Brick Retaining Wall

Old 04-24-05, 01:52 PM
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Brick Retaining Wall

I have a question on retaining walls. Have a walkout basement that leads to backyard. For retaining walls the previous owners used old railraod timbers as retaining walls for the slope coming around the house. 3 Step like walls on each side going up to the grade of the first floor. Was wondering how hard it would be to replace these timbers with the 5x8 decorative brick one sees in the home centers? I am considering this because I live in a high termite area which I have inspected twice a year to make sure none of the little guys take hold. Worried they are building a fortress in these timbers and just waiting for theyre leader to Yell ATTACK! Also its is a poured wall basement any considerations of placing them right against the basement wall? Cold Climate weather?

Thanks in advance for any help
Old 04-24-05, 02:49 PM
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: USA
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Brick Retaining Wall

If you are considering your timber retaining wall the the "bricks" you referred to, you are on the right path. The construction of a wall is independent from the construction of your basement and the two should never be tied together.

The "brick" you referred to are "Segmental Retaining Wall" (SRW) unts. That is the term used by engineers, municipalities and and landscapers. Your application is typical of some of the most common and was the target of the units when they were developed about 20 years ago. All of the major systems were developed in a cold climate (Minnesota) and most of the residential, commercial and county and state agency applications are in the colder climates, although some of the larger and higher applications are in warm climates like Spain. Take a look at the Anchor Wall Systems, Allan Block, Keystone, Rockwood and VersaLok web pages for product information, applications, design guides and availability. They are manufactured locally and are available in most big box stores and landscapers.

These designs do not permit the use of a poured footing, consequently they should not be connected to a rigid structure. You can build gravity walls (just stack them up) up to 4 feet high in most municipalities. I have seen engineered walls up to 45 feet high. You may need some type of design for your 7 or 8 foot high wall, but the design tables available from the product developers may be sufficient since the municipalites use the same table for their own applications. Some more difficult municipalities may a design from an engineer on any wall over 4 feet, but this is a small part of the cost and could save money in the end.

Good luck!


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