Asked on Sep 7, 2018

Do i need to rebuild my retaining wall??

Joy30150932WilliamJewellmartin
+7

Answered

Hi everyone. We bought a house and in order for us to have a better front yard, we needed a retaining wall and backfill.


Well, I did a little research and being on a super tight budget I opted to use railroad ties as they are in abundance here in Minnesota.


The wall is about 24' long and will be about 5' high.

Right now I'm on about the 5th course, I've used 3-4 peices of 1/2" rebar with each timber, staggering my joints.

behind the wall, I have been placing 8" of 3/8 pea rock and backfilling behind it, tamping as we go.


Now, I see some problems I may be running into, tiebacks... do I need them and can I start them now being on the 5th round?

Drainage... will I be okay with the pea rock or should I have also used drain tile?


I'm a little sick to my stomach thinking I'll have to dig all that fill at rock back up to do it all. But I also want it to function and last. Thank you



7 answers
  • Joy30150932
    Joy30150932
    on Sep 7, 2018

    Yes, you do need the tiebacks. It looks like the ties were butted up against each and there is nothing to hold them back into the hill. Be sure you install the tiebacks correctly with the "T" type ties attached at the front to each end of the ties abutting it. The "T" should be back in the hill. You should have started them at a lower level because the bottom can still kick out if there is any pressure from water.

  • Love your dogs! Did you check your local building codes? What did you do for footing? Where I live, anything over 3' requires a permit. With all the snow you get there I would think that tiebacks would be required.


    See if these help any.


    https://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-Build-a-Railroad-Tie-Retaining-Wall/


    https://m.wikihow.com/Build-a-Railroad-Tie-Retaining-Wall


    https://www.doityourself.com/stry/building-a-railroad-tie-retaining-wall-mistakes-to-avoid

  • Asa Spicer
    Asa Spicer
    on Sep 7, 2018

    Thank you. Each bottom timber Is pinned with 4-4' peices of rebar, and then the second course pins through the bottom course, and then into the groind

  • Asa Spicer
    Asa Spicer
    on Sep 7, 2018

    How many tiebacks are needed? I can take courses apart to put tiebacks in, how low do I need to go?


    And any input on the drain tile?

  • Jewellmartin
    Jewellmartin
    on Sep 7, 2018

    Quite a few houses in the subdivision northwest of us were built on and across a creek. To help prevent flooding, many of them were built with retaining walls and fences above. But with alleys for parking, trash pickup and other uses. I’ve looked pretty closely, and I haven’t seen any drains or pea pebbles— just dirt and railroad ties. These houses will soon be 30 years old, and some of the ties need to be replaced and some of the fill dirt needs to be dug out, but neither have they seen a flood nor had so much rain that the walls have fallen from the overflow from the yard. If your city has approved your retaining wall, or it looks like most of the others in your area, I would say you are safe. If not, ask at the local garden or home improvement stores where you live for more information and advice. Don’t let too much research get you not trusting yourself. You can do what needs to be done! ☺️

  • William
    William
    on Sep 7, 2018

    Drainage tile to divert water. Tiebacks on third course and then every course higher than three feet.

  • Joy30150932
    Joy30150932
    on Sep 7, 2018

    Small amounts of water will drain through the rock and through the ties but a larger amount due to a sudden heavy or extended downpour could be a problem. Maybe you could put in a few rows of weeping tile as you gain height and slant it to the outside edge. The tile is reasonable in price and could help with any excessive water in the future. Rebar is okay to use but not sturdy enough if you are in a freeze and thaw area as the ties will shift over time. With changing weather patterns it is better to be safe than sorry. It may be difficult to remove the top layers of ties if you have them fastened down with rebar, so start your tiebacks as soon as you can. A big project. Good Luck with it. If you want to dress it up in the future you could nail lattice to the front.

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