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Old 08-10-2015, 06:19 PM   #1
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Retaining wall is leaking when it rains - how do I fix this? (pictures)


This is a small retaining wall by the side of my garage, made of railroad ties. It is only 3-blocks high. When it rains, water comes pouring out. I tried it put in red arrows to show where the water comes from.

The problem is, it is getting tons of water into my garage. It's already rotted away the corner wood garage framing. You can see I tried to cover up the rotted framing with a new piece of painted wood.

How do I fix this? These ties are very old/weathered and I like the way they look - I hope I don't have to pitch them in the landfill and start fresh!
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Retaining wall is leaking when it rains - how do I fix this? (pictures)-20150727_162610.jpg   Retaining wall is leaking when it rains - how do I fix this? (pictures)-20150727_162617.jpg  
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Old 08-10-2015, 06:25 PM   #2
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to start with, if there is nothing to actually block the water from passing through, you will always have some leakage so, either plan on rebuilding where you can put a water barrier in place or, and this is based on suspicion, do something about why you have so much water accumulating behind the ties.

is there a downspout coming off the roof and dumping up above that area?
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Old 08-10-2015, 06:37 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nap View Post
to start with, if there is nothing to actually block the water from passing through, you will always have some leakage so, either plan on rebuilding where you can put a water barrier in place or, and this is based on suspicion, do something about why you have so much water accumulating behind the ties.

is there a downspout coming off the roof and dumping up above that area?
There is a downspout right at this corner, but I have attached an 8 foot long downspout extension to make it dump on the other side of the yard, so it's not the downspout.

I think it's just seepage from that higher level. It's all just gravel and the water just takes the path of least resistance, exiting through this giant gap between the ties and the garage.

Can I really just take it all down, and rebuild with a plastic water barrier material behind the wood ties? I never knew I could do that, I thought outdoor retaining walls had to just hold back water/dirt on their own without anything else!
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Old 08-10-2015, 06:39 PM   #4
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why would you expect some rail road ties to seal out water? Need a new design. Short of that try to address the the run off water from above that is feeding it. Gutters, maybe redirected or longer laterals, ground surface sloped away from the area?

Covering rotted wood with fresh painted wood doesn't solve the problem, just moves it out of sight.
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Old 08-10-2015, 06:45 PM   #5
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you can seal off the retaining wall but it may cause other, worse problems.


make sure the grade of the land makes the water flow away from the building.

is there any grass up there? That would help

if you make the wall water tight and do nothing to prevent so much water from accumulating behind the wall, you could end up with enough hydraulic pressure to actually move the wall or if the building wall isn't sealed well enough, it could cause it to leak through the wall.
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Old 08-10-2015, 06:47 PM   #6
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Better allow it to leak else you will possibly have water in your garage some way some day.
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Old 08-10-2015, 06:52 PM   #7
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ground slope away in any direction? A drain line might help
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Old 08-10-2015, 08:14 PM   #8
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Here's another view that shows why all the water is coming out of that little corner and rotting my garage! I just took off the first piece of wood to see what's going on - looks like the previous owner just stuck a piece of MDF between the rocks and the wood.

Is there a product out there that can let water flow out of that corner but let me channel it away from the building?

PS: don't worry about the downspout, I got a long extension that I removed to work on this thing.
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Old 08-11-2015, 07:21 AM   #9
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That sure looks like dirt up agains the siding---is that true?
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Old 08-11-2015, 07:38 AM   #10
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Yeah that's dirt right against the siding!
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Old 08-11-2015, 08:18 AM   #11
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These are a somewhat unique set of circumstances . I've heard of homes/garages with structural/exterior wood used below grade , but only in dry/arid conditions . Was the lot built up AFTER the garage was built ?

The only thing I can come up with is drainage tile the length of the garage then through "new" steps and however far it needs to go .
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Old 08-12-2015, 06:37 AM   #12
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Quote:
I think it's just seepage from that higher level. It's all just gravel and the water just takes the path of least resistance, exiting through this giant gap between the ties and the garage.
Ayuh,.... So regrade the area above the problem, to divert the water to a better route, than through yer garage,....
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