Building stucco wall

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Old 03-30-16, 06:32 PM
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Building stucco wall

Hello all,

I would like to build a stucco wall in my front yard and have few questions. The wall will be built on a flat lawn (not a retaining wall) and is simply for curb appeal. Something like this:
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I have seen lots of youtube videos and it seems everyone does things differently and I not sure what is the right way of doing it.

1) how wide and deep the foundation must be? I live in California thus no frost here. Some show the foundation must be 12" deep and 12" wider than the wall (6" on each side). Most walls I have seen, the grass is growing right to the wall. The foundation is the same width (i.e thickness) as the wall or the 6" excess in foundation is covered by the grass.

2) Do I need vertical steel bars?

3) Do we attach the decorative tiles to the wall before or after applying the stucco?

4) what is the foundation made of? Cement all the way? gravel at the bottom, then cement on top?


Thanks
-joe
 
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Old 03-30-16, 10:40 PM
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The foundation is the same width (i.e thickness) as the wall or the 6" excess in foundation is covered by the grass
Yes, the grass is covering the wider foundation on a typical wall.
I would recommend you get a permit before doing any work. Fences/walls can be touchy in California.

Let me explain that you could have a perfectly built wall and the city might or will come by and tell you to tear it down. There are rules for setback from the street/sidewalks and other things someone might not think of.

I would go to the building department and explain what you want to do. They will give you the rundown and there are usually guides they hand out that make the requirements very clear.
It sounds like a pain and is, but you don't want to put this much work into something that's going to be torn down a month later.

You can get help on how to build the wall here, but I wouldn't build it without knowing the setbacks.
 
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Old 03-31-16, 09:53 AM
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Hello Brian

Thanks for the advice on the permit. In my case, we are in a HOA, thus I submit my plan to the HOA, they have contracted an architect to do the review. He makes sure we are meeting the city and the HOA standards.

We are in the process of having it reviewed and should hear back soon. I don't expect any surprise since there many neighbors w/ the same structure. I didn't see any mention of a permit but I will ask to double check. May be because we are on private street, that might not be required.

Thanks
-joe
 
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Old 03-31-16, 10:32 AM
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OK, you are good then as far as location of the wall and I wouldn't be too concerned with a permit.

The fences that are most prone to violations are corner lots.
 
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Old 04-01-16, 11:40 PM
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Handyone (Brian) is right. You should get a permit. I built a similar wall in 2009. I had to get a permit with the city. I had to draw out the design. My city allows only 2-3 feet high starting at the sidewalk and then 3 feet rise as 3 feet in with a maximum of 6 feet. That is how I roughly remember it.


I had the building code guy come out once a week to check on my work.


As for far as the wall, HandyOne may have more information since he is a licensed contractor. What I am about to share is from my experience. HandyOne, please feel free to correct if necessary because this is your area of expertise.


We used concrete blocks to build our wall then we put stucco on top of it.
Shop Lightweight Concrete Block (Common: 16-in x 8-in x 8-in; Actual: 15.625-in x 7.625-in x 7.625-in) at Lowes.com


I used rebars #3 (both vertical and horizontal). I "J Hooked" the end of the horizontal ones to lock into the vertical ones. I will admit that some areas were not "J Hooked", but instead was tied together with metal wires. I am not sure the importance of this.


The foundation is about 12-16 inches deep or 1/3 the total height of your wall below the frost line. Be careful when you dig because you might hit a gas pipe. That is why it is good to check with the city where the pipes may be. The width of the foundation is 6-8 inches on each side of the wall since the block is 8 inches wide.


A grinder with metal disc is needed to cut the rebar and a diamond disc to cut the concrete blocks. My safety glasses and dust mask saved me because it got really really dusty. Be very careful with the cutted rebar. It is very sharp. I ended up in emergency because one sliced my forearm open.


My brother came over to help me on the weekends and it took us almost 8 weekends to build a perimeter block wall. He took his time to make sure every single block was leveled.


My truck can only drive about 30 blocks at a time. If you are planning for more than a 100 blocks, you may want to have bigbox store deliver for a charge of $89 (Lowes). It saves the wear and tear on the vehicle. If you have it deliver, don't leave it on your driveway because the weight of the pallets can crack your driveway.


The block wall has been really nice but when there is an earthquake in California, the wall has come across my mind. It has been 7 years and still standing solid.
 

Last edited by WRDIY; 04-02-16 at 12:05 AM.
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