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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
How many of you build retaining walls and such out of rock and or block????
I need to build a couple walls and am undecided.
Thanks
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
overall height is 18" high, one wall is 45 feet long other is 28 feet.The rock is readily available.My question is durability and strength with rock.I guess like anything its all in how its built....
 

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My $.02 worth...
For looks, it's hard to beat rock. For ease of construction, it's hard to beat block.

You can build a very surdy rock retaining wall, even laying the stones dry, but it will take a lot more time turning, flipping, and selecting just the right stones. A fieldstone wall is like a giant jigsaw puzzle, but without the pictures on the pieces! If you want to mortar the joints, I'd suggest cleaning the stones with acid first, and you still need to try to fit the stones together reasonably well. The better the stones fit, the stronger and better looking the wall will be.

Block walls have the advantage of going up quickly because all the pieces are the same size and shape. They're also cheap, and can be coated with stone, brick, stucco, or about any other masonry product you can imagine.

If I were in your shoes, I'd probably go with the stones, simply because I like the look of a stone wall and I don't mind the work. I wish I had access to a good supply of stone, especially the free kind. /DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/tongue.gif
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks Rickman for your 2 lincolns.As i sit hear contemplating i think im gonna go with rock because of the cost factor.Hey and if you like i will send you what i have left free of charge.....Oh you pay shipping :)
Thanks again
 

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Posted By DKRickman on 06/23/2008 1:10 PM
My $.02 worth...
For looks, it's hard to beat rock. For ease of construction, it's hard to beat block.
You can build a very surdy rock retaining wall, even laying the stones dry, but it will take a lot more time turning, flipping, and selecting just the right stones. A fieldstone wall is like a giant jigsaw puzzle, but without the pictures on the pieces! If you want to mortar the joints, I'd suggest cleaning the stones with acid first, and you still need to try to fit the stones together reasonably well. The better the stones fit, the stronger and better looking the wall will be.
Block walls have the advantage of going up quickly because all the pieces are the same size and shape. They're also cheap, and can be coated with stone, brick, stucco, or about any other masonry product you can imagine.
If I were in your shoes, I'd probably go with the stones, simply because I like the look of a stone wall and I don't mind the work. I wish I had access to a good supply of stone, especially the free kind. /DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/tongue.gif" border=0>




Ditto! :cool:

-Brian
 

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Here is the one I built to level the playing ground for my new RR. It's about 50 ft. long and about 3 1/2 ft. tall at its highest point.

I built it using concrete blocks. Each block was glued together using a waterproof adhesive for concrete. Been up for about a year so far.



Doc
 

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I'd suggest block if you are in a suburban neighborhood. That would seem to be the norm in those types of surroundings. If, however, you live in the country, you may want to consider stone. See what your neighbors have and try to be complimentary in that sense. The object, after all, is to make sure everyone's home values continue to increase. I would look with an eye to eventually selling the house one day, even if it's 3 decades or more from now. It's far more common these days to own several homes over the course of ones lifetime than living in your house until it's time to go play trains in the sky. Heck, I'm on my third and I'm only 49.

Mark
 

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Here are a few shots of my retainer walls, this particular wall is about 15 feet long but it is not straight. I prefer to make nothing straight and that way it never looks crooked. it is supposed to look crooked. I make concrete panels 16" x 48" with 2x4 laying flat down on a plwood type board and mix the sand mix and pour into form. I have two steel bars in the back for support and a place to weld rebar eyelets, so when I place the wall I can drive rebar into the ground and a angle brace to hold up as I backfill the dirt on the inside of wall. Then I finish off the top of the wall more cement to give a finished look, if this is really confusing I can draw you a picture later of how the panel works, I am not good at taking work in progress pictures. My wall end up being 2-2.5 inches thick in the middle and 1.5 inches on the edges next to the forms. Fairly simple for two guys to place the panels, I personally believe to be much less work than laying rock or block, which I have done both. I like to let the panels dry for 3-4 days to cure real good befor i remove from panels, you can also pour thes on the inside of a building if it is dark or raining. This spring it has rained mo days than it has not in Missouri.
Dennis
 

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One consideration is the type of rock you have available to you to use. In my case almost all the rock on my place is river rock (read: rounded) or thin layered sandstone that does not hold up to weather very well. /DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/cry.gif

In order to build the wall you describe out of the river rock, I'd have to use about as much concrete as stone to get any strength. The cost of quarried (cut)limestone or shot rock is just outrageous due to the haul charges for the 45 miles from the quarry to the ranch. /DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/crazy.gif

So its block for me!! I've built retaining walls, the raised train garden and a circle inset for the drive over the last three years with Pavestone, AcmeBrick and CastleWall brands, (over 14 pallets) /DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/pinch.gif and they are all pretty comparable in execution.

