stone a bad idea for this use?

a) I read that mortared stone can shift and then the mortar cracks, whereas, SRW blocks can shift without being as unsightly and also allow for water drainage...?

b) I read that limestone is very susceptible from staining from other liquids. I am thinking it would not be a good material. I hope to have a saltwater pool, but am thinking either saltwater or chlorine splashout/footprints would not be good for limestone. I would probably use Nicotine stone - Anyone know if it would be stained by chlorine or saltwater?

Anyone have experience/thoughts on any of this?

Thanks for any help!

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