Retaining wall leaning after freeze/thaw - how to prevent further leaning?

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Old 05-13-14, 05:01 PM
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Retaining wall leaning after freeze/thaw - how to prevent further leaning?

My driveway is about 2 feet higher than my patio, and a retaining wall separates them. There used to be about 6 inches width of drainage rock between the driveway and the retaining wall. The wall stood straight for several years.

Last fall, I had the driveway repaved. The contractor suggested widening the driveway right to the wall since the driveway was pretty narrow. I believe the contractor said he would seal the gap between the new driveway and the wall so water wouldn't get down next to the wall. I didn't notice until the middle of winter, but the wall was starting to lean, likely from the brutal freeze/thaw we experienced in the Northeast last winter. I believe the concrete blocks are cemented together, so I can't easily rebuild the wall.

As you can see from the attached photos, there is about an inch gap now between the driveway and the wall. I do not have the time, the patience, or the budget to fix this properly. Any recommendations on how to prevent further leaning of the wall? Is there something I could fill the gap width? And then perhaps put some sort of sealant on top, so the water runs down the driveway along the wall rather than down into the ground beside the wall?

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!
 
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Old 05-13-14, 10:06 PM
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There are no quick and easy fixes to repair your wall. Even trying to buy some time by installing a good commercial grade of sealant isn't likely to work, as the asphalt will be too porous just below grade. You might want to monitor how much the wall's lean increases in the coming year. Right now it appears to be more than 1" out of plumb.

If I was in your situation, I would completely rebuild the wall. Doing so will require removal and replacement of part of the asphalt driveway. Usually just the top course is cemented in place in segmental walls, so the rebuild shouldn't be too difficult to accomplish. While things are opened up, you could also install perforated drainage line to remove excess water behind the wall, draining it to daylight at the street. Also, I would rebuild the wall using vertical offsets in each course of pavers, sloped back towards the driveway, instead of making it perfectly plumb. Doing it with sloped offsets has gravity working to keep the wall in place and stable.
 
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Old 05-14-14, 06:03 AM
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I would also make sure that you use commercial grade, engineered retaining wall blocks and not the type blocks you find at most home centers. They type I use most often look like this and weigh about 100 pounds each.

 
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Old 05-14-14, 11:47 AM
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Guys, thanks for your suggestions. Unfortunately time and budget won't allow this. I'll need to come up with a solution that will slow the tipping if possible would putting the tiniest size of drainage rock I can find help or hurt?
 
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Old 05-14-14, 12:35 PM
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I'm not understanding - where do you propose to put this rock?
 
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Old 05-14-14, 01:38 PM
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don't try to understand the bewildered sometimes all 1 can do is watch while others tumble down stairs,,, even IF his solution could work, ' time & budget ' suggest he'll eventually do the right thing - replace it ! correctly that time !
 
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Old 05-15-14, 07:22 AM
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My dad always said, "Do it right the first time and you will be money ahead!" I'm with stadry. Don't go through "Pay me now or pay me later"!
 
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Old 05-21-14, 06:48 AM
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I was thinking of a very fine rock right down the crack between the driveway and the wall. Perhaps some of the water going down there would drain better? Or would this just make things worse?
 
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Old 05-21-14, 06:51 AM
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I wish it was done right. Why the driveway contractor suggested widening the driveway right to the wall without mentioning anything about drainage, I'll never know. (This is one of the most reputable contractors in my area too!)
 
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Old 05-21-14, 09:39 AM
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I don't think putting stone in the crack between the wall and driveway will help other than aesthetics so there is something in the crack. If the retaining wall were properly constructed it would already have drainage behind it so capping the area with asphalt would probably help by diverting water away. I think the problem with extending the driveway over is the added pressure put on the wall by vehicles getting close. The weight does not just push straight down. The load also transfers out at an angle through the soil putting side pressure on the wall. This winter was unusually cold so you may have even had some heaving and sideways pushing as the ground froze. At the root of it I think you have a decorative landscaping wall being used structurally and the drainage behind the wall is not the primary cause of the lean.
 
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