Plate Compactors


I'm building an Allan Block retaining wall and I'm trying to follow the manufacturers directions as closely as I can. It's going to replace a 30 year old railroad tie wall that was secured by rebar driven 6 feet into the ground. I have removed the old wall and have the block and gravel on site. But I have never used a plate compactor. I had dug the old wall back just enough to allow me to backfill with 12 inches of gravel and then compact it. I see now that any plate compactor I can rent will need more than 12 inches to operate. I'm leaning towards digging back a few more inches, renting a reversible plate compactor, and seeing how that goes. But it has also been suggested that I might get away with using a jumping jack for compaction - much lighter to move up on each 8 inch course and also narrower. But the description of how the thing jumps around is putting me off. Any thoughts from anyone who has used either device would be appreciated!
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

With the PC it's easier to get a smooth and level surface. The JJ tends to leave dents the size of its head. But given the extra heavy work required to use the PC, I'd probably give the JJ a go. It will be a lot easier to maneuver on the upper courses. After you've got everything solid, spread a little extra sharp sand on top and screed it with a long 2by to fill in any low spots. Regardless of which way you go, wet down the material before you compact it. Provides a little lubricant so the material compacts better.
HTH,
Paul F.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Paul Franklin wrote:

Thanks. I will look for some extra sharp sand try to post a follow up. Will wet the material too!
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

I worded that poorly. I meant spread some extra sand and use sharp sand (mason's sand, not play sand). Generally you want 1/2 an inch to an inch of sand on top of the base material. It's a lot easier to get the block positioned even and level with a little sand on top of the compacted base.
Good luck,
Paul F.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Paul Franklin wrote:

I went with the plate compactor instead of the jumping jack. I have a Spitzlift that attaches to my old Ford Explorer (sort of a mini crane with a crank) that I am using to position the plate compactor. Today was just a test run on the base rock. Tomorrow will be the real thing. It's not what I would call a fun machine to use but the rock sure seems a lot more solid after a couple of passes.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Paul Franklin wrote:

Getting the block aligned AND level was much harder for me than I ever imagined. Without the sand I'm not sure what I would have done. But now I only have a couple of blocks left to place on the base course and then I need to compact the stone behind it. I am having a hard time imagining that the blocks won't shift when I do that. Since they have soil in front, gravel in the voids, and gravel behind them, I may be wrong about them shifting, but if they do......................... Got any advice on that?
Tom
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
T. McQuinn wrote:

I wanted to follow up on this in case someone Googles for 'plate compactor' some day...........
It may have just been beginners luck, but I had almost zero problems with the plate compactor moving the Allen Block out of alignment or level. The project was one hell of a lot of work but I'm quite happy with the end result.
Tom
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Site Timeline

HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.