Can I cast my own concrete retaining wall?

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yes. they typically go up and over, not along the ground. think long boom trucks.

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Charles Spitzer wrote:

Well, they'll have the up and over and also a trailer with a V8, a pump and a hose which they can snake almost anywhere.

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On 19 Jan 2006 17:28:00 EST, Mark and Kim Smith

Are they going to go over a two story house with attic? I saw long booms, but I'm not sure they could go that high, :)

Hose sounds good. It needs to come out close to the back of my house.
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It would be quite an expensive pump to go over a 2 story. They would be much more likely to use a small ground pump. The ground pumps require a bit more labor and are slower on big jobs. If you are looking at a retaining wall, I'm relatively sure that they would use a ground pump or even wheelbarrows depending on you local labor market. Pumps typically cost more to rent for morning pours and less in the afternoons. Many concrete contractors own their own ground pumps, aerial pumps usually belong to pumping companies.
Here is a bit more information if you're interested: http://www.schwing.com/01_cpumps/boompumps/61/index.html you can also look at their line pumps to see what I'm calling a ground pump.
(top posted for your convenience) ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ Keep the whole world singing . . . . DanG (remove the sevens) snipped-for-privacy@7cox.net
wrote:

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Wow, the first one I looked at, the P88, will pump 500 feet!** It will also pump 150 foot up, which is a lot taller than my house!, but it seems ti would be a lot easier to go an extra 20 or 30 feet around the side of the house. (also, I'm sure once it's gone 150 feet up, it doesn't have much energy to keep going horizontal. If it did, it would probably have a higher vertical rating. Regardless, it's smaller than the boom truck and plenty big enough for my place.
I'm glad to know this stuff before I go to the concrete company, probably next Monday.
Even if I do end up with wheelbarrows or something in between, it's good to know when I make suggestions to others and for next time.
**The big boom one has a 200 foot boom and that was called incredible.

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The problem with your project may be your sand. If you are thinking of using "beach sand" for the concrete, it could well have a high level of salt. Too much salt in your cement and you get nothing concrete.
I suppose you could check and see what the salt level is in your sand, and then wash it somehow to get rid of the salt if indeed there is any problem.....(and don't use seawater HAHA).
Or buy sand from a contractor.....
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On 18 Jan 2006 16:53:00 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@mailcity.com wrote:

Yes, I assume it's beach sand, since I'm in a coastal dune area. Thanks for the tip, I will do some reading on this.
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wrote:

There are often, iiuc, regulations regarding coastal dunes, also.

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Tony Sinclair wrote:

...
I suggest you need a local professional to take a look at your lot and plan. Retaining walls, especially when built on unstable ground tend to be unstable. You need a good well engineered design first. You will also likely need to meet some sort of local zoning and building requirements as well as need permit, especially since it is near the property line.
--
Joseph Meehan

Dia duit
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On Thu, 19 Jan 2006 01:00:42 GMT, "Joseph Meehan"

Yes, it will be right on the property line, so I need to see about a permit. As for the stability, I think the ground is pretty stable. I live in a double wide mobile home, and they are pretty sensitive to the ground shifting. No problems in seven years so far. As I said in another post, the climate is moderate and there is zero clay in the soil.
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On Thu, 19 Jan 2006 01:00:42 GMT, "Joseph Meehan"

I'm trying to remember where there is one I see regularly that is leaning 10 degrees now. I wonder how long, decades? until it falls over.
I used to think that tombstones just sat on the ground, but apparenly they have a footer that goes ??? how far into the ground. I don't want to guess wrong, and I'm not sure now what I was told. I think there is a cemetery near here, where they have one footer for a whole row of tombstones, 40 feet long. Maybe since it's one piece, it doesn't have to be as deep as a 3 foot long footer would have to be.
Do many cemeteries just use footers as long as the tombstone is wide? Because it is only at this one cemetery where I can see the part between the graves, and even at this place in the older rows, the dirt and grass has spread over the footing and I think you can't see the part between two stones.

