Proper material for low retaining wall

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Old 06-07-11, 08:56 AM
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Proper material for low retaining wall

Hi:
I want to replace a low retaining wall with block. Currently the wall is pre-treated wood and is less that 16" high. My question: what is the best type of block for such a low wall? I understand there are blocks with and without pins. Is one type better than another?

Thanks.
 
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Old 06-07-11, 09:28 AM
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I like the ones without pins but that's just a personal preference.

I built one a few years ago about 200' long x 4' high with blocks weighing about 30-35 # each. At the time, we only had two options from the local supplier and the other blocks weighed about 70 # but we were not building high enough to have to use those.
 
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Old 06-07-11, 07:37 PM
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Thanks for the reply. How did the smaller blocks hold up over the years?
 
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Old 06-07-11, 08:17 PM
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Don't forget, you will need to pour a footing for a long lasting level wall.
 
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Old 06-07-11, 08:43 PM
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Pouring a concrete footing voids any design suggestions and warrantees if it is one or the 4 major systems available in the world. The cheaper "knock-off" units do not have the features or engineering backup.

The concept of a segmental retaining wall requires a wall (no mortar or grout allowed) built on a level well compacted gravel base. This applies to the 2' high walls or the engineered 40' high walls that are built in many areas. Here, they have been routinely used for years for walls up to 20' high. The state and counties have standard design plates for the non-engineered walls up to 5' high that are used for distribution to the public and for daily use by counties and municipal crews for new construction and re-alignments and do not show any concrete footings, but show a compacted soil base.

Dick
 
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Old 06-08-11, 09:07 AM
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I think we built the wall in 2005 (maybe 2004), it's held up beautifully thus far
 
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Old 06-08-11, 09:27 AM
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Pouring a concrete footing defeats the major advantage of these walls: reduced cost.
 
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Old 06-08-11, 10:15 AM
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It is not just the cost. - The walls are more effective as evidenced by the old style poured landscape walls seen in the U.S. before other options were made available in about 1989. I saw my first major system of walls in spain the about 1997 and it was about 5 miles long along a highway and the heights ranged from 2' to over 25' and is still working and looking well (it was engineered obviusly for anything over about 5' high). There were also some larger installations in western Spain that were base on wall systems licensed in the U.S., but built in Australia.

I guess that is why it is the most common retaining wall system globally.

Dick
 
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Old 06-09-11, 04:24 PM
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OK, guys, I was thinking "block" wall (as in concrete block), not the artsy fartsy "click lock" block walls. I'm in the middle of building one for a client, facing and capping with field stone, so it stuck in my mind. Not easy in the mountains. 15' long wall with two 4" rises in footing to accommodate crooked land.
 
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