Some I built with adhesive and some are just a straight stack. I use the adhesive whenever I go over 4 tall, or there is a good chance of the wall being bumped by a car, tractor, or 4 wheeler. The key to a good looking wall is to get the first course dead level side to side and not more than -1/16 front to back. That gives you a natural tilt back into the fill and helps hold the block and soil. I generally sink the first course all but about an inch and utilize a bed of compacted sand to level the blocks, both of which gives the wall great stability.

And if anybody tells me it's not level, my comments are short and abrupt..... something about I'd be happy to have them redo it themselves and/or they can bite my hairy fat @##... but I digress. /DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/whistling.gif

If you've got rock that you can shape and stack with little effort and additional mortar, I'd go that direction. If not the block is the quickest way to go.

Just my two cents... and worth exactly what it cost you.....everybody's got an opinion and everybody is entitle to mine!!!/DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/w00t.gif

Good luck with the wall no matter which way you go!!

Mark
 

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Mark --
"And if anybody tells me it's not level, my comments are short and abrupt"

Just tell them the wall is level, it's TEXAS that's tilted.
 

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Denray,
Do you cast in the detail on the fronts or do that later? Interesting technique! Can you share more step by step details with us? Photos of the forms you use and the locations of the reinforcements etc.

Chas
 

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You didn't mention where you are located. If you have "real" winter conditions, building such a wall that stays together is not simple, due to frost heaving and soil expansion and contraction. You may have to provide deep anchor rods in the wall, and lay drainage tile behind it to reduce the amount of water build up behind it if it is a true retaining wall. A proper wall is pyramidal in cross section. I would do some local research from your muncipal building department - find out what the local codes say - it will give a hint as to how the wall has to built to survive in your climate. Sometimes a low wall can be stiffer if the rock work is used as veneer to railway tie wall, analogous to how brick work is put on a frame house. The ties can be re-barred deep to reduce lateral motion.
 

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Chas
Follow my article in the trestle forum on the pictures of the OGRR tour, I posted them pictures on Sat, nite these 3 or 4 on Sunday morning and I'll be darn can't post any since. but I will keep trying.
Dennis
 

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I just finished this little project in my front yard:





The blocks make a fine little retaining wall for plants, shrubs, flowers, etc...and are only 9-inches wide. Home Depot classifies them as "Edging" rather than "Retaining," but whatever they are supposed to be, I like them stacked! I used Liquid Nails in my caulking gun to glue them in place & prevent shifting/moving.


Cheap, not too heavy, easy to work with, and good looks. To cut them I broke out my tile wet saw (another Home Depot "cheapie" 12 years old and going strong), made a 1/2-inch cut all the way round the brick, then broke out an old chisel to complete the cut (just a couple of whacks from my rock hammer on the chisel & the bricks split right down the cut line from the tile saw). Works perfect every time!
 

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If the rock is readily available (and you like putting together puzzles) that's a great way to go. I was buying blocks today, and it adds up quick at several dollars a piece.

Denray: Seeing your earlier pictures of the rocks behind the station convinced me that's how I want to do an upcoming mountain feature. I'm going to look back over your posts, but you should really start a new thread with some details on your techniques. Rocks and blocks are no substitute for a realistic looking mountain backdrop. Thanks for the inspiration!

Paul
 

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I have used block...BUT rock makes for better photo ops.

I was thinking of taking down 2-3 of my cources and replacing with rock to the ground level to capture the photo ops....pics do not look as good when you can see retaining wall block in the pic.

Either method, involves a lot of manual labor..unless you are using just a couple of cources and smaller block!

The largest one I have made is 8 cource high....and I did not use any drainage pipe...BUT I placed thick landscapeing fiber and about a 1' to 1 1/2' of pea gravel infront of the dirt to about 1/2' from the top, fopr drainage.

When I layed the first base cource I mixed portland cement in with the sand that is used for leveling, so that when it did get wet the cement would give it a better foundation.


Bubba
 
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