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It might be. It may be a lot less than that.
I've seen brick/concrete pillars fall over on perfectly level ground within 2-3 years. They didn't have footings, and didn't have any lateral pressure except wind on the fencing they were trying to hold up.

Some may well have footers. But there's rather a large difference between a smallish free-standing tombstone only having to worry about a bit of wind, and one 4' high, 100' long, trying to hold back unknown tons worth of wet sand on one side doing its damndest to push it over.
You're _way_ over your head if your understanding is at this level.
Start here:
http://www.concretenetwork.com/concrete/poured_concrete_retaining_walls /
Pay close attention to the stuff on drainage etc.
--
Chris Lewis, Una confibula non set est
It\'s not just anyone who gets a Starship Cruiser class named after them.
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On Thu, 19 Jan 2006 20:05:32 -0000, snipped-for-privacy@nortelnetworks.com (Chris Lewis) wrote:

Of course. I wasn't trying to understand retaining walls in these terms. I guess I was changing the sujbect and trying to learn about tombstones, if anyone here knows more about what is underneath them, and if it's common or not to have one long footer for 10 or 15 stones.

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Find a better source. Get them in bulk from a block supplier, not home depot.

Any number of interlocking systems can span heights in excess of 30' so your tiny wall shouldn't be a problem.
But more importantly you should check local code requirements FIRST. You don't want to put up something that doesn't pass local codes.
Before you go putting something on a property line you want to be SURE about it. Make a mistake and put it on their side of the line and you could get stuck with paying for whatever methods THEY might choose to have it removed! Put it too far on your side and you potentially set up a future boundary/use issue.
Best to be CERTAIN what the law requires. If it's on the property line have a SURVEY done to make sure you're putting it in exactly the right place.

Oh lordy, how shitty looking do you want this to be? Creating consistent concrete, especially THAT much, is not a DIY job, especially not by trying to use your own sand.

Does "slowly make an enemy of your neighbor" sound like a reason not to do it? If it's in sight of the neighbor think about how annoying it'd be to have a half-constructed wall being an on-going eyesore.

No. Especially not from beach sand.

Well, it's not "stupid" but it's not smart either. Look into other block products. Then look at planning a decent schedule for getting the job done. Get a backhoe, dig a trench for the foundation, have a load of concrete or other base material trucked in and get the base layer laid all at once. That way you'll have a nice level base on which to lay the block courses. Laying interlocking block systems actually goes pretty quickly. Since you'll be getting then in bulk, try to have them drop the palettes of blocks
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your back will be ruined in a two days, and you'll be left with a noisy machine and truckloads of concrete mix nobody would touch. alternatively your small home improvement loan payments and the beautifully professionally installed concrete on a safe inspected foundation will be painless and last forever. your post is entertaining and ambitious. your project despite what old neighbors may have constructed nearby may not presently be proper for your area, check with the building inspector at your permit office and other offices managing costal areas. whether any wall is allowed and to how many feet of the property line and to what altitude is in your local ordinances. recheck your survey to see how far the legal property line goes, and the permit office will tell you how far inside it you must build. your sand especially when wet behaves very differently from our buffalo ny soil. a homemade improper retaining wall may have a negative effect on your property value and neighbor's view. perform a written petition of your neighbors within the specified numbers of feet from your property before you apply for any zoning variance.
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Tony Sinclair wrote:

