Can I cast my own concrete retaining wall?

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wrote:

Good point. Why does the yard have to be level in the first place? If there was going to be shuffleboard, go for horseshoes instead, so it doesn't have to be level. You can have a level patio!
I've been trying to picture this yard and can't decide if it is all sand, or the sand is nearby.

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Tony Sinclair wrote:

That gets you mortar, not concrete. You need aggregate too for concrete.
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if you need 5 yards or more its way cheaper to have it delivered all ready mixed. although you will need help laying and finishing fast.
last ime i need a slab my neighbor needed a sidewalk, we worked together to meet the 5 yard minimum.
i kinda inherited a cement mixer but woulds still prefer pre mix
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As others have mentioned:
100' of retention wall up to 4' high is a pretty massive undertaking.
Doing it a couple blocks at a time without proper design from somehow who knows what they're doing just isn't going to work. It'll probably fall over long before you complete it.
Your cheapest bet in terms of concrete is probably a poured concrete wall rather than blocks.
4' of sand, especially where at least 2' of it is freshly disturbed, _will_ push the wall over without careful attention to footings, reinforcement and drainage control, regardless of whether you get freeze-thaw.
You're best off getting an engineer to design the wall first, and ensure that you can get a permit for it.
Once you have an approved design, you can figure out what parts you can do yourself, and what you need help for.
If you can do the forms (and probably rebar) yourself, then just bring in the pre-mix trucks to fill it.
The biggest difficulty in doing it yourself (aside from exhaustion) is the cost of material in the forms. It's quite possible you can find a concrete contractor who has pre-made re-useable forms. In which case, you're just renting them for a few days.
It may be possible to pour it in sections if you can reuse the forms.
You are _definately_ going to need professional assistance on this.
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Your can't use sand just shoveled off the ground. It needs to be washed of any organic material. Concrete is sand and stone so you will also need stone to add to the Portland. This is a big waste of time and energy. If you are going to try to mix yourself than buy 80lb premixed bags. One bag does 2/3cu ft. You have over 8 yards (216 cu ft) so that's, lets see, 324 bags. I suggest you go get 1 bag put it in your wheel barrow and mix it up. Now do you want to do another 321bags?? And will you be able to mix them all the same so the finished product will have uniformed look? If you still want a concrete wall get a redimix truck and 4 guys with wheel barrows . Park the truck at the curb and wheel it in one wheel barrow at a time. best strength and look is to do this as a continuous pour. This, of course, is after you have poured a footing, at least twice as wide as the wall on top of it. And you have all your forms in, tied together, and braced real well. If you want a cheap masonry wall then pour a footing and dry stack standard 8x16 block. Fill the block with concrete. You can do this a section at a time. Still need lots of material. For sure a mixer. IMO best looking and easiest masonry wall is the precast, interlocking blocks. Just a peastone/dust footing and then stack them up. Many will do more than 4'.
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On Thu, 19 Jan 2006 18:36:55 GMT, "calhoun"

Now I'm really confused. Why do you (and several others) say I need to pour a foundation if I cast the blocks myself, but I just need a peastone/dust footing if I use precast blocks?
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wrote:

It all has to do with the flexibility of the finished product.
Your cast block are locked in place. Any movement will crack the bond that holds them in place then the wall will fail along that crack. You want a rigid surface to prevent this. The precast blocks are made to move a little. There is no ridged mechanical bond holding them together. They drystack and interlock. This interlock system allows them to move and not lose and strength.
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I don't disagree with you. You should note, however, that the factory blocks have either a ledge or use dowels/splines of some description as part of their basic design. Yours should be equivalent if you do likewise. A 4 foot retaining wall usually requires an engineer's stamp if you are permitting this work. You might look here for a type rated for a 4 foot wall: http://www.keystonewalls.com /
If you are trying to keep the project economical, you may look at using rubble concrete slab: http://www.roddaandsons.com/retaining.pg3.html
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What you need for the footing depends on the soil conditions, wall height, etc. What the wall is made out of makes relatively little difference. If the soil is unstable, the wall will roll unless it has a pretty deep and solid footing.
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I would like to point out that digging in sand has problems too. Sand tends to run like water. To dig very deep requires that the hole be very large at the top.
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snipped-for-privacy@nortelnetworks.com (Chris Lewis) wrote:
-snip-

It makes a huge difference. See http://www.geostone.com/Landscape_Page.htm for stones that will go to 5' without any problem on most surfaces.

There is a huge difference between unstable soil and 'needs a footing'. The type of stone and design of the wall can get you well over 10 feet without a solid footer.
Jim
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Depending on the soil conditions. I wouldn't dream of doing one of those on a sand base, trying to hold up 4 more feet of sand on one side without some serious work underneath.
The specs for that stuff calls for either concrete or crushed rock footings.
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