Retaining Wall - Fix or Rebuild?

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  #1  
Old 04-25-14, 11:35 AM
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Retaining Wall - Fix or Rebuild?

My husband and I recently bought a property that has a bi-level backyard. The lower part of the backyard has a retaining wall that is about 4.5ft high. It is made of railroad ties, but they have mostly rotted out and the entire retaining wall has buckled and is pushing forward. I suspect that when it was originally put in, it wasn't built on a slope towards the upper part of the house and I don't believe it has any proper drainage, so water seems to be building up behind the wall, and I also don't think the deadmen were put in properly.

Our issue now is whether we can replace the rotted railroad ties and simply fix the existing structure, or if we have to completely tear it down and rebuild. We will probably reuse railroad ties if we have to tear it down because we are on a fairly tight budget. Both my husband and I are handy and fit so we plan on doing the whole thing ourselves. Has anyone had any experience with this? Can offer us any advice or direction? I have attached the best picture I have of the wall, though it's not great, and does not really show the extent of the problem (and yes, we have cleaned up the apples ).

Thanks!
 
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  #2  
Old 04-25-14, 11:49 AM
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Welcome to the forums!

Not sure I understand the question if most of the ties are rotten, you'd be replacing the wall when you replaced the ties ??

Drainage can be a big issue, the more wet earth the wall has to support the more apt it is to lean.
 
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Old 04-25-14, 12:04 PM
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Thanks for your response!

I guess my question is, does the whole thing have to be torn down, or can we just replace the individual ties that are rotten and just shore up the wall? My gut feeling is that the whole thing needs to come down to rebuild it from the ground up, but my husband disagrees (surprise, surprise ) He thinks that we could probably just dig out behind the wall, replace the ties that need replacing and push the wall back up. We have never really dealt with this before so we aren't too sure of the best course of action.
 
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Old 04-25-14, 12:24 PM
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It really depends on the condition of the ties. Generally if a bunch of them are toast, the others aren't far behind. IMO it's easier to do the excavation after the ties are out of the way.
 
  #5  
Old 04-25-14, 12:49 PM
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I am chiming in because I have a similar project (that I will probably put off until next spring). Mine is a concrete wall on the edge of my driveway, that is leaning at about a 45 degree angle at this point. I will obviously need to replace mine, but I want to extend my driveway at the same time. If you do replace the whole thing, please post pictures, and any tips you have. Seeing that my yard slant towards this wall, I was thinking of putting in some sort of drainage system, possibly a tarp or liner against the wall, and footers supported with rebar. That may be too much, but, again, if you do redo the whole thing, I would like to see the outcome. Good luck!!
 
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