I shouldn't do so as others have already rained on your plans but some things need to be said even stronger than have been.
No, you cannot just use your local sand. It is dirty no matter how pretty it looks. Dirty sand makes for weak (or no) concrete.
Standard mix is 1 part cement, 2 parts sand, 3 parts agregate (or is it the other way around. Been a long time since I mixed from scratch.
You will almost certainly need a permit. They will not issue one without a plan showing what the footing is, width/height of wall, placement of re-bar, etc. You haven't shown that you have any concept of retainer wall design, that is so basic to the project that without that the wall will fail just from the weight of the sand behind it.
Even if you were to take time off work you will not hand-mix that amount of concrete in any reasonable amouint of time even using a mixer.
You say a truck can't get back there. Well, every pound of cement, gravel, sand will have to gotten back there somehow. Pre-mix can pump the mud back there with no problem. You could build the forms yourself or have them built (a whold field of knowledge in itself) and buy pre-mix - probably find that the cost of the concrete in place would exceed by much your cost of mixing it yourself.
Don't worry about the delivery cost of purchased blocks. It will probably run in the 2-3 dollar/mile range (last time I had it done it was on $1 per mile), very minor add on to the a truckload order.
Harry K
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wrote:

No problem, I appreciate all the input.

And someone else said that salt does the same, so that probably kills the whole idea right there. The main motivation for this was that I had the sand already.

Think of my post as a trial balloon. Since we are strangers, you will just have to take my word for it that I wouldn't begin the actual wall without learning a lot more than I know now.

I was actually planning on taking an unreasonable amount of time. Another person thought that an unfinished wall over a long period would cause problems with the neighbors, but I don't see why it would be that unsightly if I was doing one layer at a time. At worst, the entire length would have only one block difference in height.

OK.
Either you left a word or two out, or I don't have a clue what you are talking about (or both). Can you restate that paragraph?

A lot of places have jacked their delivery charges up since the gas prices went up, but I'll check it out. Thanks.
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It's all a matter of being cooperative. If you're already on great terms with your neighbors they might not mind the on-going project. Heck, they might even throw in some labor to help speed it along. But think about it from their perspective. Looking out and seeing some on-going construction effort tends to get a little annoying. Some folks tolarate it more than others. It's one thing to have a garden or something being tended to over time. It's another thing to have an open trench, a lot of sand piled back away from the work, worn pathways and construction debris littering the view for months on end. If you have the choice of being nice to your neighbors it's always worth considering.
But for a 100' foot it really shouldn't take all that long if you're using prefab blocks. Rent a backhoe/loader (from sunset or someone like them) for a weekend and clear out where the foundation needs to go. Along with pulling back the sand to allow the work. Backhoes are actually not that hard to operate. Something like a small TerraMite with a backhoe and a loader is pretty simple and would do the job. Form it up, have concrete poured and let it dry. That part of the work should take about 3-4 days along with a week or so to let the concrete dry. Then spend the next week laying the blocks and get a Bobcat to push the sand back up against it.
Once you've got a good base it's REALLY easy to plunk down the blocks and get a wall built in no time. Be sure to have someone around to help massage that sore back!

Is it because you think the ground won't support it or that there's physically no way to fit a truck in there?
Depending on local code and conditions there might be alternatives to using a poured foundation. But you'd have to ask the local building inspector's office.

It's always a good idea to shop around and do some haggling. This should be a slow time of the year 'round there so there ought to be someone hungry for the work...
-Bill Kearney
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Tony Sinclair wrote:

<snip>
You're right. it should have read "would NOT exceed by much the cost of doing it yourself" By the time you have a mountain of sand, aggregate and a pallet of cement hauled in, the costs have started to add up before you mix the first shovel full.
There was a good suggestion made by someone. Get a standard bag of premix, make up a cobbled together mortar tub (couple boards and piece of flashing or just use a wheelbarrow) and mix it to specifications using a common garden hoe. Now look at it and see just how much work that was to mix up just 2/3 of a cubic foot - that is the amount in the common size bag. The work is some less but still hard even using a mixer. It is a valuable bit of practice as you will no doubt be wanting small quantities of concrete around your place in the future for other tasks. Good to know what it is like before you go into a project.
Harry K
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way betrter to slope the yard.
Walls ALWAYS FAIL! No mater how well constructed one day you will be rebuilding.
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