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Repairing a leaning retaining wall


SJMaye's Avatar
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08-03-16, 03:56 AM   #1  
Repairing a leaning retaining wall

I recently purchased a home with a ~4' tall x ~24' long retaining wall that is leaning pretty severely. I had a foundation company come by to give me an estimate. The estimate was $5,300 for installing 7 Geo Anchors. Seemed expensive AND I really don't like the thought of 7 big, steel plates showing on the wall when they are done.

Can someone here tell me the most cost effective options? Repair? Replace? With What?

 
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08-03-16, 04:56 AM   #2  
Got a picture?
What's it made of?
Two of the main causes of retaining wall failures is improper footing, and lack of drainage behind them.
https://www.google.com/search?q=reta...HV5vBXgQsAQIJQ

 
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08-03-16, 05:17 AM   #3  
Did your repair estimate cover returning the wall to vertical or was it just reinforcing to stabilize it to prevent further lean?

Retaining walls are notoriously difficult to repair. Often a proper repair can be almost as difficult/expensive as tearing it down and building a new one. Once we know more about your wall we can offer more specific advice.

 
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08-03-16, 06:25 AM   #4  
My first thought, especially when you say the wall is leaning 'pretty severely,' is to replace rather than repair.

 
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08-03-16, 06:48 AM   #5  
.... and at that price to stabilize it I'd definitely gets some quotes for replacement!


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08-04-16, 02:02 AM   #6  
Here is a photo of the retaining wall. To answer the question if the quote included returning the wall to vertical- I do not know. I assumed it did, but after you asked the question I reviewed the quote again. It says "to stabilize the wall". No reference to righting the wall.

It makes sense now. During my discussion with the estimator I asked if they needed to remove dirt behind the wall. He said, No. Which confused me. How can you use these long bolts to pull a retaining wall upright against all that dirt? It all makes sense now. So, after $5,000 I would be left with a stabilized, leaning wall with 7 big steel plates on it. Not what I am looking for.

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08-04-16, 05:21 AM   #7  
I would not spend that amount of money to stabilize the wall. I'd be getting quotes to have it torn down and rebuilt.

 
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08-04-16, 05:32 AM   #8  
Hello Pilot,

Thanks for the suggestion. What type of subcontractor would I look for? Landscaper, mason,......?

 
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08-04-16, 05:58 AM   #9  
You'd want a mason. He may not return the landscaping to it's present shape as he'd only be concerned with the block/brick work.


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08-04-16, 01:52 PM   #10  
Thank you. I will try a mason and see where it goes from there.

 
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08-04-16, 03:05 PM   #11  
Do a little reading on retaining walls so you know a bit about their proper construction and can more intelligently pick the best person. The foundation/footer and drainage behind the wall will be as or more important than the pretty part you see.

 
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08-04-16, 03:11 PM   #12  
Will do. Thank you for your advice.

 
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08-05-16, 07:46 PM   #13  
For a wall of that height I would definitely consider using the stackable blocks made for retaining walls instead of a masonry wall like you presently have. They are much easier to use, quite possibly DIY and have a great track record of durability. Another advantages if you do have a your some type you can unstack them and correct the problem.

 
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08-06-16, 12:01 AM   #14  
Do these stackable block require tying back in in to the earth or are they standalone?

 
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08-06-16, 12:18 AM   #15  
They are stand alone. .


I can explain it to you, but I can't understand it for you.

 
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08-06-16, 04:31 AM   #16  
I use Keystone brand but there are several others. Just make sure you choose a proper, engineered product designed for structural retaining walls. I would not consider the products offered at most home centers even if they say they can be used for retaining walls.

 
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12-12-17, 05:55 AM   #17  
Ideas on brick retaining wall demolition?

Hello again,

It has been a while since my original post. My whole home renovation which is about complete. I am back to planning for this retaining wall for the Spring or Summer . I am pretty much sold on the idea of using the retaining wall block. The wall is 4' high by 34' long. So far I have a quote for the block at $1350 for Allan Block. Not bad, but want a couple more estimates. If there are other brands I should consider I would appreciate it if someone could provide the brand and why you may think it superior.

I am now researching the easiest way to remove and dispose of the old wall. It would be pretty easy to chip away with a sledge hammer, but I almost believe I could take it down in sections if I had the right equipment.

Does anyone have any tips on the cheapest and easiest way to remove the wall and dispose of the material?

