Retaining Wall and Driveway Advice

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Old 05-13-11, 10:11 AM
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Retaining Wall and Driveway Advice

I have an asphalt driveway with a retaining wall supporting it to keep it level in front of a driveway. Here's a link to a basic drawing of it.
http://dl.dropbox.com/u/2182573/Garage.pdf

The maximum height is 5'. The longest run is 40'. The wall has a driveway on top of it, but the person that had it built did not carry the wall above the level of the driveway. So I have had water run off across the top of the asphalt and onto the blocks. This has deteriorated over time and the front part of the wall (East end of the long run) is crumbling.

I have searched all over the place for guidance on contractors, but thought I would ask here. Is a Landscaping contractor or a Driveway contractor the way to go on getting estimates here? I'm looking for options for both repair of the existing and possibly rebuild of the wall to fix the drainage problems.

Thanks in advance!
 
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Old 05-13-11, 11:51 AM
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It's hard to say what you need. It depends on the condition of the wall whether or not it can be repaired or needs to be replaced. If it needs replacing I would contact your local Inspections Dept. Because of the height of the retaining wall it may require a permit and have to be inspected. You may be required to install a curb or something else to prevent cars from easily going over the edge and may need a railing to prevent people from going over as well.

I would certainly check around to find someone experienced building retaining walls. Since you have a driveway right up to the wall it needs to be more than a decorative garden retaining wall. You need support real weight right at the top of the wall.
 
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Old 05-13-11, 12:19 PM
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Can you take some pics of the wall so we can see what it looks like?
 
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Old 05-13-11, 12:22 PM
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ugh.. That's what I was afraid of. Based on the area I live in, I don't think a railing is required by code. Either that, or no one in a square mile has done it correctly.

I do need a curb for sure. When the wall was built 8 parking lot stops (the concrete kind at the end of a parking spot) were put on top along the edge with rebar holding them in place. It's not a continuous curb though. It has gaps over about 2 feet between them. So if code dictates a continuous curb that, I'm sure it's not sufficient.

The only reason I'm considering repair, is because the house if for sale. If I were planning to do this, I would likely put in a stone/mortar wall with geo-grid or some type of shoring and definitely put a full curb. I may end up there anyway.

They also did not install weep drains (or whatever they're called) at the base of the wall. I'm not sure if that's needed since the surface on the uphill side is asphalt for 15 feet.
 
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Old 05-13-11, 12:25 PM
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I will snap some pics tonight and post, unless I can get my wife to for me. I am not home right now.
 
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Old 05-13-11, 01:17 PM
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Landscaping contractor - definitely NOT. GC or Paving/Excavating contractor - YES. I can't speak to all regions, but here we are required to have an Engineered Design with Stamp for any wall over 40". FWIW, the original builder probably didn't install a perforated drain line - often called a French Drain - behind the existing wall to remove moisture buildup and then waterproof the back side to prevent just these kinds of problems.
 
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Old 06-06-11, 11:40 PM
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To answer about what kind of contractor, you need to talk to a "Poured" reinforced concrete wall person. Someone who has experience in structural concrete walls and footings. Your location doesnt state where you are from. Some locations only supply with block walls. I am from the midwest and have been in this business for several years doing basements and structural retaining walls up to 22 feet tall. I, being prejudice to block walls (having seen most fail) due to our soil and moisture, hope you can find someone who "pours" walls, not lays blocks.

But, yes, you need to have a specialized person to quote you, not a landscaper. Even a respectable driveway person would contract the wall out.
 
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