How To Do A Retaining Wall

If you are wondering how to build a retaining wall, this article will explain the steps involved. First, determine whether your wall will need to be elevated or flat. If you do, you should check the local building codes for the type of retaining wall you need. Next, place blocks in a “running bond” pattern. Backfill the space behind the blocks with sand or gravel. Remember to check your local building codes before starting your project.

Build a retaining wall on a slope

If you’re planning to build a retaining wall on a slope, it’s important to understand the grading of the slope. A flat landscape causes water to puddle and drain to unwanted locations. Because the ground’s slope will keep water where it belongs, you’ll need to plan the grading around the retaining wall so that it’s anchored to the slope while keeping it out of your property. In suburban areas, you’ll need to pay special attention to water rights, while in rural areas, you’ll have to plan the grading around the slope to avoid water from draining into neighboring yards.

To begin, dig a trench at least 12 inches deep. If your slope is uneven, start at the lowest points and work your way up. Once you’ve completed the trenching, backfill the soil with sand or gravel to the same depth as the retaining wall blocks. After you’ve leveled the ground, use a rake or rubber mallet to smooth the gravel.

Depending on the slope, you may need to excavate the slope to build the wall on. In addition to preventing soil erosion, retaining walls allow for better use of your yard’s space. One common use for retaining walls is creating terraced areas, which are suitable for planting. Using various materials, including wood, you can make a retaining wall on a slope to meet your specific needs.

Install blocks in a “running bond” pattern

The angled sides of retaining wall blocks make them ideal for building a curved masonry wall. When building a retaining wall, the first row of bricks should be laid in a “running bond” pattern, offsetting the seams by half-blocks. In this classic bricklaying technique, the bricks are laid with the chiseled edges facing the soil.

Level the ground before installing the first course of blocks. You can use a flat shovel to level the ground. After ensuring that the surface is level, add a two-inch layer of base material. Lay the first stone along one end of the wall, and check the alignment of the first stone. Repeat this process every few blocks to ensure that the wall is level.

Once the first course is completed, add the next course. Begin by laying a one-inch-thick mortar bed. The next course consists of eight-inch-long cinder blocks, also known as half blocks. They form the “running bond” pattern and lend strength to the wall. To install blocks in the middle course, use a mason’s line as a guide. The next course should be installed according to this pattern.

To construct a retaining wall in a tiered block system, make sure that the top tier is at least twice as high as the lower tier. For example, a two-foot-high wall should have a four-foot-high wall above. As a general rule of thumb, make sure that the joint between blocks is as tight as possible. Otherwise, water may seep into the wall and result in chipping or cracking.

Check local building codes before building a retaining wall

Before building a retaining wall, it is important to know the building codes of your area. Retaining walls have five important considerations. These include any structures or utilities that will be placed inside the reinforced soil, the types of loads that will be placed on the wall, the location of water sources in and around the wall, and global stability analysis and seismic design. Depending on the size and scope of your project, you may also need a permit.

Retaining walls over 4 feet must have a permit, according to the International Building Code. For smaller walls, you may not need a permit. However, retaining walls of four feet or less must support a surcharge. Although the International Building Code is the standard, your local building code may include additional modifications. If you are unsure of the requirements of your local municipality, contact your local building department and learn about their requirements.

In many states, permits are required for retaining walls. This is especially important for those who want to build a tall retaining wall. These permits require you to apply, be reviewed, and undergo routine inspections before they are approved. Once you have received your permit, you must post it near the street right-of-way. The permit must be posted in a prominent location, so passersby can see it.

Backfill the space behind the blocks with sand or gravel

When building a retaining wall, it is necessary to backfill the space behind the blocks with sifted soil or gravel to prevent water runoff. To make this process more efficient, use retaining wall blocks. These are both functional and aesthetically pleasing. To backfill a retaining wall, follow these steps:

o Dig a base trench. The depth of the base trench varies depending on the style and design of your block. Typically, you’ll need a depth that equals the height of one unit of blocks plus six inches. Next, fill the trench with approximately six inches of clean 3/4″ crushed gravel. Avoid pea gravel if possible, and be sure to compact and level the gravel.

o Backfill the space behind the blocks with a mixture of sand and gravel. Adding sand or gravel will make the wall more stable. Don’t backfill too much at a time – don’t go beyond the wall’s top. Adding sand or gravel will help keep water behind the wall. And once you’re finished, you’re ready to install the retaining wall.

Check for cracks in the blocks

Cracks in concrete block walls are a sign of aging and should be checked immediately. While some cracks are a nuisance, others can indicate a problem with the structure. Here are some tips to find and repair cracks. Listed below are some common causes of cracks in concrete block walls. Check for cracks in the blocks when doing a retaining wall. When in doubt, contact a professional.

One of the biggest causes of retaining wall problems is moisture. Soaked soil can press against the brick facing and crack it. This happens because the support system has failed to provide adequate support for the bricks. Cracked walls may even cause individual bricks to fall out. Hairline cracks do not necessarily mean a structural problem. They can be a sign of improper installation, wrong mortar consistency, or porous bricks.

While rebar is a good idea, concrete blocks can shrink. Even if wet concrete blocks shrink, they don’t expand much during the curing process. So, the wall is less likely to crack significantly. The top part of the wall is free to move, while the bottom portion is held in place by the footing. Cracks in concrete blocks do not cause them to shrink much.

Check for drainage problems

One of the most important things you need to check when doing a retention wall is drainage. If you’re using cinder block or poured concrete, these materials typically don’t have natural joints that allow water to drain from them. No matter how tall the wall is, it needs proper drainage. If you’re using clay soil, you should consider adding perforated drain pipe, which you can purchase at Home Depot. Perforated drain pipe, also known as drainage tile, can carry groundwater to the end of the wall and drain away harmlessly.

Pipe drains or toe drains are a good choice for tall retaining walls. They collect water along the wall and discharge it to the outside. Some pipe drains exit at the front of the wall, while others run the entire length. Pipe drains should be vented every thirty to fifty feet to keep water from getting trapped inside. If the wall is very tall, several pipe drains are necessary. The pipes should also have rodent mesh so that debris doesn’t get into them.

If you don’t want to build a weep system, you can regrade the backfill material and use a concrete culvert to divert water away from the wall. However, this solution is not very cost-effective and is not aesthetically pleasing. If you’d rather avoid the expense of the installation, you can consider closing active drainage systems on the site. A retaining wall should not be constructed without proper drainage.

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