 
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12-12-17, 07:59 AM   #18  
Everything is easier with equipment. An excavator (track hoe) can make quick work of removing the wall and doing the digging for the new wall. They are not hard to operate but it is totally unlike anything you've done before so if you rent the machine your progress will be slow as you're paying for your learning curve. It may actually be cheaper to hire someone to do the wall removal and digging for the new wall.

Then once you get into building the new wall everything literally weighs tons. Your retaining wall blocks are heavy, the crushed stone for the base/foundation and behind the wall is heavy then you'll have to back fill tons of soil. If you want to treat it as exercise it can be done by hand but it will be more than a weekend project. Again. diesel power can make things much easier.

 
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12-12-17, 10:59 AM   #19  
My only concern with equipment would be whether it would damage the driveway.

 
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12-12-17, 11:55 AM   #20  
A small skid steer size vehicle will be fine.

Having built many retaining wall my only advise is to get the largest blocks you can handle, they will stand up better than smaller dimensional blocks.

I've got a concrete distributer I pass every day and they have several sizes of these commercial blocks, the smaller ones look manageable especially if you have a piece of equipment there anyway.

Build with theses and it will be forever!

https://www.doityourself.com/forum/a...1&d=1513108529

.

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12-12-17, 12:53 PM   #21  
I agree with the thought that I may be ahead paying someone with the right equipment instead of learning at $260/day for a skid steer. (although I like the idea of playing with one)

- If I were to hire out the demolition, site prep and cleanup where would I find someone for this?

- I normally like to do things like this myself to save money. Or is this one of those jobs where the savings are negligible ?

- "Largest blocks I can handle" So, all brands are about the same. More of just the size, weight, and cost?

 
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12-12-17, 02:06 PM   #22  
First, just keep your eyes open as you drive about. You can also get quotes from several landscapers and contractors. A good place to start is the distributor for the retaining wall blocks. They should be able to give you the names of some people who have been installing them and have experience.

While driving a excavator or skid steer can be fun you have to consider the rental cost. Does the rental rate include transporting the machine. Then, what are you going to do with the old wall? Are you able to transport tons of material? Do you know where you can dispose of it?

Most engineered retaining blocks are in a similar size category with full size blocks being over 100 pounds and compact ones being 60-80. The big thing is to avoid the smaller, lighter blocks sold at many big box home centers.

 
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01-21-18, 09:59 AM   #23  
Guys, a question more for me than for SJMaye. Firstly there doesn't look to be a lot of soil between the driveway and wall. Could the earth behind the wall be removed, the wall then put back into position, somehow then reinforced from behind, and then finally the soil added?

SJMaye, the wall does not look to leaning that much, but that could be just the photo imaging not doing it justice. or my being conditioned to lots of walls around here leaning more than that. (Seems around here way too many walls are leaning a lot, some to the point of what looks to be imminent collapse. What does a plumb line show you? Just curious.

 
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01-21-18, 03:16 PM   #24  
The key to a retaining wall are it's foundation and drainage behind the wall. You can address the drainage behind the wall be I don't see how there is much you can do about the foundation/footer. So, a totally proper repair would be to remove the whole thing and start over. Something in between could be addressing the drainage behind which could help prevent further leaning. Straightening the wall will require some engineering and is beyond strangers on the Internet. Something might be done with grout injection or deadmen but nobody on the Internet can tell.

 
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01-24-18, 04:40 AM   #25  
I agree. Based on all input the wall needs to be rebuilt. If I do consider doing this myself I have a question on the footer.

The exist brick wall appears to be laid on a footer below the level of the driveway. aka the wall was built first, then the driveway was poured to it. If I remove the existing wall would I be able to use the existing footer to lay the first course of retainer blocks?

I know I am a weanie here. I just want to avoid messing with gravel and the base if I can.

 
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01-24-18, 06:49 AM   #26  
The footer is already compromised and is going to get disturbed when you tear the old wall out. Pouring some new gravel and tamping it down is not a big deal. The footing needs to be solid. No point in spending all that time/effort/money and having a brand new wall sitting on a compromised foundation.

 
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01-24-18, 07:01 AM   #27  
Posted By: mossman The footer is already compromised and is going to get disturbed when you tear the old wall out. Pouring some new gravel and tamping it down is not a big deal. The footing needs to be solid. No point in spending all that time/effort/money and having a brand new wall sitting on a compromised foundation.
Not what I wanted to hear, but I needed to know that. Thanks.

 
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