Need some ideas

Old 08-20-14, 01:14 PM
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Lightbulb Need some ideas

Hi! I've included photos at the bottom, of the outdoor space that this thread will be addressing. We bought our home almost 5 years ago. The last couple of winters have just bombarded us with snow. The back yard slopes up from the house, so imagine multiple snow storms of 2+ feet each, drifting, forming walls of snow. The concrete stairway is starting to have some very fine cracks and sounds hollow with a heavy footstep. The concrete slab on the covered patio has pretty substantial cracking. Also, a few of the railroad ties around the base are crumbling with rot. This has happened rapidly over the last year.

I cannot see all the way through the railroad ties, but when I look closely at the crack in the patio slab, I can see some daylight. This leads me to believe that it is not sitting on solid, level dirt. That the dirt is also sloped underneath the raised patio. If that makes sense. I'm trying to paint as clear a description as I can. My husband and I keep trying to think of any solution that would prevent us from having to demolish the whole structure down to dirt. Could weaker areas be repaired effectively? Tear the whole thing down, remove the slope of dirt, retain the backside and rebuild at ground level? Tear it all out, level the dirt underneath and rebuild with a different retaining material than railroad ties? Any of the above with a traditional style pressure treated lumber deck in place of a concrete slab?

I should also mention that the back yard is absolutely not accessible by truck since it is so sloped. Even the front of the home is elevated with a masonry retaining wall. I think that would make it impossible for a truck to pour. Also, my husband is moderately handy. Rebuilt portions of our front deck that needed to be. There are just so many possibilities, any constructive input would be awesome! Thanks Name:  Patio1.jpg
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Old 08-20-14, 01:43 PM
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I would not expend much labor or expense. It's days are probably numbered and a proper fix will require a good bit of demolition and reconstruction.

Railroad ties are usually sold after the railroad had determined them to be too far gone. So, the retaining wall's days were numbered when it was first constructed. The wood is probably badly deteriorated in many areas. Water from above is probably finding it's way through cracks and joints in the concrete above and washing out the soil underneath.
Old 08-20-14, 01:57 PM
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While a concrete truck might not have access to the back yard, it isn't uncommon to bring in concrete via wheelbarrows or even a pumper truck.

btw - welcome to the forums!
Old 08-20-14, 02:13 PM
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Thanks for the response. Definitely trying to save some money on this one as we have a little updating to do on the inside of the home. Even so, I see it costing us a chunk of change. The vision have in mind is demolishing the whole structure, leveling whatever dirt is underneath it, retaining the back side (which would be the area pictured in the bottom left corner of the 2nd photo)and also the front side where the railroad ties are (height dependent upon the new leveled dirt height), then possibly building a traditional deck instead of laying a slab of concrete. Since the ground in some areas are solid rock, it's very possible that we may not be able to dig footings deep enough. Maybe a floating deck floor or pavers? So many possibilites
Old 08-20-14, 03:45 PM
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Just to address the deck idea, the wood used in a deck needs to breathe and therefore needs some height above the ground. It doesn't sound like you're planning for that so I would stick with a poured concrete or paver patio instead.

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