retaining wall: cinder block vs. allan blocks?

Hi all,
I think the time has come for our existing lumber retaining wall to be replaced. We have gotten a few quotes from local landscaping companies / contractors, and right now it comes down to Cinder Block (layered with stucco) vs. Allan Block. From the estimates we have, cinder block is about $2500 cheaper than the allan block. Does any one have any experience / expertise opinion on these materials?
(cinder bock estimate was about $10500, allan block estimate was about $13000).
I appreciate your inputs! JT
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If I can jump in with another question. I am considering putting in a retaining wall as well and was wondering a few things. The retaining wall will be in the back yard (Walkout basement) along the driveway going to the shop. So basically the wall needs to hold the driveway in place, so what type of wall would people recommend?
I was considering pouring a thick concrete wall. Any problems with that? How can I make it as strong as possible?
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See my answer above to JT.
If you go with concrete it will need to have a good bit of "ballast" on the driveway side. If you use the block you will need to add the retaining "grids/webs".
How tall will your wall need to be? How close to the wall will you be driving? Will the driveway extend to the wall? Known groundwater or flow?
Colbyt
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I am not an expert on this subject.
A few years back I did do a good bit of research on the subject. I used a similar block (Lee Block) instead of CB or poured concrete. The major reason that I chose the blocks was water seepage. I became convinced that you can't stop or even properly channelize underground water over a long period of time. The blocks allow the water to flow through.
IMO the blocks have a much more natural look than a CB wall or even stucco. This improves even more as they age and you get some natural variation.
The 1" per course step back softens the height of the wall a bit
If you do a little research I think you will find that stucco may fail quickly when hydrostatic pressure is present.
Colbyt
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